A beautifully mounted family entertainment.

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 7:00 am By: Morey Storck Source: The Hudson Independent
Beginning on November 16, 1959 and lasting through June 15, 1963, the canyons of Broadway’s theatre district reverberated, once more, with the expressive musical sounds and warm-hearted lyrics of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The Sound of Music, the pairs last hit musical,  ran for 1,443 performances on Broadway and tied with Fiorello! for best musical. It shared the coveted Tony for the 1960 season.

Numerous productions, national tours, international openings and revivals have followed its initial success.  The current, local production, at the Westchester Broadway Theater in Elmsford, will continue through Sunday matinee, August 11, 2013.

The Sound of Music is based, very loosely, on a memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.  It was a perfect theatrical venture for Rodgers and Hammerstein whose work had come to exemplify the rich, compassionate, sweetly personal reach of these masters. Their lush, successful scores were always eminently singable, musical comfort-food. Memorable songs from the production included “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” and the title song “The Sound of Music.” “Edelweiss,” (Austria’s national flower) the beloved folk-like melody, had been thought to be an old Austrian song inserted by Rodgers but was, in fact, part of his original score.

The story is set against the backdrop of the Anschluss, the Nazis takeover of Austria.  Maria, a young, aspiring nun whose love of freedom makes it obvious to her superiors that she is not suited for religious life, soon leaves the abbey. After a request for a governess from Captain Georg von Trapp (a widower) is received by the Mother Abbess, Maria is sent to take care of the captain’s seven unruly children, where she captures their hearts through the sounds of music. Obviously, the plot thickens, love is pursued and lost and then found, the children grow-up very quickly, and a cleverly planned escape to Switzerland is successful.  But, as in every Rodgers and Hammerstein production, the script never gets in the way of the way of the very wonderful music.

We are quickly introduced to the worldwide show-stopping “The Sound of Music” title song sung in the WBT production by Aubrey Sinn as Maria, followed closely by “My Favorite Things,” which Maria sings with Karen Murphy who plays the Mother Abbess.  Ms. Sinn is perfectly cast as Maria, conveying just the right doses of spunk, optimism, and introspection. Aubrey is blessed with a strong, innocent, expressive voice that was clearly appreciated by the full-house audience.  Ms. Murphy has the needed motherly-touch down pat, with just a hint of mother-knows-best in her judgment of Maria, and her strong voice carries the necessary authority and clearity.

The children are something else.  They’re adorable, expressive and talented.  Of course, the popularity of the songs they are given, forgivingly