The cast and crew of the Engeman Theater deserved the standing ovation that went on forever after Saturday night’s triumphant performance of “The Sound of Music.” The final collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II became one of the most beloved musicals of all time.
Kayleen Seidl (Maria Rainer)Loosely based on Maria von Trapp’s 1949 memoir, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” the original 1959 Tony-award-winning Broadway production starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, and the 1965 Academy-award-winning film featured Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
The story begins in 1938, right before the Anschluss,the terrifying moment in history when Austria became part of the Third Reich. The plot centers around Maria, a free-spirited Austrian postulant who may possess too much zest for life and passion for music to fit into such a cloistered life. The Mother Abbess instructs Maria to work as a governess while she looks inward and decides if theCaitlin Burke (The Mother Abbess) and Kayleen Seidl (Maria Rainer)convent life is her true calling. Maria’s love for the seven von Trapp children and their widowed father, Captain Georg von Trapp, determines her fate, and she becomes a devoted wife and mother. After the annexation of Austria, rather than serving Hitler’s brutal regime by accepting a commission in the German navy, Captain von Trapp decides to flee Austria with Maria and the children.
The opening number, “Preludium,” sung by the Sisters of the Nonnberg Abbey, sets the tone for this profoundly spiritual musical. Cáitlín Burke as The Mother Abbess, Amanda Hunter-Finch as Sister Berthe, Nicole Weitzman as Sister Margaretta, and Gina Naomi Baez as Sister Sophia displayed their beautiful vocals and astute acting skills throughout the show. Burke delivered a moving rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” This classic song about self-discovery and finding your true mission was one of the show’s highlights.
When Kayleen Seidl belted out the first note of the title song, “The Sound of Music,” the audience instantly fell in love with her. Seidl’s graceful movements, joyful facial expressions, and stellar vocals made her a charming and charismatic Maria.
Kayleen Seidl (Maria Rainer) and the von Trapp Children The talented cast of children, with their strong vocals, dance moves, and acting skills, are all superstars in their own right. Their pitch-perfect rendition of “So Long, Farewell” is worth the price of admission.
The von Trapp Children and Tim Rogan (Captain George von Trapp)Tim Rogan gave an award-worthy performance as the staunch Captain Georg von Trapp. Seidl and Rogan had great onstage chemistry, and their heartfelt duet, “Something Good,” was an audience favorite. Rogan further revealed his breathtaking vocals with his moving version of “Edelweiss,” a musical tribute to Austria.
Matthew Bryan Feld as Max Detweiler and Angel Reda as Elsa Schraeder gave memorable performances as two sophisticated people willing to accommodate the presence of the Third Reich rather than rock the boat and risk the ire of the Nazis.
Laura Park as Leisl von Trapp and Tyler Hecht as Rolf Gruber, two young people experiencing the joy of falling in love, both gave standout performances during “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”
Angel Reda (Elsa Schraeder)This polished-to-perfection production was brilliantly directed and choreographed by Drew Humphrey, and the innovative set design by Kyle Dixon allowed for the many quick set changes the script called for. Dustin Cross’s authentic period costumes added to the show’s overall success.
The incredible ensemble includes Dane Agostinis, Ian Allred, Gina Naomi Baez, Finn Brown, Oliver Cirelli, Claire Daly, Max Desantis, Harrison Drake, Evelyn Engelmann, Tiffany Furicchia, Cassidy Gill, Lauren Gobes, Tyler Hecht, Amanda Hunter-Finch, Christopher Isolano, Kayla Kennedy, Quinn Oliver Lessing, Micaela Maio, Paige Mathers, Sadie Mathers, Sarah Milnamow, Christopher Morrissey, Laura Park, Liam Polani, Layla Turnier, and Nicole Weitzman.
This warm and wonderful show will delight audiences of all ages, so treat the whole family! The show runs through Sunday, July 2, 2023. For a complete show schedule and more information, contact the theater directly at 631-261-2900, visit the box office at 250 Main Street, Northport, or visit www.engemantheater.com.