Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound Of Music” never ran even the slightest risk of falling into obscurity, but a recent live television broadcast starring Carrie Underwood and last year’s 50th anniversary of the Julie Andrews movie masterpiece brought heightened attention to the timeless production. And though it’s played on Broadway for eons and popped up in countless incarnations over the years, the entirely new touring edition puts another layer of fresh paint on the somewhat true story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family.
By the time “So Long, Farwell” rolls around nearly two-and-a-half-hours later, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first or hundredth time seeing “The Sound Of Music” since it’s just as magnetic as it was more than a half-century ago.
This time through at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the title role is played by Kerstin Anderson, who certainly has some stiff competition in her precursors that’s practically impossible to ever top, but she nonetheless brings loads of youthful exuberance to governing the seven children of Captain Georg von Trapp (the stern but likeable Ben Davis). And even if rearing children isn’t this future nun’s original intention, the fact that she falls in love with the man of the house leads to some serious soul-searching with The Mother Abbess (Melody Betts, who’s actually the show’s vocally supreme centerpiece).
No matter how many times the story’s been told, Maria’s connection with each of the kids and her internal conflict between the hand of a man and serving the Lord is as compelling as ever. Yet it’s the underlying drama of the increasing Nazi presence in Austria that remains the most chilling, eventually forcing the newly blended family to plot their clever escape mere days after the wedding bells.
In spite of the harrowing plot progression, the beloved musical is still stacked with several joyful soundtrack gems, including “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” and many other sing-a-longs. By the time “So Long, Farwell” rolls around nearly two-and-a-half-hours later, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first or hundredth time seeing “The Sound Of Music” since it’s just as magnetic as it was more than a half-century ago.