Saturday, Sep. 11, 2010
Casa Mañana’s ‘Sound of Music’ is truly one of our favorite things
By Mark Lowry
Special to dfw.com
Sometimes it feels like any production of The Sound of Music could be performed by zombies. And still, the beloved songs about needles pulling thread and raindrops on roses would satisfy any audience. As long as a staging isn’t an all-out disaster, it’s typically a solid, entertaining show.
So what a relief that Casa Mañana’s revival, which opened Saturday and is directed and choreographed by Alan Coats, isn’t a walking-dead stroll. It’s thoughtfully performed, beautifully sung and occasionally insightful. Who knew that these characters could surprise?
On a stage of simple-but-luxurious-looking set pieces (by Mark Halpin), the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical rolls along at a swift but manageable pace.
As Liesl, the eldest of the Von Trapp children, Mary McElree gives a heartfelt turn. The others (Cooper Rodgers as Friedrich, Caitlin Hale Daniels as Louisa, Bobby Rochelle as Kurt, Brooke Verbois as Brigitta, Lauren MaGee as Marta and Cosette Cook as Gretl) are kitten-whisker cute, and they all manage laudable harmony. That’s important. These kiddoes were famous singers, after all.
Patty Goble, as the Mother Abbess, knocks it out the park on her big song, Climb Ev’ry Mountain; Tyce Green is a memorable Rolf; and Dennis Yslas gives Max some personality.
In one of the show’s most overlooked roles, Fraulein Schraeder, Diana Sheehan makes her less of an ice queen than what’s usually seen in that role.
When she quietly concedes that Maria has taken over her territory in Capt. Von Trapp’s life, it’s heartbreaking.
But the audience is over that quickly, because Jacquelyn Piro Donovan has already won us over with her quirky, stubborn and charismatic Maria. Her rich vocals give a slightly different sound to this music, but it’s striking.
As the captain, Steve Blanchard sings like a dream and charms, even through his character’s sergeantlike demeanor. Like Frau Schraeder, that’s a role too often played at a distance.
Perhaps it’s because it happens in a more intimate space (Casa Mañana Theatre, not Bass Hall), but under Coats’ direction, it’s as if the sun has melted all signs of ice on this oft-climbed mountain of a musical.
Tag Archives: Music
“One of Our Favorite Things”
The SOUND OF MUSIC Opens
I make my Casa Mañana premier tomorrow night in the ensemble of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. I am having a fantastic time working with some of the most amazing and talented actors and singers. Jacquelyn Piro Donvan and Steve Blanchard are two of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. If you can make it out to the show, you’re in for a real treat.
Here is a recent posting on Playbill.com:
Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Steve Blanchard to Hear The Sound of Music in Texas
By Adam Hetrick • August 25, 2010
Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Steve Blanchard will co-star in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music, which will open the 2010-2011 season at Casa Mañana Sept. 11.
Donovan (Les Miserables) will star as Maria opposite Blanchard (Beauty and the Beast) as Captain Von Trapp in the beloved musical set during the dawn of WWII in Austria. Alan Coats will direct the production that will run through Sept. 19.
The cast will also feature Dennis Yslas as Max Detweiler, Brian Mathis as Herr Zeller, Christopher Deaton as von Schreiber, Deborah Brown as Frau Schmidt, Diana Sheehan Elsa Schraeder, Doug LoPachin as Franz, Mary McElree as Liesl, Cooper Rodgers as Friedrich, Caitlin Daniels as Louisa, Bobby Rochelle as Curt, Brooke Verbois as Brigitta, Lauren Magee as Marta, Cosette Cook as Gretl and Tyce Green as Rolf.
The ensemble will include Nancy Lamb, Theresa Thompson, Lorena Provencio, Jenny Tucker, Megan Blackmon, Emily Ford, Becky Turner, Sarah Franz, Sarah Comley, Tesia Kwarteng, Jason Kennedy, Brad Stephens, Jeff MacMullen and Justin Rapp.
The Sound of Music, the 1960 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, features music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, with a book penned by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The 1965 film adaptation earned five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
For tickets phone (817) 332-2272 or visit CasaMañana.
Filed under Theatre