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The Sound of Music – John W. Engeman Theater – Theatre Review

One of my favorite things has made its way to Long Island! The Sound of Music premiered on the mainstage at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport this past weekend. Directed by Drew Humphrey and running through July 2nd, this classic musical is sure to entertain!

Based on the lives of the real von Trapp family, the original stage performance won a Tony for Best Musical in 1960. The story then inspired a film version, which touts its own accolades, winning five Oscars—including Best Picture— in 1965. While the characters’ ages and names were altered and the plot was dramatized for effect, the basic “true” story remains. Set in Austria just prior to the Anschlussin 1938, a nun-in-training turned governess falls in love and marries a widowed Captain; they love their home and country, but are compelled to flee when the Captain is pressured to take a position in the German Navy.

From the very opening number this performance will have you enchanted. Kyle Dixon’s gorgeous set design creates the perfect ambience for a tale equal parts love and loss. Cáitlín Burke plays The Mother Abbess flawlessly; her demeanor is both authoritative and amiable, and her vocal range is truly impressive. Just wait until her final song— I could hear the gasps of awe in the audience as she hit her final note! The von Trapps are equally enthralling; Tim Rogan’s Captain is both admirable and winsome, while his children are delightfully endearing. Laura Park’s Liesl was lovely, Liam Polani’s Friedrich was enthusiastic, and Cassidy Gill’s Louisa was lovably precocious. Finn Brown charmed as Kurt, Kayla Kennedy captivated the audience as the astutely opinionated Brigitta, and Claire Daly was adorable as the enigmatic Marta. Last, Micaela Maio stole the show at times with her too-cute-for-words Gretl. Elsa— the poised and prim fiancée of Captain von Trapp— is played by the incomparable Angel Reda; her portrayal was perfection. It offered a delightful juxtaposition to the jaunty jokester, Max Detweiler, played by Matthew Bryan Feld. Feld’s performance infused welcome moments of humor in a plot shrouded by internal and external conflict.

And, of course, there was the effervescent and angelic Maria Rainer. Kayleen Seidl’s version of this famous character was pure joy. Her beautiful tone of voice matched the famous songs we all know so well, all while making them feel playful and new.

The von Trapp Children and Tim Rogan (Captain George von Trapp). Photo credit John W. Engeman Theater. The Theatre Guide.

Whether you know the show or not, you will surely enjoy the fruits of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final collaboration. I loved the nostalgia of songs like “Do Re Mi” and “The Sound of Music,” while also enjoying the experience with my son who was hearing it all for the first time. This beloved show is a must see for all ages!

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