Let’s start at the very beginning …

Let’s start at the very beginning …

‘The Sound of Music’ lives on … and you can sing along!

By Brian P. Sharp

 Photo: “Sing-a-long-a-Sound of Music” at Kuss Auditorium on Jan. 25 is part of a worldwide phenomenon where attendees dress in costume

Certainly there has been a lot of discussion about “The Sound of Music” lately with the NBC production that brought both criticism and praise. While I will discuss that briefly, that is not what this article is about. This is about the 2013-2014 Springfield Arts Council “Sing-a-long-a-Sound of Music” on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Kuss Auditorium. If this sing-along is anything like the sing-along for “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Human Race Theatre Company a few weeks ago, it will be a HUGE success!

Now, for the two of you reading this and asking, “What is ‘The Sound of Music?’” “The Sound of Music” was originally a Broadway musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, which opened in 1959. This musical was based on the book “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria von Trapp. The musical opened starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. Six years after the Broadway success, the musical was adapted into a film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer – winning five academy awards.

While the Broadway show has seen many productions and revivals, it still remains a classic. So much so that NBC decided to show a live theater version during the holidays. That production starred Carrie Underwood in the role of Maria and Audra McDonald as the Mother Abbess. Certainly, I had to be one of the worst critics of the production. The sound was horrific! The set not well made. The voices many times were mediocre. The acting, terrible! The costumes not appropriate to the period. The nuns’ habits not appropriate to the order. I burnt up my cell phone posting my criticisms on Facebook throughout the performance. Did I mention that the sound was bad? As the dust has settled from that night, however, I have had some time to think. First, Carrie Underwood is a singer, not an actress. I needed to be a bit easier on her. Most importantly, 18 million people watched the show – that speaks not only the love of the show, but also to the opportunity this allowed for people who may have never seen a real theater production to see one on television. So, no matter what I thought of the costumes, set, acting, etc., it did allow people to have a new, and possibly first, view of live theater. That can never be a bad thing. So, I stand corrected in my snooty criticisms of the show. It was a great thing for NBC to bring theater to life on the television.

OK, enough about that …

So, what is this sing-along? Well, it is not a theatrical production, though there will be some theatrics going on. This is actually a sing-along to the movie version. It does, however, give you the opportunity, if you have ever wanted to be part of a production, to do just that. This is sure to be an evening of fun. You will be given a package as you arrive. You will take your seats and be given a vocal warm up by the host for the evening. The package you receive is called a “magic moments package,” containing props that will be used throughout the show. There is also a “fancy dress” competition or costume contest. Some ideas are to dress as a nun (men or women), put your kids in white dresses with blue satin sashes, come as a lonely goatherd or even as a ray of golden sun. The important thing is to come and have fun. Costumes aren’t necessary but would certainly add to the fun.

These sing-alongs have become wildly popular and are selling out houses around the globe. This should be no different. This one is also a fundraiser for The Springfield Arts Council. What an incredible way to support that arts and have an evening of fun! While this is fun for the entire family, this is a 4-hour event. It may be tough for little ones.

For those of us that know the theater show and the movie, there are a couple differences.

In the movie, there are the additions of a couple songs. You know these already, so come and sing along to songs like “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things” and “Lonely Goatherd,” as well as the title song. These are timeless classics and whether you have a well-trained voice or just sound amazing in the shower or car, you can be a part of this great event!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to know the words. There are subtitles to help you along. Don’t forget to dress for the occasion!

 

The Springfield Arts Council presents “Sing-a-long-a-Sound of Music” on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Kuss Auditorium, Clark State Performing Arts Center 300 S. Fountain Ave. in Springfield. For tickets, please call 937.328.3874 or visit springfieldartscouncil.org.

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

 

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