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The Sound of Music

Music:Richard Rodgers
Lyrics:Oscar Hammerstein II
Book:Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by:The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
Director:Susan H. Schulman
Musical Director:Michael Rafter
Choreography:Michael Lichtefeld
Sets:Heidi Ettinger
Costumes:Catherine Zuber
Lighting:Paul Gallo
Sound:Tony Meola
Opened:3/98 at the Martin Beck Theater
Cast:Rebecca Luker, Michael Siberry, Patti Cohenour, Andrea Bowen, Natalie Hall, Ryan Hopkins, Sara Zelle, Tracy Alison Walsh, Matthew Ballinger, Ashley Rose Orr, Dashiell Eaves, Jan Maxwell and Fred Applegate

The hills are once again alive with you-know-what. Yes, Rodgers and Hammerstein's much-roasted chestnut returns to Broadway, the first revival since Mary Martin played the virginal, tuneful Maria in 1959. The story is well known: a cold widower hires a novice nun as governess to his seven children. She wins their hearts and melts his by pulling out the perfect lyrical ditty when things get rough. Despite our more cynical times, all of the original treacle oozes forth, and the backdrop of Nazism — the story takes place in Austria during the Anschluss — emerges only here and there as a contrast to the untouchable virtue of Maria and her brood. The set is surprisingly unlush, with giant snow globes dominating the production's look to underscore the otherworldliness of the story. Wisely, Rebecca Luker aims to make Maria her own, and only subtly alludes to Julie Andrews's apotheosis performance in the 1965 film. Her soprano never quavers, but she lacks the earthy sensuality necessary to make us believe she's turning Papa Von Trapp's head. Siberry as Von Trapp passes muster, and the charges are appropriately rosy-cheeked and capricious. The songs still stick in the head, especially the title tune and “My Favorite Things,” but all in all, this musical remains one for the kiddies.