THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Starring Kendall Anne Thompson, Continues Through August 27

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on July 18, 2011

For a number of years, long after The Sound of Music had closed, a neon sign cradled in a large tin arrow still pointed down toward the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, announcing The Sound of Music. And on rare occasions someone would, by accident I’m sure, flip that switch on 46th Street, west of Broadway, causing it to blink “Mary Martin in…”

My first Broadway show starred Mary Martin in Hello Dolly. It was a national tour, later on, when I went to New York and saw all the lovely ladies who took on the role of Dolly Levi: Carol Channing, Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey and Martha Raye. I had a special admiration for the “Dolly” who took the whole company to Vietnam to perform for the troops. The orchestra opted out for safety reasons, so the production was done with audio tapes. (I know this from meeting the young man who played Barnaby Tucker in that tour.) Due to the uncertainty of consistent electricity from a generator during the performance, some parts of the songs would suddenly slow down or, worse yet, speed up. I’m sure, for the soldiers fortunate enough to witness the first televised Peter Pan, live onstage, seeing Miss Mary (as she was always referred to) must have been an awe-inspiring experience.

However, The Sound of Music did not open to rave reviews, nor did Phantom of the Opera, for that matter. But, for both, word of mouth caused them to become Broadway phenomena, garnering long runs on Broadway and phenomenal films. But film and Broadway notwithstanding, nothing compares with seeing The Sound of Music live onstage.

I saw a production of The Sound of Music at Rossview High a few years ago, and I was touched and moved, as I always am, by its simple but well-told family story of children just wanting to be children under the strict tutelage of an unhappy widower, until a young woman comes in to change everything, even herself.

Kendall Anne Thompson, the most talented of young actresses ever to grace our stage — who has the voice to match my musical favorite, Joylene Taylor, and the acting chops of my favorite actress, Leslie Greene — performs for the first time the part of Maria, which has become a signature role for so many young leading ladies. Joining Kendall are Bryan Benware, Ryan Bowie, Hannah Church, Brianna Fuller, Erica Lee Haines, Erin Keas, Matthew Kurtz, Amanda Morgan, Joylene Taylor, Heather Trabucco and Christopher Wren.

Planters Bank is sponsoring our production of The Sound of Music. This Wednesday, July 20, at 7pm, we are holding another “fun”raiser, a singalong and costume contest with comestibles in the lobby. Tickets are $30, and each audience member will walk away with a free autographed poster.

The Sound of Music, which opened on Friday, runs through August 27, playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with 2pm matinees on Saturday, July 23 and August 6.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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