The Sound of Music

Rated 4.0

Music Circus kicks off its season with a top-notch production of an old chestnut. The Sound of Music is probably the best known of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s oeuvre, thanks to the film version featuring Julie Andrews, which reappears on television every holiday season. On the upside, theatergoers will get everything they expect from Music Circus’ production; on the downside, there will be someone nearby attempting to sing along.

That’s a shame, because the incredible voices, particularly Cristin Mortenson in the lead role of Maria, the wannabe nun with a musical jones, are worthy of undivided attention. Mortenson’s artistry shines through, perhaps even more so because the songs are so familiar. She’s believable as a naive girl with a spine of steel, and her interactions with the children are natural and funny, but other than that, she hasn’t got much to do but sing—so she does, and extremely well.

The children are adorable and talented, while George Dvorsky plays their father with a cute touch of the befuddlement in early scenes that segues nicely into the principled paterfamilias necessary to lead his family to safety from the Nazi threat.

In fact, the only real surprise here is how much work the supporting cast has to do, with some nice touches of political reality brought to life in songs cut from the film version—and so far less familiar—by Elizabeth Ward Land (Elsa Schraeder) and Dick Decareau (Max Detweiler). They add just a touch of world-weariness to keep the show from floating away on idealism.

With The Sound of Music, there’s no contempt bred with familiarity; just a solid start to a season in which Music Circus will mix the edgy with the traditional. Gypsy, another perennial, opens July 15, to be followed by the far darker—and bloodier—Sweeney Todd on July 22.