Review: Broadway Across Canada presents “The Sound of Music”
The Sound of Music never felt so relevant. The classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical may have debuted on Broadway nearly 60 years, but the story has proved itself as a timeless family favourite. It’s also fittingly poignant given the current state of world affairs. In Broadway Across Canada’s new presentation, all of the colour, frivolity, and real world events are amped up in a full blast production that hits every note in perfect pitch.
Most people associate The Sound of Music to the classic film with iconic stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, so the two leads had massive shoes to fill. On opening night at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, stars Jill-Christine Wiley (Maria) and Mike McLean (Captain Georg von Trapp) both dazzled in equally impressive performances, acting and singing their way through the three hour show without a single misstep. Wiley and McLean’s Maria and von Trapp had magnetic chemistry that was both thrilling and believable to watch.
Even more exciting, the entire troupe of von Trapp children were a sheer delight and added to the show in multiple ways. As all six actors sang, danced, and acted, it was easy to forget you were watching a live musical and almost felt like you were perched on a sofa in the lavish Austrian home. As they made their way through ensemble numbers like “So Long, Farewell” and “Do-Re-Mi”, it was hard not to grin from ear to ear at their infectious presence.
The Sound of Music is really a feast for the senses for both long standing fans as well as newcomers. As someone new to the production, I had no clue just how many of these songs have permeated the pop culture canon. “My Favorite Things” has become a contemporary Christmas perennial favourite, while “The Lonely Goatherd” was given new life in recent years being mixed into a Gwen Stefani single. “Do-Re-Mi” is a classic tune to help children learn piano, and the title song “The Sound of Music” is a cinematic cornerstone.
Hearing all of these songs onstage makes for a hell of a night out at the theatre, particularly when the cast is this stunning across the board. The entire ensemble shines bright, and there isn’t a weak line among them.
Naturally, any Broadway Across Canada production comes with top of the line set design, costume detailing, a pristine live orchestra, and seamless production values. It’s easy to see why The Sound of Music excited audiences decades ago thanks to its sharp storytelling and brilliant songbook. But with a revamped production that reveals breathtaking turns at multiple intervals, its endurance also makes sense. There is really something for everyone packed into this show, and that’s what will keep long term fans interested and continue to expand its ever growing audience.
Broadway Across Canada‘s presentation of The Sound of Music runs September 12 through September 17, 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Performances run Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, Sunday evening 7:30pm with 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
Main image: Jill Christine-Wiley as Maria in The Sound of Music. Photograph by Matthew Murphy.