Review of The Sound of Music at The Ordway in St. Paul, MN
Quote of the Day: You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true? Oscar Hammerstein II
The von Trapp family singers, including Maria, were just as talented, adorable, and energetic as they look. The Sound of Music is playing at The Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul this December (2015). They performed to a full house (nearly sold out) on Sunday evening (12/13) when I was there to view and review. I attended this performance with my son Zach (a senior in H.S.) who loved it as much as I did. The stage version of this iconic story came first. The movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer came second. The producers of the film made a few changes, so when you go to the theatre, just note that some of the songs are sung in different places by different characters. A film can do things a stage can’t, but a stage performance can do things that you won’t experience by just watching the movie. Sitting in a packed house with fans of the story, who are just dying to sing along, and are in love with the characters, and story, is electric. We, and the story, came to life from the first note. The nuns’ chorus is gorgeous. Billie Wildrick’s Maria is a little more playful than Julie Andrew’s character. In her opening scene where the Hills are alive with the Sound of Music, she’s barefoot and dreamy, and her voice is splendid. When she meets the kids, she goes to them, gets down to their eye level and teaches them “Do-Re-Mi” with fun movements and a few giggles. In the movie, Baroness Schraeder and Herr Detweiler don’t sing. In the Ordway’s stage production, they have a couple fun numbers. And, thank God, they do because Kersten Rodau plays Elsa Schraeder, and she has a fabulous voice. Plus, she’s a great actor. I’ve seen her in a couple other Ordway productions, and she just shines. The love song between the Captain and Maria is a different song from the movie, and Zach and I agree that it’s better. It seems to fit the mood better, and their voices and message to each other. Honestly, I could go on and on about this wonderful production. We are so fortunate to have such tremendous talent right here in the heart of the Midwest. In the write-up about casting the kids, they said that 600 kids auditioned for these roles! Imagine the honor, and pressure, to portray these characters.
The audience response is the best measure for how the show was received. I’ll say it in two words: Standing Ovation! We clapped enthusiastically after every number. Most of the scene changes happened then, so they did the black out and set shuffling seamlessly while we showed our admiration for the music. I heard sighs, and quiet singing, and a few comments. We, the audience, were fully involved in this performance. And, much to my delight, during the competition scene where Georg stands on stage, with his family nearby, playing the guitar and singing Edelweiss, he gestured to us, inviting us to sing along, as they did in the movie, when the citizens of Austria reclaimed their song. Zach, in his lovely tenor voice, sang next to me, until I got a little choked up and had to just listen. It was all over for me from that point to the end, where I shed a few tears as the cast bowed, and bowed again, to a grateful audience.
You can experience The Sound of Music, live and full of love, at The Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul, MN December 10, 2015 – January 2, 2016. I expect most of the performances to sell out, so call early, and plan a fun family outing and make memories that will last a lifetime. Bravo to The Ordway cast and crew, and especially Director Gary Briggle, you did well to bring this beloved story to life.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Did you watch The Sound of Music when you were growing up? Have you ever seen the stage version? Who would you want sitting next to you during this, or any holiday, show?