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The Sound of Music

Rodger McDonald invokes the sound of acoustic music for the von Trapp children.

Rodger McDonald invokes the sound of acoustic music for the von Trapp children.

Rated 4.0

It’s alarming. Kids these days don’t know what their favorite things are. They don’t know about raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles or warm woolen mittens.

Why, judging by an informal poll at a recent Sound of Music matinee, this young generation also is unfamiliar with “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss” and the fact that, when you’re 16, you’re really going on 17. Most hadn’t heard any of the musical’s familiar songs and didn’t have a clue what the story was about. (They also have no idea who Nazis are, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.) It turns out that The Sound of Music is foreign to today’s youngsters. Most haven’t seen the annual TV airing, and the movie isn’t high on their rental list.

To the rescue is Runaway Stage’s endearing production of The Sound of Music, with a cast of talented kids, a bevy of singing nuns and a Maria who looks like she just waltzed out of the Austrian Alps. It’s a great opportunity to expose the uninitiated kid to the von Trapps or simply to revisit the singing family for yourself. But you’d better hurry; this weekend is the last chance to see the production, following its successful holiday run.

Let’s start with the cast. First, there’s a great choir of nuns whose voices blend in perfect harmony to offer up heavenly church music. Then there are the kids who portray the motherless von Trapp children. These young actors have everything—musical talent, stage presence and just the right amount of awkwardness to make them real children. The highest “aww” factor goes to Emily James as little Gretl.

Local musical regular Rodger McDonald presents a Capt. von Trapp who is more distant than imposing, though you always see the heart underneath. His hearty voice is made for musicals, and his mannerisms convey a confused captain just waiting to be rescued.

And rescued he is by the captivating Maria, refreshingly portrayed in a realistic manner by Geneva Houx. Houx presents a young woman with great vocal chords, who blossoms under the attention of grateful children and an attentive captain.

The audience also gets the show’s great songs, sparse but handsome sets, attractive period costumes and a live orchestra. All are skillfully pulled together under the watchful hand of director Bob Baxter.