If you’ve ever wanted to sit on stage during a performance at Austin’s ZACH Theatre now is your chance. Tables and chairs will line an “extended stage” area from now until July 24 at the venue’s Topfer theatre for Producing Artistic Director David Steakley’s version of The Sound of Music.
As the audience enters the theatre, the musical features a pre-performance of German music, resembling that of an old-time German biergarten, ahead of this classic show that originally opened on Broadway in 1959 before winning five Tony awards, including Best Musical.
While the pre-concert is nice, the musical itself is simply the best. After all, where else will you get the classic song first sang by Julie Andrews in 1959 and composed by Richard Rodgers?
As the playful lyrics state – “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings. These are a few of my favorite things.”
“Favorite Things” was also the very favorite song of our late Texas Lifestyle Magazine editor Julie Tereshchuk – who much like this musical, was also very much a light – all for which made the musical experience even more impactful. The lyrics are evident throughout the entire production through background instrumentals and beautiful vocals performed by both Amanda Rivera (Maria) and Lex Land (Mother Abbess).
Other Tony, Grammy, and Oscar winning sounds are also featured, including “Do-Re-Mi”, “Climb Every Mountain”, and of course “The Sound of Music” in itself.
Joy and laughter are apparent throughout the production, which tells the story of a young woman, working to become a nun, who is sent away to be a governess for the seven adorable children of the Von Trapp family in Austria. Based on a true story, Maria – who demonstrates characteristics of elegance and kindness – falls in love with Captain von Trapp and the two soon marry.
A great play for all ages, though happy at times, the musical is also grim at times and teaches a historical lesson. Centered around the World War II era and German takeovers across parts of Europe, the need to not necessarily simply “be a friend of everyone” is shown. Overall, it’s a great reminder of the importance of standing up for your own beliefs, regardless of fear.
Standing up for something isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Perhaps, throughout history, there is always some point in time where decisions must be made, and people must decide whether they will stick up for what they believe in – or perhaps take a path of less resistance. This happens within our own individual lives, but it also can happen through societal issues and controversies given certain cultural norms or challenges.
Sound of Music plays at ZACH Theatre now through July 24. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online.
Cover photo courtesy Suzanne Cordeiro.