The Reagle Music Theatre
Of Greater Boston
Is Alive With A Beautiful
Sound Of Music
The Sound Of Music
Through July 21
Reagle Music Theatre Of Greater Boston
Directed and Choreographed by Daniel Forest Sullivan
Reviewed by Bobby Franklin
The Sound Of Music was the last musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Mr. Hammerstein died nine months after it opened on Broadway in 1959. The play, based on the story of the von Trapp family and their escape from Austria on the eve of the Anschluss (Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938), is still as touching, warm, and fresh as when it debuted. This makes it a perfect production for The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston where classic Broadway musicals are given the respect they deserve.
“You will be hard pressed to find a better production of The Sound of Music anywhere.”
This was my third time at the Reagle, and I am still very impressed by how much of an authentic Broadway experience is created there. The full orchestra under the direction of Dan Rodriguez is a big part of this, as is the talent on stage as well as the direction, choreography, lighting, and sets that all make for an evening of great musical theatre.
Aimee Doherty is simply sublime as Maria. She captures the innocence as well as the instinctive worldliness of the young postulant who has entered Nonnberg Abbey in pursuit of the religious life only to find out she will travel a different road. Ms Doherty’s stage presence is as warm as her voice, and listening to her performing such great songs as My Favorite Things, I Have Confidence, and the title song is a delight.
The von Trapp children played by Emma Heistand (Liesl), Wade Gleeson Turner (Friedrich), Jane Jakubowsksi (Louisa), Ryan Philpott (Kurt), Fiona Simeqi (Brigitta), Addison Toole (Marta), and Libby Sweder (Gretl) are wonderful. Each one is a star and left me impressed and smiling as I watched them perform with Ms Doherty on Do-Re-Me and The Lonely Goatherd. So Long, Farewell is performed twice by them and I was happy for that, as once was not enough for these talented young thespians.
Mark Linehan, last seen on the Reagle stage in Mame, once again showed why he is so popular with audiences. He portrays Captain von Trapp, and his character is strict and a bit cold at first as the Captain struggles with the loss of his wife. Mr. Linehan really hits his stride when he takes his character from authoritarian patriarch to warm father under the influence of Maria. This transition is where he excels as he brings his heart into the role. Linehan’s rendition of Edelweiss is lovely and deeply moving. Midway through this farewell song to his homeland he is choked with emotion when he is joined by Maria who gives him strength. It is a beautiful moment that captures a family in its struggle not to become a part of the darkness that is overtaking their home. Set in front of a red curtain with two swastikas projected onto it, the contrast between good and evil is clearly conveyed.
Yewande Odetoyinbo (Sister Bertha), Sara DeLong (Sister Margaretta), Margaret Felice (Sister Sophia), along with Mara Bonde (The Mother Abbess) make up the nuns of Nonnberg Abby who grapple with how to solve a problem like Maria. Ms Bonde performs a stirring rendition of Climb Every Mountain as she encourages Maria to follow her heart. She reaches deep down and has the audience cheering as she hits the final notes.
The Reagle is known for showcasing young talent, and a great example of this is when Emma Heistand (Liesl) and Max Currie (Rolf) step onto the stage with Sixteen Going On Seventeen as the teenagers pursuing their first kiss. Set around a garden bench the two glide gracefully about the stage while their lovely voices fill the theater.
Max Detweiler is played by Robert Orzalli while the role of Elsa Schraeder is taken on by Janis Hudson. Mr. Orzalli as Captain von Trapp’s friend and agent is always looking to make a deal that usually includes getting himself invited to fancy parties. Elsa is from an aristocratic family and Ms Hudson portrays her with the air of her high social status while also allowing her character to display a depth of understanding.
After seeing and reviewing the Reagle’s Mame last month, I went into this current production trying to keep my expectations a bit low as I didn’t think they could reach that high bar twice in a row. I was mistaken. Under the direction and choreography of Daniel Forest Sullivan and the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Robert J. Eagle, The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston proved they are capable of reaching even greater heights.
With the talent assembled on the stage in Waltham, MA I have no reservations about saying you will be hard pressed to find a better production of The Sound of Music anywhere.
There are four more performances of The Sound Of Music scheduled starting this coming Thursday. It would be a mistake not to take one in.
Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
617 Lexington Street