The City is Alive With “The Sound of Music”

by Nick Bailey on February 22, 2016 in Entertainment, Theatre,
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If you’ve ever liked musicals then there’s a good chance that one of your favorite songs came from The Sound of Music. Littered with timeless classics, this musical is one of the most well-known productions of modern time, and it’s touring now, making a few stops in Texas. Right now, they’re finishing up in Houston at the beautiful Hobby Center, and they’ll be coming to Austin February 23 until 28 at Bass Concert Hall. I’m definitely excited for this one.

Ben Davis as 'Captain Georg von Trapp' and Kerstin Anderson as 'Maria Rainer.' Photo by Matthew Murphy
Ben Davis as ‘Captain Georg von Trapp’ and Kerstin Anderson as ‘Maria Rainer.’ Photo by Matthew Murphy

While most people who know The Sound of Music the movie, this production is brand new and differs from the film, according to Ben Davis, who plays Captain Georg von Trapp. In a recent conversation with Davis, he definitely got me eager to see what’s in store with this production.

“What our director has done is really tried to make us think about what was occurring at the time more so than the movie,” Davis said. “The musical talks about the political nature of the time period, which was 1938-1939 Austria, which is right on precipice of the Nazi invasion. We think of The Sound of Music as this very sweet musical – and it is – but it also has this political tone to it and a real aspect of danger.”

This brand new production is directed by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, Henry IV and The Coast of Utopia), so I’m expecting great things from the stage this time around. I haven’t been able to see any of his productions in the past, but if he’s good enough to win a Tony then I’m sure he’s not resting on his laurels with this theatre staple. Introducing O’Brien’s brand new discovery is Kerstin Anderson as Maria Rainer. A current student at Pace University, Ms. Anderson won the coveted role from hundreds who auditioned, and this will be her first national tour — talk about a way to hit the road!  

“I’ve always believed Maria was a ‘star-making’ part, rather than the leading role we remember from the movies; so I went looking for someone with star-making magic,” says director O’Brien. “And in through the audition door one day walked Kerstin Anderson, still studying at Pace University in New York. She opened her mouth, she sang and the tears welled up in my eyes. If ever there were an enchanting young woman standing on the brink of discovery — this was it!  And now, the discovery is about to be all of ours!”

In talking with Davis, one of the things I was definitely curious about was whether or not this production would be true to the film. It’s been quite some time since I watched it, but I know adaptations can stray from the original work, so I was worried that this production would be much different. From what I got from Davis, however, I think this may be just as pleasant.

“There are actually things added that were in the original Broadway show, but then were taken out for the movie, and we’re doing the original show with the exception of a song between myself and Maria called “Something Good” that’s in the movie that was not in the musical and the Broadway show,” Davis explained. “There’s things that are rearranged because when they did the movie – like they do with a lot of movie adaptations – they change things around, so things are put back in their original place. The audience isn’t going to miss anything that they’re expecting. What they’re going to get, I think, is a lot more.”

I’m going to be checking this show out while it’s in Austin, so if you’re in the area I’d definitely recommend grabbing a friend and having a evening of theatre. Once they finish up in Austin, The Sound of Music will be back in Texas in August 17 through 21, performing at the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, and then in San Antonio at The Majestic Theatre from September 13 to 18. Order your tickets soon because this is a show you won’t want to miss.