“The Sound of Music” has been done. It has been iconic and sealed into our imaginations ever since Julie Andrews went twirling around in that Alpine field of flowers. The point is it’s pretty hard to screw up a production of the show as long as all of the notes are hit and lines are remembered.
Of course, if you do a really good job, you won’t rewrite history, but you will leave audiences completely thrilled. This is the case with the touring production of “The Sound of Music” that is now playing through May 8, at the Fox Theatre.
The difference comes down to the cast and the production design.
Kerstin Anderson, who plays Maria, was plucked from relative obscurity after just completing her second year at Pace University in New York. Not only does she have a lovely voice and a bubbling charisma, but she has terrific chemistry with her co-star Ben Davis.
Davis is a Muny vet who plays Captain von Trapp, the widower with seven children who hires Maria as a governess. Davis has the perfect mix of gravitas and charm to go along with his versatile vocal ability.
The von Trapp children (Paige Silvester, Jeremy Michael Lanuti, Maria Suzanne Knasel, Quinn Erickson, Svea Elizabeth Johnson, Mackenzie Currie, and Audrey Bennett) are all predictably talented and adorable.
The supporting cast has its share of standouts as well, including Merwin Foard as the lovable cad Max Detweiler, and Melody Betts as the Mother Abbess, whose voice is so powerful it practically (and literally) compels you to go out and find a mountain to climb.
This touring production also leans into the political tension that bubbles underneath the surface of this show. The Nazi menace looms large here, to the point our cheery, happy family winds up singing in front of massive, swastika-emblazoned banners.
The sets are all large and impressive and the action rolls seamlessly from one spectacular location to the next.
Of course, the songs are all classics and have become a part of all of our lives, even if we didn’t want them to.
This really is Rodgers and Hammerstein at their best as it takes a lot of effort not to loudly sing along with “Do-Re-Mi,” “The Sound of Music” and “My Favorite Things.”
Even with some darker tinges around the edges, this show is about unwavering happiness and it’s nearly impossible to walk out of the theater without a smile on your face.
Sure, you’ve seen “The Sound of Music” done and done again, but it’s such a great show when it is at its best (like it is here), part of you feels like you’re seeing it for the very first time. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite things.
“The Sound of Music” is now playing through May 8, at the Fox Theatre. For tickets, call 314-534-1111 or go to metrotix.com.