Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 20:59

Music hath charms

Written by Bob Wilcox
Rate this item
(0 votes)

The Details

  • Director: Michael Hamilton
  • Dates: July 20-August 19, 2012
stagesstlouis.org
stagesstlouis.org

The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and to me, it is the least. It leans too heavily on cute children, romanticized nuns, and sentimental melodrama, and the music suffers for it.

But many audiences love it. And to say it is the least of Rodgers and Hammerstein is to say it is the least of a very good string of musicals. It does have flashes of the masters' touch.

The structure of the show justifies its title: the plot turns on music. Maria wins the von Trapp children with music. Stern Captain von Trapp softens when the children sing (and even I can almost tear up at that moment). The Captain and Maria fall in love to music while they are dancing. The family escapes from the Nazis at the climactic music festival by leaving the stage while singing “So Long, Farewell.”

But I do wish the show ended with the wedding. Those last scenes never feel to me like an organic part of Maria's story.

My reservations aside, Stages St. Louis, under Michael Hamilton's direction, has mounted a fine production.

The Maria, Casey Erin Clark, has the right liveliness and impulsiveness for the part and a fine voice – though the amplification system at the Kirkwood Community Center theatre seemed to be unkind to her voice sometimes.

Stages favorite David Schmittou extends his range as Captain von Trapp, stern and reserved and then melting, with proper reserve.

Suzanne Ishee, the Mother Superior, nearly stops the show with her glorious rendition of the inspirational “Climb Every Mountain.”

Kari Ely brings her mature charm to the role of Elsa Schraeder, who almost marries the captain. William Thomas Evans does fine comic work as the impresario Max Detweiler.

Heidi Giberson nicely balances innocence and flirtatiousness as Liesl, the oldest von Trapp girl. Matt Leisy gives Rolf Grube, Liesl's almost boy friend, a proper Prussian stiffness. Local youngsters Matthew Howard, Julia Schweizer, Braden Phillips, Morgan McDonald, Grace Clark, and Phoebe Desilets shine as the other von Trapp children.

Stages regulars Zoe Vonder Haar and John Flack are the Captain's household staff, with Karin Berutti, Michele Burdette Elmore, and Pamela Reckemp as the Mother Superior's right-hand nuns. Christopher Guilmet is a nasty Nazi, Whit Reichert and Laura Ernst the local aristocrats, and Shaun Sheley plays a sympathetic admiral.

Mark Halpin's scenic designs do amazing things on that limited Kirkwood stage, unfortunately requiring some noisy work behind the scenes when setting them up. Lou Bird designed the traditional costumes, Matthew McCarthy the lights, and Stuart M. Elmore the computerized accompaniment. Lisa Campbell Albert's musical direction creates lovely choral blends, and choreographer Dana Lewis invents lively and smart staging for the songs.

If you like The Sound of Music, you'll enjoy Stages' production.

Additional Info

  • Director: Michael Hamilton
  • Dates: July 20-August 19, 2012

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Mound City Slickers

Mon August 4

The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven-man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. "Don't Hide" is full of high-energy jams and groovy improvisations that give the band's music a good-time vibe. Download their…

KDHX Recommends

August
Thursday
21

August
Friday
22

TOCO Family Festival

TOCO hosts its annual Family Festival at Jellystone Park in Eureka, featuring camping, live music, contests, family activities, art, food, vendors and much more. tocofestival.com


August
Saturday
23

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014

Amelia White with Sergio Webb at Harvest Sessions 2014 Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter Amelia White with guitarist Sergio Webb are this week's featured artists for Harvest Sessions. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market,...


Online Users

3 users and 8206 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook