Wednesday, December 25, 2013

STAGE REVIEW: The Sound of Music (Henegar Center / Melbourne, FL - 12.22.13)

Henegar Center / Melbourne, FL 

I enjoyed many wonderful 
live stage productions 
over the last 12 months. 
And I wrapped up the
year with a tremendous 
treat — one of my true
highlights of 2013!

Christmastime 2013: An über-talented troupe of actors, actresses and production staff commandeer the fabulous Henegar Center for the Arts in Melbourne, Florida and prepare for a major stage production — an incredible two-week run, recreating the timeless Rodgers and Hammerstein  musical, The Sound of Music.

Under the experienced direction of Joan Taddie, the production offered an array of surprises for longtime fans of the Oscar-winning 1965 film, as this version remained true to the 1959 Broadway adaptation of the original book by Howard Lindsay and  Russel Crouse.

Mikayla Goetz and Connie Lyon Browning 
(Photos: Michelle Wilson)
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Austrian mountains at the dawn of World War II, The Sound of Music  tells the story that we all know and love. Maria Rainer, a young aspiring nun, is sent from her Abbey to work for the straight-laced widower, Captain von Trapp, and serve as governess for his seven precocious children. Along the way, Maria introduces the family to a life of love, laughter and (iconic) music.

The production graced the Henegar stage from December 6-22 and I was fortunate to attend the final showing — a matinee performance on a sunny Sunday afternoon. And it made for a fabulous family holiday experience.

Mikayla Goetz as Maria and
Jack Maloney as Captain von Trapp
As I've written countless times over the years, I'm ever-amazed by the unlimited talent on Florida's Space Coast and The Sound of Music cast and crew only substantiates my past claims.

Stand-out performances included Mikayla Goetz and Jack Maloney in the starring roles of Maria and Captain von Trapp. Props also are due Terrence Girard as the von Trapp family friend "Uncle" Max Detweiler, Vanessa E. Jara as the Captain's would-be wife Elsa Schraeder and Connie Lyon Browning  as the Mother Abbess.

Judith Anne Reese as Liesl von Trapp 
and Daniel Grest as Rolf Gruber
While all of the show's seasoned actors certainly delivered powerful performances, the real icing on my cake was the engaging adult-caliber performances from the younger cast members. Portraying the von Trapp children, Judith Anne Reese, Chad White, Kylee Rose Brandon, Jonathan Gould, Sade' Matheny, Norah Campbell and Sydney Jensen all were sheer delights to watch.

The Sound of Music's young cast 
members were consummate pros.
I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge a few of the talented professionals whose contributions played out behind the scenes — Orchestra Director: Mark Nelson, Vocal Director: Daniel Klintworth, Set / Lighting Design: David McQuillen Robertson and Stage Manager: Judy Lee.

For me, the venue plays a key role in the theater experience. And in that regard, I'd like to extend my personal compliments to the staff at the Henegar Center. Built in 1919, the 500-seat theater is a Melbourne historical treasure and offers a first-class, intimate atmosphere with state-of-the-art sound and lighting. Upcoming Henegar live stage productions include Ain't Misbehavin' (January 14th - February 2nd), Monty Python's Spamalot (March 14th - 30th) and 9 to 5 (May 2nd - 18th). Stay up to date with Henegar Center happening by visiting their official website.

In sum, from the cast to the crew to the staging, The Sound of Music was a world-class production. And I look forward to enjoying future theatrical work from all who were involved. BRAVO!

-Christopher Long
(December 2013)

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1 comment:

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