Review: ‘The Sound of Music’ at The Kennedy Center

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Art has a way to awaken the senses and make you feel alive. Art shakes the dreariness of everyday life off you as you bathe in the beauty of a live musical performance. The Sound of Music at The Kennedy Center is such an art form. It induces chills through your body from its gorgeousness.

Having seen the movie The Sound of Music countless times, one would think you’d know what to expect from a live show of the same production, but this production is its own show. Yes, it follows the story line and there are the familiar songs, but the way they are presented, thanks to Director Jack O’Brien, is entirely the show’s own.

Nicholas Rodriguez and Charlotte Maltby in The Sound of Music. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

The production’s first star is the set designed by Douglas Schmidt. The set switches smoothly from an abbey to Captain von Trapp’s mansion to the mountains. The ease of the transitions of the sets and how real they appear helps the audience fully immerse into the show. Especially beautiful were the almost-real stained glass in the abbey during the wedding scene and the rounded banister and the chandelier in the mansion. The Nazi flags hanging behind the von Trapp family in their last performance before fleeing the Nazis, has a visceral and shocking impact; it felt like we were part of the show.

The cast is fantastic! Charlotte Maltby, as Maria, brings gravitas, innocence and a knock out voice to the role. Her gorgeous singing of “My Favorite Things” gave me goose bumps. She seems to be having a great time in the role and especially connects with the children.

Nicholas Rodriguez (Captain Georg von Trapp) maintains the mannerisms of a Navy Captain with his ramrod posture and stiff walking. His heartfelt and teary singing of “Edelweiss” as he is preparing to flee his beloved Austria will move you to tears.

Melody Betts (The Mother Abbess) plays a central role in pushing Maria back into the arms of the Captain by singing her to “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Her singing in that song gave me goose bumps as well. So beautiful!

Merwin Foard adds a lot of levity to the show as Max Detweiler. He has a distinguished baritone that shines during “How Can Love Survive” with Teri Hansen, who plays Ella Schrader. Hansen does a great job as the rival interest of the Captain and her voice is strong.

The von Trapp children: Elliot Weaver (Friedrich), Stephanie Di Fiore (Louisa), James Bernard (Kurt), Dakota Riley Quackenbush (Brigitta), Taylor Coleman (Marta) , and Anika Lore Hatch (Gretl) sing so well together and are so well posed.

Charlotte Maltby as Maria Rainer, and the von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

The costumes, designed by Jane Greenwood, enhance the show’s authenticity and set the tone. Maria goes from her nun habit to a plain outfit to a sophisticated one as her positions are elevated. Maria’s wedding gown and veil added to the beauty of the wedding scene.

The lovely choreography by Danny Mefford complemented the show. The dance scene between Captain von Trapp and Maria cemented their relationship and is key to the show. When Liesl dances with Rolf, he beautifully and romantically swings her through the air which is breathtaking to watch.

I highly recommend this stunning production of The Sound of Music.

Running Time: Two hours and 45 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission.

The Sound of Music plays through July 16, 2017, at The Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater – 2700 F Street, in Washington, DC. For tickets call the box office at (202) 467-4600, or purchase them online.

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