A Warm and Wonderful “Sound of Music” at the New Wick Theatre
By Skip Sheffield
For its inaugural show, Wick Theatre presents one of the most beloved musicals of all time, “The Sound of Music,” through Oct. 20 at the former Caldwell Theatre Company facility at
7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton.
This 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic (their last collaboration before Hammerstein’s death) could be called a “safe choice,” but there is a downside to that. “Sound of Music” has been performed so many times by so many groups and in so many different ways it had better be a good production, or suffer by comparison.
Happily Wick’s “Sound of Music” is a wonderful production. The show is anchored by the professional husband-and-wife team of Krista Severeid as impetuous young postulant Maria and Tony Lawson as the formidable Austrian Navy Capt. Von Trapp. The
production has the added value of an outstanding local performer, Lourelene
Snedeker, as the Mother Abbess.
I have seen two-time Carbonell Award-winning actress Lourelene Snedeker perform many time through the years in a variety of roles in both musicals and straight plays. Never before have I witnessed the level of perfection Ms. Snedeker brought to the wise, compassionate Mother Abbess, who is indeed a mother figure to all the nuns in her convent. Ms. Snedeker is a woman of a “certain age” but she sings like a young woman, with thrilling power and range. This is most evident on the score’s perhaps most popular song, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”
Director Michael Ursua (who is also resident musical director) has cast with care the rest of the ensemble, with a fine ear for singing voices. These include the morally ambiguous family friend Max Detweiler, played by Jeffrey Bruce, Palm Beach actress Mia Matthews as Capt. Von Trapp’s ill-suited fiancée Elsa Schraeder, Gail Byer as the protective housekeeper Frau Schmidt, and Joshua S. Roth as Rolf, the suitor of “16 Going on 17” eldest child, Liesel (Kate Hensley).
The real scene-stealers are the adorably dressed-alike younger von Trapp children, with irresistible Alexa Lasanta, 6, as the youngest, tiniest: Gretl.
The sets, by Tom Hansen, are efficiently portable and nicely evocative of the Abbey, the Austrian Alps, the growing Nazi menace and the von Trapp mansion.
The only thing one could wish for would be a live orchestra, but costs and logistics are prohibitive, and the recorded accompaniment by Gerald Michaels works just fine complimenting the voices.
The rebirth of the dormant
Caldwell is a bit of a miracle. I can’t help
but admire producer Marilynn Wick and her daughters Kimberly and Stacey for
taking on this considerable challenge. It’s a win-win situation for audiences
who crave good old-fashioned musical theater.
Single tickets are $58. Matinees are at 2 p.m. and evenings are 7:30 p.m. Call 561-995-2333 or go to www.thewick.org.