Like all great musicals, The Sound of Music has exuded a certain magic that makes it special — you can credit the amazing direction, the beautiful milieu, the incredible music, and the story itself. It became so successful due to the amount of love present in it: the love of music, of freedom, of family, and the love between a man and a woman (which – as Reverend Mother wisely reminds us – is holy, too).
Having watched the film repeatedly on the small screen, it was an experience to witness it inside a sophisticated theater in Circuit Makati, at the Samsung Performing Arts Theater. The venue was a good choice for Broadway Asia and GMG Productions to stage this worth-watching Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s masterpiece, which had its last staging in 2020 at The Theatre at Solaire.
The Sound of Music, based on the memoir of Maria Augusta Trapp set in Austria, follows an ebullient postulant who serves as governess to the seven children of the imperious Captain von Trapp, bringing music and joy to the household. However, the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, and Maria and the von Trapp family must make a moral decision.
The recent international tour was worth the visit. The stellar cast included Jill-Christine Wiley as Maria and Trevor Martin as Captain Georg von Trapp, who are both talented and shared their emotions with the audience often. They make the perfect team and possess the very best diction I have heard on a professional stage in a long time.
Trevor Martin was an emotional powerhouse as he did an excellent job portraying the stern, complex, but loving Captain von Trapp. Jill-Christine Wiley’s rendition of Maria felt young and lovely. She sang with clarity the title song “The Sound of Music” and other popular tunes, such as “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” and “The Lonely Goatherd.”
I found the moment touching when the Captain turned over his whistle to Maria when he realized he no longer treats his children and household like a naval battleship. Wiley played her role with justice in her opening scenes and became a loving governess during the story.
This production was star-studded, including the talented Filipino singer-actress Karylle Tatlonghari as Baroness Elsa Schraeder. She portrayed her character with natural elegance, convincing sophistication, and maturity.
Cassi Mikat, who played Mother Abbess, astoundingly delivered “Climb Every Mountain” with passion and made it one of the best hair-raising moments of the show.
Markki Stroem, on the other hand, who portrayed the telegram delivery boy, Rolf Gruber, did captivate the audience with his charms and well-built connection to Lauren O’Brien as Liesl. His rendition of the show tune “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” was enjoyable to watch and listen to. A little bit cheeky to describe, Joshua La Force made Max Detweiler a compelling character with that hilarious personality, obviously distinguished in his performance of “How Love Can Survive” with Tatlonghari. The Von Trapp kids, however, were undeniably witty and quirky and became the center of attention for the scenes they were in.
It was a compelling moment when the large Nazi flags dropped from the ceiling and were used as the backdrop of the Festival concert. There’s nothing more symbolic than seeing a proud Austrian, Captain Von Trapp, sings “Edelweiss” (Austria’s national flower – used as an image of symbolism and loyalty to his country) before he bids farewell to his homeland and runs away with his family to the mountains, instead of reporting to Bremerhaven to assume command in the Army of the Third Reich. This scene is a chilling moment. It was also fascinating at the end of the production, with the Von Trapp children, as they escaped the Nazis after the Anschluss. They were taking a long and arduous journey to reach safety. As the family ascended into the hills of the mountains, my breath was taken away (Finale Ultimo).
The mise-en-scene of the show was extravagant with its minimalist set design and lovely lighting. My favorite set design was the last part of the show when the nuns opened the gate where the Von Trapp family escaped — it was realistic and aesthetic!
The musical appeared different from the film in which Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer starred. “My Favorite Things” was sung in the abbey by Maria and Mother Abbess. In place of that song in the thunderstorm scene, Maria and the kids sang “The Lonely Goatherd” instead. “Edelweiss” was only sung once by the Captain at the concert. Uncle Max and Baroness Schraeder also performed two songs. Not like in the film, they were singing characters, too.
This musical was a perfect show from start to finish and imparted a good lesson to kids and adults alike — a feeling of an incredible sense of joy and love.
Contributed by Rayne Jarabo
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