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Review

The Sound of Music
by Kidz Theater
 

The Show: 

The last Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration became their biggest with the blockbuster film led by Julie Andrews. It’s inspired by the von Trapp family that formed the Trapp Family Singers who fled Austria as Nazi Germany took over, and the musical score is certainly among the most complete 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 soon-to-be-singing seven siblings of the widowed Captain von Trapp. 

The Production: 

Director Kristen Caear’s Kidz Theater brings the Swiss Alps to Manhattan with a production that includes a strong cast and some surprising and refreshing takes on this classic. The show is double-cast with Kathryn Brunner playing Maria in the Roses cast, featuring a spirited Maria with a lovely voice. But such spiritedness requires little naps (she takes a brief one on an ottoman just before Captain Von Trapp walks in for their initial meeting). The seven singing siblings are led by Tristen Buettel as sixteen-year-old Leisl who teams up with seventeen-year-old Rolf (Sam Adams) for a very memorable Sixteen Going on Seventeen as the aggressive Leisl and nervous Rolf have a great back-and-forth flirting game superbly performed and expertly choreographed by Kristen Caesar. Micaela Diamond turns Marta into a very funny and precocious second-to-youngest, while Emma Fusco is a little Gretl with a million-dollar smile. 

All seven talented siblings combine forces for some great musical numbers including Do-Re-Mi and The Lonely Goatherd, and combine with their father (Julian Sarria) for an impressively staged and acted scene. After weeks of learning to sing and play with Maria, the kids react to their returned father with unbound joy and excitement, which transforms instantly to palpable sadness, disappointment, and hurt feelings when he angrily whistles them into formation. The extra time spent on this scene and the reactions are powerful, as is the moment minutes later when an overwhelmed father, touched by his children’s singing, joins them in the final lines of the show’s title song, ending with embraces by the grateful, reunited family. 

Other strong performances include Sarah Banning as an amusingly forward Baroness and Rafael Martinez-Salgado as a diverting “Uncle Max,” delivering fun numbers not in the movie including How Can love Survive and No Way to Stop It. Lydia Stinson does a nice job as Mother Abbess and leads her nuns who squabble well about the problem of Maria and sing beautifully to open the show and to close encouraging the family and us to Climb Ev’ry Mountain.

Performed July 15 - 24, 2011

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 

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Maria: Kathryn Brunner
Captain Von Trapp: Julian Sarria
Elsa Schraeder: Sarah Banning
Max Dietweiller: Rafael Martinez-Salgado
Mother Abbess: Lydia Stinson
Rolf: Sam Adams
Frau Schmidt: Marina Colonna
Franz: Samir El Sawaf
Herr Zeller: Bryce Wilson
Admiral Von Schrieber: Benjamin Cooley
Baron Elberfeld: Gabriel Florentino
Leisl: Tristen Buettel
Friedrich: Chris Cherry
Louisa: Jenny Mollet
Kurt: Santiago Spivey
Brigitta: Sara Lipton
Marta: Micaela Diamond
Gretl: Emma Rusco

~ The Nuns ~
Sister Margaretta: Adina Triolo
Sister Berthe: Ashley Martin
Sister Sophia: Lauren Curet
Alexa Caban
Bridget Carrow
Alexandre Dell'Edera
Jessica Doherty
Isabelle Goodman
Kristen Haynes
Genevieve Hynes
Courtney Relyea-Spivak
Danielle Standifer
Sabrina Sternberg
Natasha Tavarez

Male Ensemble:
Benjamin Cooley
Gabriel Florentino
Aidan Kunze

~ The Band ~
Piano: Rebecca Greenstein
Flute: Sophia Saunders-Jones
Flute/Piccolo/Clarinet: Chris Morrison
Clarinet: Kim Werner
Violin: Lena Street
Viola: Arjun Mudan

Director and Choreographer: Kristen Caesar
Music Direction: Rebecca Greenstein
Production Manager: Katie Gorum
Interns: Nicole Johnson, Josh Leslierandal, Mike Walsh
Assistant Director/House Manager: Patrice Christu
Lighting Designer: Ashley Vellano
Sound Designer/Engineer: Bruno Diaz
Master Electrician: Coree Evans
Electricians:
Ali May
Brittany Spencer
Nathan McKinney
Yolana Royster
Carpenter: Raven

   

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