Review

The Sound of Music
by J*Company
 
La Jolla is alive with The Sound of Music thanks to J*Company’s third installment of their Rodgers and Hammerstein season. It’s the duo’s biggest hit of many, inspired by the von Trapp family that formed the Trapp Family Singers who fled Austria as Nazi Germany took over. The musical score is certainly among the best, featuring such hits as My Favorite Things, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Climb Every Mountain, Edelweiss, and the title tune. And the story is a good one, revolving around Sister Maria whose love of singing sometimes gets her in trouble with the abbey where she is a postulant, and will also get her into a different kind of trouble when she gets assigned to be the governess of the seven children of the widowed Captain von Trapp.

Leading the way is Ali Viterbi, a senior in her last role after a lifetime of work with J*Company. And she goes out in a big way, beginning with her opening tribute to music where she’s so genuinely caught up in nature’s symphony that she’s oblivious to all else, not even consciously aware that she’s singing, and certainly not consciously aware of the bells telling her that it’s time to be back at the convent. Ali has a lovely voice and a great personality – a youthful playfulness that works perfectly for Maria as she gets to know the children (the nuns and the captain’s servants aren’t quite so impressed with her playfulness). Her personality a sharp contrast to the initially stern and un-amused Captain von Trapp (Scott Peterson), a strict widower whose heart has to slowly get thawed once more by love before he can join in the family’s charming singing.

The kids are easier marks for Maria, getting sucked in with a fun music lesson of Do-Re-Mi, and are soon overcoming their thunderstorm phobia with a well-staged My Favorite Things and showing off all their excellent voices in So Long, Farewell and The Lonely Goatherd, including some impressive yodeling by little Gretl (Sierra Lieb), while the eldest, Liesl (Maddie Houts) is totally smitten with Rolf (Zachary Herzog) in a nicely sung and danced Sixteen Going on Seventeen.

There’s kind of a whimsical streak running through the whole production, including several new nun names like Sister Mary Amnesia, Sister Mary Peter, Sister Mary Paul, Sister Mary Mary, and Sister Mary Hartman Mary Hartman. All the sisters join together for a good (How Do You Solve a Problem Like) Maria. Baroness Schrader, the snooty rival for Captain von Trapp, is quirkier and funnier than usual, with Danielle Smotrich as the Baroness and Darien Sepulveda as shamelessly mooching friend and talent scout Max Detwiler teaming up for a fun and well-sung and seldom included How Can Love Survive? number. Even the Nazis are a little goofy here, with one losing his temper and getting scolded by his wife with, “Now, Frances, count to ten,” not to mention the totally over-the-top comical Admiral von Schreiber by Jonathan Edzant. Of course, there’s nothing whimsical about the Mother Abbess’s (Naomi McPherson) gorgeous and inspiring rendition of Climb Every Mountain. Though there’s definitely something whimsical about Sister Berthe (Kevin McRee) freaking out when she’s going through Maria’s getaway suitcase and comes across a honeymoon negligee!

Director Joey Landwehr has brought together a great team that makes the other aspects of the show shine, including great costumes by Lisa Forrest, some aesthetically pleasing sets by David Kievit who also lights up the sky in beautiful tones, and a spot-on orchestra led by Tim McKnight which backs up the many great voices in the show as they sing the songs of The Sound of Music.

Performs March 4 - 21, 2010

Photos by Daniel Baird

Rob Hopper
Facebook

Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~
 

Maria: Ali Viterbi
Captain Georg von Trapp: Scott Peterson
Sister Berthe: Kevin McRee
Sister Sophia: Hannah Houts
Sister Margharetta: Ashlen Sepulveda
Sister Dominique-Nique-Nique: Kimberly Marron
Sister Bertrille: Lindsey Grant
Sister Wendy: Michelle Guefen
Sister Mary Hartman Mary Hartman: Lynda Morris
Sister Mary Amnesia: Mackenzie Bath
Sister Mary Peter: Kendal Dastrup
Sister Mary Paul: Alyssa Edzant
Sister Mary Mary: Rachel Friedman
Mother Abbess: Naomi McPherson
Franz: Eric Huckabee
Frau Schmidt: Kaydon Schanberger
Liesl: Maddie Houts
Friedrich: Joshua Shtein
Louisa: Celia Tedde
Kurt: Myles Collinson
Brigitta: Jesse Carpentier
Marta: Brooke Posnock
Gretl: Sierra Lieb
Rolf: Zachary Herzog
Baroness Elsa Schrader: Danielle Smotrich
Max Detweiler: Darien Sepulveda
Ursula: Erin Love
Herr Zeller: Adam Burnier
Frau Zeller: Mackenzie Bath
Baron Elberfeld: David Ahmadian
Baroness Elberfeld: Sophie McMullen
Admiral von Schreiber: Jonathan Edzant
Nazi Lieutenant: Julian Kalb
Nazi: Klarissa Hollander
New Postulant: Ashley Lynch
Fraulein Schweiger: Gabrielle Quiwa
Saengerbund Trio of Herwegen:
Conrad Mazur
Nathan Miller
Sebastian Mayer

Sisters of Nonnberg Abbey:
Katie Armstrong
Nicole Belinsky
Julia Davidson
Alyssa Edzant
Sarah Gustafson
Klarissa Hollander
Morgan Hubers
Sadie Kennedy
Kaydon Schanberger
Shira Simhon
Katie Ward

Postulants of Nonnberg Abbey:
Annie Charlat
Kaia Ray Crusberg
Danielle Datnow
Nicole Eichner
Rebecca Engel
Melanie Leung
Erin Love
Ilana Mereminsky
Rebecca Penner
Casandra Ramsey
Lou Rasse
Hannah Rodriquez
Rachel Rozenfeld
Charlotte Scurlock
Sheila Slomianski
Gabrielle Smotrich
Dina Steinlauf
Gavriela Weitzman

Novices of Nonnberg Abbey:
Erica Ashkenasi
Gabriella Boresi
Rebecca Datnow
Jenna De Quesada
Rebecca Epner
Ilana Hirschfeld
Rachel Kornberg
Madison Leone
Isabelle Rose Leung
Emma Rasse
Ella Serrano
Megan Spector

von Trapp Villa Staff:
Annie Charlat
Colin Garon
Erin Love
Conrad Mazur
Rebecca Penner
Charlotte Scurlock
Gabrielle Smotrich
Micah Weitzman
Gabriela Weitzman

Party Guests:
David Ahmadian
Anna Barberio
Evan Bramberg
Daniel Engel
Junior Fernando
Eric Huckabee
Ashley Lynch
Tess Maretz
Sebastian Mayer
Jonas McMullen
Sophie McMullen
Max Mereminsky
Nathan Miller
Emma Moore
Nicholas Noetzel
Gabrielle Quiwa
Ethan Rappaport
Mclain Simpson
Tyler Simpson
Maxwell Starko-Jones

Featured Dance Ensemble:
Anna Barberio
Evan Bramberg
Hanna Houts
Eric Huckabee
Sadie Kennedy
Ashley Lynch
Jonas McMullen
Emma Moore
Nicholas Noetzel
Gabrielle Quiwa
Ethan Rappaport

Artistic Director/Show Director: Joey Landwehr
Managing Director: Nan Pace
Executive Producer: Monica Handler Penner
Producer: Vivian Guefen
Musical Director: Tim McKnight
Choreographer: Deven P. Brawley
Stage Manager: Jamie Gillcrist
Lighting/Scenic Designer: David Kievit
Sound Designer: Rogelio Vasquez
Costume Designer: Lisa Forrest
Technical Director: Chris Plonka
Theatre Manager: Ryan Matzinger
Box Office Manager: Kylee Hobbs
Technical Crew:
Deven P. Brawley
Larry Higbee
Conrad Mazur
Asher Mendel
Chris Phillips
Michael Plonka
Scott Spethman
Rogelio Rasquez
Theatre House Manager: Lissa Belden
Box Office Assistant: Jamilla Latimer
Publicity: Judith Anderson
Photography: Daniel Baird
Assistant Stage Managers: Elisa Greenberg, Lindsey Morrison & Michael Tyler
Choreographer Assistant: Anna Barberio
Dance Rehearsal Assistants: Ethan Rappaport and Gabriella Quiwa
Fly: Ryan Bath and Michael Tyler
Light Board Operator: Lindsey Morrison
Follow Spot Operators: Paige Miller and Eli Rubenstein
Backstage Crew:
Kevin Bath
Kaylen Dornan
Talia Israel
Elisa Greenberg
Devyn Krevat
Gabriella Leibowitz
Gabriela Lipson
Eliana Levinson
Walfred Rodas
Allison Yahnke

   

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