The Sound of Music

McKayla Marso-McDonough (Maria Rainer) and Scott Severtson (Captain Georg von Trapp)
McKayla Marso-McDonough (Maria Rainer) and Scott Severtson (Captain Georg von Trapp)
We think nothing of seeing Carmen or The Marriage of Figaro or Madame Butterfly every few seasons, or some Shakespeare every year, but when it comes to American musicals, we hear a lot of scoffing when The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, and Camelot are revived. Yet, the musical is America's opera and the depiction of what many see as stories with outdated mores and prejudices is, in fact, instructive, just like classical opera, the Greeks, and Shakespeare. Ignoring history, or suppressing it and pretending that the past should be subjected to "political correctness" is, essentially, a recipe for historical ineptness, leaving us to repeat our mistakes out of ignorance, arrogance, or a delusional sense of cultural superiority.

Tracy Warren as Mother Abbess and the nuns
Tracy Warren as Mother Abbess and the nuns
While we are not privy to the reason that BDT Stage chose this classic as its final production before it shuts its doors in August, from our point-of-view it is the perfect choice, given the dramatic storyline, a panoply of great songs, and several moral lessons that remain topical.

McKayla Marso-McDonough (Maria Rainer) and children
McKayla Marso-McDonough (Maria Rainer) and children
The role of Maria can be daunting, measuring up to Mary Martin (the original Broadway cast) and Julie Andrews (the film), but Mckayla Marso-McDonough makes it look effortless, her beautiful soprano winning over Captain Georg von Trapp (Scott Severtson) and his seven charming children, Leisl (Claire Leon), Friedrich (Nolan Baker/Uri Novak), Louisa (Prugh Dunfee/Antonina Monsolino), Brigitta (Adeleia Odekirk/Etta McCurdy), Kurt (Marcus Hollekim/Oiver Daneels), Marta (Khloe TrainorStenna Gutowski), and Gretl (Maggie CaoElsa Colwell).

Severtson, as Captain Georg von Trapp, brings a distinguished air to the handsome naval officer, and smoothly negotiates his conversion from a rigid, closed-off widower to a charming suitor. Bob Hoppe has lots of fun with Max Detweiler, the freeloading impressario who "discovers" the von Trapps. Tracy Warren, as the Mother Abbess, rocks the house with her incredible range, delivering an epic rendition of "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."

Bob Hoppe (as Max Detweiler) and Alicia K. Meyers (as Elsa Schraeder)
Bob Hoppe (Max Detweiler)
and Alicia K. Meyers (Elsa Schraeder)
Alicia K. Meyers makes the complexity of directing so many children look easy, adding a twist with the thankless, self-deprecating role of Elsa Schraeder, the wealthy widow who, for a time, appears certain to marry the Captain, but breaks the engagement when he stands up for his homeland against the Nazis—a key theme echoed in Liesl and Rolf's relationship. What makes the von Trapps heroic is their refusal to accommodate fascism even if it means abandoning otherwise promising relationships and their homeland.

Claire Leon (as Liesl) and Chris Warren (as Rolf)
Claire Leon (Liesl) and Chris Warren (Rolf)
Leon's enchanting dance and glee after Rolf kisses Liesl outshines the dated script in "Sixteen going on Seventeen" scene.

Given that this production, which runs through August 19th, will close out an incredible run—46 years, 175 productions, 14,000 performances, and over 3 million patron visits—the role of Franz is being rotated among some of our favorite actors over the last couple of decades: AK Klimpke, Brian Burron, Stephen Charles Turner, DP Perkins, Matthew D. Peters, Brian Jackson, and Brian Norber.

We'd be remiss if we didn't thank Ross Haley for founding and building this local treasure since 1972 and Gene and Judy Bolles for their enlightened ownership since 2003, under the guidance of Michael Duran as well as Seamus McDonough.

Boulder's Dinner Theatre's The Sound of Music runs through August 19th. 303-449-6000.

Bob Bows

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