'SOUND OF MUSIC' Performance was enjoyable despite glitches
There were a few too many errors considering the actors are professionals.
By L. CROW
What can be said about "The Sound of Music" that hasn't been said before? Most people are so familiar with this audience favorite, now playing at The Carousel Dinner Theater in Akron, that it needs no explanation.
As for this particular production, much of it was wonderful. The scenery and lighting were exquisite -- for instance, the backdrop of mountains, especially in the night scenes with the glistening stars.
The standing trees were realistic. Most realistic, however, was the opening scene in the abbey, with the light trickling down from high windows. And some of the most divine music of the evening was in that scene. The singing nuns were awesome.
As for the rest of the show, a professional production whose main characters are all members of the Actors' Equity Association, there were just a bit too many slipped lines and little errors.
The bigger issue, however, was the lack of believability of the characters themselves.
The problem with doing such a familiar show is comparisons to previous productions. For most folks, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer set the standard by which this musical is judged, and those are mighty big shoes to fill.
Cristin Mortenson as Maria was a little too chirpy to be real. The energy between her and Ray Luetters, as Georg von Trapp, just didn't click enough to be convincing, with the exception of the scene in which they danced the landler. In this special moment, they became two people falling in love.
Sharon Alexander, however, was an excellent Mother Abbess, and Jay Rogers sparkled with humor and mischief as the less-than-honest Max Detweiler. The two servants were realistic, too: Frau Schmidt played by Rebecca Hoodwin, and Franz, the butler, played by YSU's own David Vosburgh.
As for the children, the shining star was, without a doubt, little Gretl, played by Kelcie Brahce. Elizabeth Fye as Liesl came in a close second.
Another highlight was the instrumental accompaniment.
What sounded like a small pit orchestra was actually keyboards, played by Angela Estes and Steve Parsons, and percussion, played by Jim Anderson. Estes directed, and Parsons created the orchestrations. Mitzi Hamilton directed and choreographed the production.
One big difference between professional productions such as this and smaller community theater is the energy connection with the audience. In a community production, no matter where you are in the audience, you are probably next to, or near, a parent or grandparent or friend of someone on stage. That sets up an automatic connection between audience and performers, and the whole room usually has a buzz of excitement, a sort of cheering-on for the players.
In professional productions, that energy buzz can and does happen, but the actors have to work a lot harder for it.
This production, while by no means poor, just didn't create any fireworks.
The overall evening was pleasant, enjoyable and relaxing. The food, especially the vegetarian lasagna stuffed thick with creamy cheese, was excellent. Our service was friendly, very courteous and prompt. The meal and show are worth the price of a ticket, especially as a family outing with children.