The Lyrics Opera’s production of the Sound of Music at the Lyric Opera House was nothing short of Amazing. As a treat for Mother’s Day, my siblings and I took our Mom to see the show as a surprise.
Growing up, some of my “favorite things” were watching movies such as Gone with the Wind, Vertigo or the Sound of Music with my family. My mom and I would walk around singing scores from the movie for days. Going to the show was more than just seeing a production, it was reliving childhood memories.
The night was an experience in and of itself. We got to the Civic Opera House a bit after 6 PM and had to wait in line. At 6:15 our tickets were scanned and we were directed to elevators where we were escorted to our floor. Our seats were in the eighth row of the balcony. The view seems to be pretty good from anywhere in the house… unless the girl in front of you insists on leaning forward.
The show started a minute or two after 7 PM with an introduction from the nuns of Nonnberg Abbey. From there the show goes better with every familiar number. Jenn Gambatese comes into the scene as Maria and after a quick number with the Reverend Mother is notified she will be a governess for the Von Trapp family.
There were variations from both the original movie and the original Broadway production. As previously stated I grew up on this movie and caught on to the variances quickly. One of my favorite numbers in the movie is Edelweiss performed by Captain Von Trapp and his eldest daughter Liesl, played by Julia Schweizer. When the number is referred to but not performed, I was seriously disappointed. Just ask anyone who sat in our section when, during intermission, I interrogated my mom about the nature of this supposed oversight. But true to both the Broadway play and movie, it is performed towards the end, by the whole family.
Two numbers which are typically performed in the theater production, but left out of the movie, were performed by Max Detweiler and Elsa Schrader.
While the cast was excellent a few of the artists stuck out to me. Billy Zane very convincingly brought Captain Von Trapp to life. When he sang, I even got a little teary-eyed. He played the strong character but softened as the show went on, as I would have expected.
The Reverend Mother had one of the strongest voices in the show. I couldn’t help but dream about being up on stage with a voice like that during her performances. I wasn’t alone in thinking this as she received one of the loudest audience applauses at the curtain call.
The children were all great. It amazes me that you can get a range of young ages to remember the acts so well. While all of them were great, Gretl steals the scenes. She is adorable! My favorite song the children did was in the bedroom with Maria during the thunderstorm. In the movie, they are calmed down with My Favorite Things, but in the on-stage production, Maria calms them down with one of the most fun numbers The Lonely Goatherd. The kids move seamlessly about the room and had my undivided attention.
While I disagree, I feel like it needs to be said. My family felt like Jenn Gambatese appeared too young to play the role of Maria and blended in with the children. I thought she was simply amazing. No, she’s not Julie Andrews, but no one is! She performed with the children great! A notable scene (besides the previously mentioned) was during Do Re Me. They worked together great and the scene must have taken so much practice!
During the scene where (Spoiler Alert if you have been hiding under a rock for 50 years) Captain Von Trapp and Maria confess their love for each other, they perform a song that was not in the original Broadway Production but was in the movie called Something Good. Can I just say that I loved the number so much that I have been singing it since? I honestly didn’t remember the song from the movie but it definitely stuck in my head after the performance Billy Zane and Jenn Gambatese gave.
My last thought is that the show was surprisingly funny! The characters have much more wit than in the movie. My favorite moments were between Elsa Schrader, played by Elizabeth Futral, and Maria. Their distaste for each other was a comedic performance throughout the first act at the beginning of the second.
I have seen a handful of stage productions in Chicago including Beauty and the Beast, Wicked and Romeo and Juliet. The Sound of Music, however, quickly made it into my top slot. Wicked was good. Don’t get me wrong. The story, the music, the twists, and turns; it’s a delight from start to finish. The Sound of Music, however, was simply timeless, heartwarming and full of memories.
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