When you produce a show as well-known to audiences as “The Sound of Music,” you better get it right. People are familiar with what they are going to see and hear, so it’s important to give it the highest quality possible. Stages had done exactly that with this new show. There’s a certain charming theatrical ambiance to Stage’s production that endears it to an audience almost immediately, and makes you happy you have the opportunity to enjoy this landmark work once more. The homey confines of The Robert G. Rhiem theater make it all the better.
Casey Erin Clark is buoyant, red-headed Maria, brimming with lots of almost adolescent energy and charisma. As the young novice trying to decide her vocation in life between being a cloistered nun or a young mother with an inherited family, Clark has both the voice and verve to make Maria a very engaging character.
David Schmittou as Captain Von Trapp plays it in a very stately, authentic manner, letting his personality evolve as the role requires. The matching of he and Maria comes across as very authentic, and they sing well together.
There are few aspects of “The Sound of Music” more important than the youngsters cast to play the 7 Von Trapp children, and in this company Hedi Giberson, Matthew Howard, Julia Schweizer, Braden Phillips, Morgan McDonald, Grace Clark and Phoebe Desilets have that responsibility and they are uniformly wonderful. Veteran actress Zoe Vonder Harr is solid as Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper. Kari Ely is Elsa Schrader, the Captain’s fiance before Maria comes along. William Thomas Evans as one of the show’s more colorful comic relief characters, Max Detweiler, wasn’t quite as effective as required.
Suzanne Ishee as the Mother Abbess sings perhaps the best known number in the show, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and she is a showstopper.
“The Sound of Music” at Stages has such genuine overall appeal that you can’t help but fall in love with this show and its music all over again.