THE SOUND OF MUSIC – Music by Richard Rodgers; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II; Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse; Directed by Alicia K. Meyers. Produced by BDT Stage (5501 Arapahoe, Boulder) through August 19. Tickets available at 303-449-6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By now you are all aware of the sad news that the long-running BDT Stage is closing its doors in January. Their current production is the next-to-last show. It is the duty of each and every one of you to see a performance of this show and of the last one – FIDDLER ON THE ROOF – coming on September 9th – if you haven’t already. Your duty!! In honor of the hundreds of theatre people they have employed and the thousands of people they have entertained in their 46 years of performing. Line up, folks. Get your tickets now!!
But, of course, you want to see a good professional show with a lot of heart for your money. And that’s what you get with this production. Ably directed by Alicia Meyers, the cast moves through the heart-warming story with ease and grace. In this case, familiarity doesn’t breed the usual; it breeds warmth. Nearly all of these performers have done the show before – perhaps not in the roles they are doing now, but they have watched, listened, sung, danced and dreamed of bringing the beautiful music and story once again to life. A special gift is to be able to do it on this stage at this time. So special that seven “alumni” from previous casts are returning to take a minor role for two or three performances as part of the celebration. Including AK Klimpke, Brian Burron, Stephen Turner, DP Perkins, Matt Peters, Brian Jackson and Brian Norber (all the way from California!).
The cast members for which this is a new experience are the children. Two separate sets of kids rotate playing the six younger children of the von Trapps with great aplomb and confidence. They have learned the complicated dance routines and songs and carry them off with almost military precision. You think “not complicated”? You try singing “Do Re Me” the way they do and “The Lonely Goatherd.” That stuff is complicated. They make it look easy. Kudos to Tracey Dennig who designed and taught the choreography to children and adults alike. Liesl, the oldest daughter who is 16 going on 17, is played each night by the very talented and graceful Claire Leon.
You must believe in and love Maria for this to be a happy show. Mykayla Morso-McDonough, a BDT regular, brings her personal charm and winning personality to the role with great effect. Her voice is flawless; her way with the children is natural; her frustration dynamic; and the quiet unexpected way she begins to fall in love with Captain von Trapp is sweet to behold. Scott Severtson in an understated role as the Captain offers a wildly different portrayal from his last BDT outing, that of a rock ‘n’ roll Shakespeare in SOMETHING’S ROTTEN. This just shows his versatility as he has entertained us for nearly twenty years; I remember him at the Galleria Theatre (?) a hundred years ago as one of the best El Gallo’s I’ve ever seen. Rock on, Seve.
Another key role in SOM is that of the Mother Abbess. She’s the one who gets to sing “Climb Every Mountain” and tear your heart out. The role is assigned to Tracy Warren, a beautiful singer/performer; but on the night I attended, I had the great good fortune of seeing her understudy Anna Maria High sing the role and blow the roof off the theatre doing it. Anna, normally known for belting the blues, gave this almost religious song a righteousness unique to her style. The choir of seven singing nuns highlight the opening of the show with a hymn sung in almost Latin “Preludium” and support Maria in all her endeavors and insecurities. Bob Hoppe brings his usual energy and charm to the role of the concert master, Max Detweiler, and Alicia Meyer seduces as Elsa Schraeder, Maria’s competition for the Captain’s affections. The men who put this script together changed quite a bit of the true story in their effort to make it a little more dramatic. I’ve often wondered if there was really an Elsa in the Captain’s life or if she was added for effect. Searching online, I found the original “Favorite Things” that were left out of the song, the real names of the children, that Max the concertmaster was actually a priest in real life, the actual time they fled the Nazi (ON A TRAIN!), but I can’t seem to find the answer to Elsa. Oh, well.
What a lovely way to spend an afternoon or evening. Don’t forget to get your tickets for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF quickly. Your last chance to see so many of these wonderful performers. Don’t worry – I’ll try to track them and let you know where they are performing post-BDT!
A WOW factor of 8.5!!