Climb Every Mountain to Get to “The Sound of Music” at WBT

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 7:00 am By: Christine DiTota Source: The Examiner News

By Christine DiTota: This Tony Award-winning musical vibrates with nostalgia, inspiring audience members to follow their dreams. 

“The Sound of Music,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final musical, evokes memories of childhood. I remember watching the 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Oh, how I dreamed of one day walking down the aisle of a cathedral wearing a wedding train that went on forever. This show has stayed in my mind and heart for decades.

The story centers around Maria, a quirky, aspiring postulant who is sent from the abbey to act as governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven rebellious children. Maria captures the heart of the Captain and they are wed just as the Nazi regime takes over Austria. The family escapes together over the hills into Switzerland.

Rodgers and Hammerstein initiated the golden age of musical theater with a series of hit musicals. And it is the music that takes the driver’s seat of this production. Beloved songs like “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things” and “Maria” are cheerfully sung. The abbey scenes are composed of rich and spiritual music. Karen Murphy’s voice reverberates through the theater in “Climb Every Mountain.” The show’s title song is sung with simplicity and a pleasing innocence by Aubrey Sinn who plays Maria.

The Von Trapp children are just too precious, dressed in play clothes Maria created out of curtains. They are moved around the stage effectively and send us spiraling into laughter as they perform “Do-Re-Me,” “The Lonely Goatherd” and “So Long, Farewell

Michelle Dawson is enchanting as Elsa, the baroness fashioned to marry the Captain. She is joined on stage by the scene stealing, Jamison Stern, who plays Max. This comical duo create two memorable characters that keep us on our toes with their quick wit and excellent timing.

Director and choreographer Jonathan Stahl, a regular at WBT, has assembled a talented cast and delivers all that is expected from this heartwarming musical. He takes extra care in letting the children act like children and not robotically staged small people. He carefully creates a dance moment between Rolf (Cameron Bartell) and Liesl (Molly Emerson) that is exquisite and an equally powerful moment in the final scene when Rolf is forced to choose between his love for Liesl and his commitment to the Nazi party.

The final tableau is touching, as the family is forced to flee from their homeland. The music swells as they walk toward the hills…toward freedom together.

The Westchester Broadway Dinner Theatre, the only venue of its kind in Westchester, has been bringing professional theater to the county for 40 years. Their commitment is commendable.

Parking is free, dinner is delicious and the talent is top notch.
“The Sound of Music” will run through Aug, 11. Dinner and show range from $52 to $80 plus tax depending on performances chosen.  Beverage service and gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students and senior citizens at selected performances.  Also, check the website, www.broadwaytheatre.com, for more on ongoing specials. For reservations or more information, call 914-592-2222