Reviewed by Vicki Stokes
Ever popular, The Sound of Music has returned to the Huron Country Playhouse. This 2022 Production is without compromise. Timothy French as director and choreographer has accomplished an incredible feat. Even if you have seen it and loved it before, you will definitely love it again.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who grew up knowing most of the lyrics to The Sound of Music’s beloved songs. Of the few records in our collection, “The Sound of Music” soundtrack was one of them. My mother had attended a Trapp Family Singers concert and I asked her about it many times. Over the years I have seen the movie and several stagings of the musical. We were taught solfège (do, re, mi) in elementary school and sang some of the songs in our choir. To me, The Sound of Music is one of the most beloved musicals and has always been a part of my life.
To quickly summarize: In the late 1930s, a “problem” nun from Salzberg becomes a wonderful governess of seven children, brings music back into the home, and falls in love with their father. Following their honeymoon, they must escape on the eve of the Anschluss (the political unification of Austria with Germany.)
Reprising their roles are Jayme Armstrong as Maria and Rebecca Poff as the Mother Abbess. These two women are strong leads with a long history with Drayton Entertainment: I loved Armstrong as Adrian in Rocky and Poff was a fantastic Patsy Cline. They have the voices for these powerful roles and the acting skills as well.
Stephen Sparks is the dashing Captain Georg von Trapp. Blythe Wilson is the delightful Baroness Elsa Schraeder, reprising her role from the Mirvish production. As the Baroness, she initially comes off as a pleasant, likeable woman (unlike the movie version), and as a suitable partner for Georg. Along with Max Detweiler, (Lee MacDougall) their song “No Way to Stop It” proves that ultimately, she is wrong for the captain. Now he is free to admit that he has fallen in love with Maria, much to the delight of the children.
The children are the best part about The Sound of Music besides the music itself. It is always a delight to watch them change from sullen, rigid, uniformed youngsters to happy, joyful, curtain-wearing singers. The seven children (Annelise Forbes as Liesl, Sal Thompson as Friedrich, Zoë Brown as Louisa, August Fox as Kurt, Tevya Kurczak as Brigitta, Quinley Kurczak as Marta, and Trinity Kaylani Sieling as Gretl) skillfully perform such hits as “Do-Ri-Me,” and “So Long, Farewell.”
Love is in the air when Annelise Forbes joins Evan Taylor Benyacar as Rolf in the classic “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Their wonderful performance foreshadows the waltz between Georg and Maria, a moment when you know they have fallen for each other.
The stage of this production is phenomenal. There are no walls, only mountains, from floor to ceiling. The lighting is sublime, showcasing the mountains in all their glory, especially in the opening scene. The set includes the iconic staircase where the children say goodnight, the wonderful stained glass and gigantic iron gates from the abbey, and a lovely terrace with massive pots of flowers. The music is so wonderful, it will stay with you. I find myself still singing some of the tunes in my head. Everything is perfect, right down to the stuffed goat.
Just as Georg refuses to compromise with the German government, this production doesn’t compromise on talent, from the direction, the cast, the set, the lightning, and the music. The Sound of Music at Huron Country Playhouse is THE musical to see again and again!
The Sound of Music continues until September 4 at Huron Country Playhouse, South Huron Stage. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 519-238-6000 or Toll Free at 1-855-372-9866, or by checking www.huroncountryplayhouse.com for availability.
Photo: Jayme Armstrong (centre), with Annelise Forbes, Sal Thompson, Tevya Kurczak, August Fox, Quinley Kurczak, Trinity Kaylani Sieling, and Zoë Brown. Photo by Darlene O’Rourke.
The Sound of Music
Music by Richard Rogers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book By Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp
Directed and choreographed by Timothy French
Musical Direction by Anthony Bastianon
Performed by Jayme Armstrong, Stephen Sparks, Blythe Wilson, Lee MacDougall, Rebecca Poff, et al.
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend,
August 17 to September 4, 2022
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes