Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School's rendition of The Sound of Music transported the audience from Chestnut Hill to the hills of Austria this past weekend.
Since its debut on Broadway in 1959 and on the silver screen in 1965, Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music has been a timeless favorite with viewers worldwide. Based on a true story, the musical tells the story of Maria, a young Austrian postulant who leaves the abbey to become a governess to the seven children of widowed naval captain Georg von Trapp. Maria brings music and joy back to the household – and finds love herself with Captain von Trapp – but the imminent invasion of Hitler's troops threatens the family's newfound happiness.
As Maria in Chestnut Hill's production, Natalie Smith certainly had the "Confidence" her character professed, while Alex Yang played Captain von Trapp with mature stage presence and a practiced curtness befitting the role. Both leads exhibited strong vocals, and their duet "Something Good" was especially touching.
The seven von Trapp children portrayed a convincing family, exuding affection and excitement. Humorous and true to her character, Mallie Sanford in particular excelled as the observant and frank sister Brigitta. Zoe Greenberg also delivered a standout performance as Baroness Schraeder. She flirted with Captain von Trapp with cool flair yet showed remarkable grace as she admitted that he belonged with another woman.
The musical was anchored by outstanding technical elements. The rich supply of costumes, chosen by Hilary McDonnell and Shelby Green, and the elaborate scenery, designed by Julia Stepanuk and Charlie Frank, adroitly recreated the Austrian setting onstage. The lighting, operated by Olivia Mihalich and Gordon Anthony, mimicked the sunlit mountains and the solemn interior of the abbey.
With its memorable melodies and uplifting story, The Sound of Music has enchanted millions, and Chestnut Hill's production continued this tradition. Though some lines were delivered with insufficient expression, the show's heartwarming mood shone through. The audience walked out of the performance humming, inspired anew to "climb every mountain. . .'til you find your dream."