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‘The Sound of Music’ at LaComedia

 By Brian P. Sharp

Photo: “The Sound of Music” runs at LaComedia Dinner Theatre in Springboro through June 30

“The Sound of Music” takes the stage at LaComedia. The last collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein is produced in robust style. This timeless classic never ceases to fill a house with patrons that can sing along with some of the familiar tunes like “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do Re Mi,” “Climb Every Mountain” and the title song, “The Sound of Music.”

We embark on the journey of Maria Rainer as she leaves the convent to govern the seven children of the widower Captain Georg Von Trapp. Maria is able to bring music back into their lives amid the tension just before World War II. Venturing away from the original script, two songs – “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good” – have been added.  These two songs are best known from the movie version of “The Sound of Music.”

“The Sound of Music” is a classical piece of theater. No one expects the show to be quick, yet the pacing seemed rushed at times and at other times optional scenes have been used to fill space. The set – designed by Joe Leonard – is involved and cumbersome for scenic changes. Pieces of the set were outstanding – Mother Abbess’ office, the cloistered Cathedral and the Abbey. The lighting design – by Geoffrey D. Fishburn – was well done. Music Director Becky Barrett-Jones did a great job with recorded music.

Certainly, there were some stand-outs in the cast. Michael Karraker brings great comedic timing to the role of Max Detweiller. Karraker has a presence on the stage. Often partnered with Karraker is Helen A. Raymond-Goers in the role of Elsa Schraeder. Raymond-Goers is believable in the role of the Baroness. She is a great balance for both Karraker and Chris Kramer, who plays Captain Von Trapp. Sam Harvey in the role of Rolf Gruber is spot on in his portrayal of the young delivery boy, who in the end acts from his heart.

The Von Trapp children are double cast. There is the “Captain Cast” and the “Maria Cast.” The Captain cast includes Amanda Kingrey as Gretl, Gracie Adkins as Marta, Olivia Weiss as Brigitta, Grant Lenski as Kurt, Jordan Collins as Louisa and Ben Kneblik as Friedrich. Kneblik appeared in the Dayton Playhouse version of “The Sound of Music” in the role of Kurt. It’s fun to see him growing up into new roles, and he always delivers a strong performance. What’s next Ben – Rolf? The Maria cast includes Ashley Ortel as Gretl, Cleo Runge as Marta, Abbey Fry as Brigitta, Louis Beckmeyer as Kurt, Maddie Land as Louisa and Harris Beckmeyer as Friedrich. With both groups, Sarah Smith plays Liesl and is well cast as the oldest child.

The story of the Von Trapp family has been changed a bit for the musical. The real Georg Von Trapp did live with his family in a suburb of Salzburg. Maria was sent to the family to tutor one of the children. The story was changed to imply that Maria was sent in to take care of all of the children. Names and ages were also changed. While the Captain did marry Maria, they spent several years in Austria after the marriage. The Captain was offered a position in the German Navy. The family actually left Austria and went first to Italy, then to London, and on to the United States where some of the family remains today.

Don’t forget, before every show you will enjoy LaComedia’s buffet featuring chef-carved meats and favorites from “The Sound of Music” region like German potato salad and pork schnitzel. Enjoy an entertaining evening that really is one of the best values around featuring dinner and a show.

The bottom line is that even if you have seen “The Sound of Music” before, it is still a timeless classic and this is a good production worth the 20-minute trip from downtown Dayton.

“The Sound of Music” runs through June 30, 2013 at LaComedia Dinner Theatre, 765 W. Central Avenue in Springboro. Adult tickets range in price from $55-$71. Call 937-746-4554 or 1-800-677-9505 or visit lacomedia.com for tickets. 

Reach DCP theatre critic Brian P. Sharp at Theatre@DaytonCityPaper.com

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Reach DCP food critic Brian P. Sharp at BrianSharp@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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