Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Sights and Sounds of Music

I spent all of yesterday either watching The Sound of Music (first performance), or watching the children who bring the characters of The Sound of Music to life (kid wrangler for second performance – and me without a lasso). Really, with only four weeks and a widely varied group of child actors and singers, the well-rehearsed and tightly-stitched show they were able to produce was quite impressive!

Maria and the Captain were 16 and 15 year-olds, respectively, and they couldn’t have been better. The von Trapp children were aged 9 to 16 and they not only hit their lines, marks, and notes, they did it with clarity and sass. The singing nuns who made up the bulk of the cast (7-16) sang in beautiful four-part harmony, in Latin! I had my doubts with what these directors had to work with, but they managed to not only pull off an entertaining, fully staged musical production of a beloved classic in four weeks but they did so while using every child in the cast well.

Being unfamiliar with the original Broadway production, I really liked two of the songs that I had never heard before: No Way to Stop It and An Ordinary Couple. In No Way to Stop It, Max Detweiler and Elsa Schr├Ąder sing around Captain von Trapp urging him to accept the Anschluss because it there’s nothing he can do about it. That he becomes infuriated with them shows his strong character in a convincing way. Despite its title, An Ordinary Couple is much better at conveying a believable attraction between the two leads than Something Good which replaced it in the movie. They profess that all they want is to be together, as opposed to Something Good which implies that despite their failings, they deserve each other.

And here’s a little trivia. Did you know this?

During the Cold War, BBC planned to broadcast The Sound of Music on the radio in the event of a nuclear strike on the United Kingdom. The broadcast would be part of an emergency timetable of programs designed to "reassure" the public in the aftermath of the attack.

I found this interesting tidbit in Wikipedia , but have been unable to find the original source, an article in The Sunday Times. Of course it was one of many of the many pieces prepared for the event, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

Best of all, when the ever elegant Baroness Schr├Ąder was introduced to us on the terrace she wore a beautiful pink silk flowered dress and jaunty sashed matching hat. Her lavish white silk with silver beading evening gown was even more striking. Why mention this? Her outfits were supplied from the closet of yours truly (people who see me frequently may find this unbelievable as it appears my closet is limited to shades of black). What can I say? I happen to love to dress-up – even 1930s style!

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