Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Sound of Music Transforms the Fox Theatre into Austria's Swiss Alps

Last night, I had the privilege to travel to Austria.

Okay.  Not the real Austria, but it felt like it...

Last night, Director Jack O'Brien brought Rodgers & Hammerstein's wonderful, delightful, and timeless musical, The Sound of Music, to Atlanta.  (The musical will play The Fox Theatre for one week only, ending Sunday, March 6.)

The musical did not stray far from its film counterpart with all the beloved songs and characters well represented.  The sets were amazing, and the talent mesmerizing.

The Sound of Music, as you probably already well know, tells the story of the von Trapp family who live within the Swiss Alps of Austria.  Their story is set during a time when Nazi Germany was impending a takeover.  Ben Davis plays Captain Georg von Trapp, a widow left with seven children to raise.  (Davis' voice can both bellow and croon softly.  What a talent they have discovered in this man!)

Since the children's Mother has died, Captain Georg has not allowed music, fun, or games into the household.  He is not sure he will ever be able to experience those feelings of joy and happiness again, and this is where the lovely Maria Rainer, played by Kerstin Anderson, comes into our story.

(Kerstin Anderson is a Pace University student currently in pursuit of her BFA in musical theater.  I will tell you that Kerstin's voice is remarkable and as crystal clear as the stunning chandelier prop hanging over head in the von Trapp's home.)

Maria is a would-be nun from the local Abbey.  However, she seems intent to be enjoying singing and celebrating life and laughter a little bit more than they would like at the Abbey.  To try and help her Postulant out, The Mother Abbess, played by Ashley Brown, sends Maria to be the new Governess at the von Trapp household.

...And as the saying goes, it's all history from there.  Maria and Capitan Georg eventually fall in love, and Maria brings the family back together again.

The story of the von Trapps does not end there though.  As we mentioned above, Nazi Germany is impending invasion into Austria and they have "recruited" the staunch anti-German Captain Georg to man one of their ships.  To escape servitude to the Nazis, Maria and Georg make a plan and agree to let the family sing at a local festival and competition representing Austria.  During the judging of the event, the family escapes back to Maria's former Abbey for protection and hiding from the searching Nazis.  After the Nazis leave the Abbey empty-handed, the family heads off to Switizerland via the mountains surrounding them.

(Since The Sound of Music is based on a true story, we know that the family actually left Austria and headed, by train, to Italy before finally landing in the United States, via London.)

If you have a chance to venture into the City this week and see The Sound of Music, I highly encourage you to do so.  As I said above, the sets are seamless and beautiful and give the feeling of transporting you to the Swiss Alps of Austria.

The music is familiar and easy to sing along to, and the talent is beyond measure.  (One of our favorites was Ashley Brown as Mother Abbess.  The notes she hits are amazing, and she brings such a warmth and love to her character, it's hard not to embrace her.)

For more information on the play or to purchase tickets for this week's show, you can visit the Fox Theater's website or Brave PR's facebook page.

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