Broadway Rose hits all the right notes with a classic
A 'flawless' Maria leads the production that boasts impressive sets and some 'unexpected' yet welcome characterizations
By Tina Arth and Darrell Baker
Within the last two weeks, we have had the honor of seeing the current generation of von Trapp Family Singers (they were absolutely fantastic!) and the pleasure of seeing Broadway Rose’s fine production of “The Sound of Music” – the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic loosely based on the story of the original singing von Trapp family.
Perhaps more than any other classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “The Sound of Music” is a singer’s show, and thus a perfect fit for Broadway Rose. Under the musical direction of Alan D. Lytle, the vocal ensembles were often stunning, especially the numbers featuring the amazing harmonies and dynamics of the nuns’ chorus. Lytle also capitalized on the singing ability of his leads, most of whom delivered consistently superb solo performances.
Leah Yorkson’s “Maria” was a delight – charming and vocally flawless. Her playful interaction with the children captured the essence of Maria’s duality – a naïve child-woman able to relate to the youngest, mentor the older children, and ultimately respond passionately to Captain von Trapp. In addition, she’s a first-class trouper whose professionalism shone during recurring microphone problems in the first act (which happily were resolved by intermission). Imagine singing “Lonely Goatherd” to a packed house when your mic fails (and the other seven don’t). Without missing a beat, she amplified her projection and more than held her own. Kudos also to conductor Lytle and his orchestra for immediately adjusting the musical volume.
Isaac Lamb gave one of the best interpretations we have seen of Captain von Trapp – less martinet and more paternal, which made his growing affection for Maria more believable. Lamb made it easy to understand why, despite several years of emotional remoteness, his children still eagerly sought his attention and approval. In addition, his smooth baritone added a powerful foundation to the ensemble numbers.
David Sargent (“Max Detweiler”) and Jami Chatalas Blanchard (“Elsa Schrader”) lent their considerable comedic talents to the production, taking a bit of the edge off the descending darkness of the Nazi takeover. Sargent’s “Max” was urbane, effete, and self-effacing without going over the top, and Blanchard’s “Elsa” was more self-consciously wry than devious and scheming – an unexpected and welcome touch.
Other standout performances included Lindsay Jolliff (“Liesl”) and Collin Carver (“Rolf”), whose rendition of “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” gave them the opportunity to display both their vocal and dance skills. Margie Boule (“Mother Abbess”) soared in her rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” but her singing was not the only strength she brought to the role – she displayed a sensitivity and empathy that really brought the character to life. Of course, the von Trapp children en masse were bubbly and charming, and their enthusiasm kept the audience engaged throughout.
Director Sharon Maroney set a rapid pace that kept a long show moving nicely (the production included all of the songs written for the original Broadway cast). Her grasp of both the characters and the era ensured that her actors conveyed the show’s many themes. As we have grown to expect with Broadway Rose, the sets and lighting were superb.
For those who are not familiar with “The Sound of Music” this is a great introduction – and for those who know and love the show, it is a lovely visit with a dear friend.