Sunday, October 4, 2015

'The Sound Of Music' Delivers Memorable Melody

Kerstin Anderson

By Darlene Donloe

The Sound of Music emanating from the Ahmanson is melodic, exceptional, magical and most of all fun!

From the acting, directing, costumes, fantastic sets and, of course, music, this lush production successfully puts it all together.

Although it’s a familiar and beloved story, there is a sparkle about this production that makes it feel like you’re seeing it with fresh eyes for the very first time.

The Sound of Music enjoyed extraordinary successes the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013.  2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family continues to delight audiences.

Maria, played by Kerstin Anderson, is a nun who isn’t quite acclimating to the ways of a convent. Mother Abbess, played exceptionally by Ashley Brown, sends her to be the governess for Captain Georg von Trapp (Ben Davis) and his seven children. Maria immediately has a positive impact on the children and the captain – opening up a whole new world to the entire family.

A beloved film and play, this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic from a book by Lindsay & Crouse, is directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, who has brushed it with a fresh coat of paint.

Exceptional vocal performances make this national tour an eargasmic experience.  

There is one phenomenal performance after another.

Ben Davis and Kerstin Anderson

Ben Davis (Broadway’s “Violet,” “A Little Night Music,” “La Bohème”) plays Captain Georg von Trapp and Ashley Brown (Broadway’s “Mary Poppins,” NBC’s “The Sound of Music”) plays The Mother Abbess with Merwin Foard as Max Detweiler, Teri Hansen as Elsa Schraeder, Dan Tracy as Rolf and Paige Silvester as Liesl. The von Trapp children are played by Erich Schuett (Friedrich), Maria Knasel (Louisa), Quinn Erickson (Kurt), Svea Johnson (Brigitta), Mackenzie Currie (Marta) and Audrey Bennett (Gretl).

Although this is her first national tour, Kerstin Anderson, an O’Brien discovery, nails it!!!  Her Maria is lively, crisp, flexible and delivers great vocals.

Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown’s performance is out-of-this world. Every time she opens her mouth to sing – the heavens open and rejoice. (pun intended since she’s playing a nun)

Ben Davis is sturdy and effective while Merwin Foard is the comic relief and very nearly steals the show.

Douglas W. Schmidt’s near perfect set, Jane Greenwood’s costumes and Natasha Katz’s lighting, vibrantly bring this production to life.

All of the musical favorites are there (The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going On Seventeen, The Lonely Goatherd, Climb Ev’ry Mountain and So Long, Farewell), plus two new little ditties that were not in the film, How Can Love Survive? and No Way to Stop It.

The Sound of Music ensemble includes: Carey Rebecca Brown, Ronald L. Brown, Cáitlín Burke,
Christopher Carl, Kyla Carter, Austin Colby, Daniella Dalli, Elisabeth Evans, Donna Garner,
Meghan Hales, Jenavene Hester, Adam Hill, Jeremy Michael Lanuti, Darren Matthias, Kelly McCormick, Julia Osborne, Andrea Ross, Brent Schindele, Jim Schubin and Aviva Winick.

Kudos to the orchestra!

The Sound of Music, Ahmanson Theatre, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; 8 p.m., Tues.-Fri.; 2 and 8 p.m. Sat.; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sun., through October 31, 2015;  No Monday performances. Exceptions: No 8 p.m. performance on Wednesday, Oct. 14. There is an added 2 p.m. performance on Thursday, Oct. 29. Tickets: $25 - $150; For information: or 213.972.4400

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don't bother), O (oh, no) N (needs work) L (likable) O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), The Sound of Music gets an E (excellent).

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