March 7, 2014

‘The Sound of Music’ at Carmel Christian School

The hills come alive again with harmony that’s still appealing.

I was charmed by Carmel Christian School’s production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “The Sound of Music.” It tells of Maria von Trapp, the nun in training who leaves her convent to take care of a musically talented family during World War II.

The musical has been told countless times, but it is an important, poignant piece that teaches the virtues of love and solidarity. The gifted cast and crew of this sweet retelling were able to captivate the sold-

out audience as if it were the first time we were experiencing this sensational story.

Ashlyn Uribe gave a moving performance as Maria, missing not a single word or note. Her nearly flawless vocals and honest portrayal of the character whisked us away to the Austrian hills. Greyson Wade grew into the character of Captain von Trapp over the course of the production.

Every actor in the ensemble had clear motivation and purpose. Ryan Alderman gave an endearing, witty performance as music director Max; Domenica Coka awed the audience as the Abbess with her ethereal rendition of “Climb Every Mountain.” Choreography was well executed and well planned, and the theater was frequently filled with beautiful, intricate harmony; “The Lonely Goatherd” was as charming as could be.

The use of special effects, especially lighting choices, was limited yet effective. During the thunderstorm scene, soft golden flashes lit the stage; the storm was handled gracefully, which is uncommon in the theater. There were minor issues with sound: Some performers seemed to rely heavily on microphones and spoke or sang too softly. They could have put characters across better if they had projected more loudly. Also, the pace was a bit slow during scene changes. However, the gleeful energy of the cast always kept the audience entertained.

Director Kay Brinkley used the whole space effectively. The audience was part of the action from time to time, as dancing partygoers, praying nuns and vigilant Nazis traversed the aisles. The most interesting use of this technique came during the festival scene, as the play’s audience became the festival’s audience and was immersed into the show.

The set was impressive without distracting attention. A colossal staircase, ornate sofa and chandelier that descended from the ceiling set the scene for the von Trapps’ lavish living room. Brinkley proved her talent as a director in the closing scene: As the family began its journey over the mountains, Maria and Gretel turned to fondly wave goodbye to the nuns below who had given them shelter. The sincerity of the scene left the audience with a sense of hope that lingered long after the curtains closed.

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