The somber black backdrop of inside an abbey rings with church bells as nuns kneel in line for prayer. It’s a sign that this is a solemn place where silence is revered above all else.
The darkness is pulled away into the wings and we’re taken to the warm Austrian mountainside where our earnest leading lady is perched. Maria opens the show with the iconic lines “The hills are alive with the sound of music” and we begin our journey alongside her in THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Broadway in Chicago Classic on Stage
Set on the brink of World War II, our heroine Maria has her mind set on becoming a nun but her heart and soul are filled with music. Something else calls to her outside the monastery walls. The mother abbess sends Maria to live with Captain Von Trapp and his seven children as their governess hoping to set her mind straight.
As time goes on, we find Maria and the Von Trapp family learning they all need in each other in different ways. There’s family, politics, love, all tensely set as their beloved nation of Austria becomes the backdrop for war.
Relationship Ups and Downs
Based on the real life Von Trapp family, the family is full of wonderful singers. Especially the children and their relationship with Maria. They’re wonderfully charming and so is our leading lady when she starts her journey with them as their governess.
Jill-Christine Wiley comes alive with joy during her first song with the children teaching them the basics of “Do-Re-Mi.” And when there’s a storm raging outside, “The Lonely Goatherd” is another delightful group piece that has us smiling as they yodel over thunder and lightning.
While we are enveloped in the warm family hug as Maria builds relationships with the children, the other relationships seem to pale in comparison. For this writer, other moments with Maria and the Captain, or other adults in the show, didn’t seem as natural or invoke as strong of feeling engagement.
Beautiful Scenery & Songs
There will be no surprises here for lovers of the original musical! All the songs stay true to form and we get all the favorites from “My Favorite Things” to “Edelweiss.” The only thing that seemed amiss-- at least to this audience member-- was the sound level from the orchestra. When the sun comes up on those mountain tops in Austria, the orchestra felt subdued and we miss the grand swell of music that introduces us to this musically focused show.
While the music could pack more of a punch, the scenery for this musical designed by Douglas W. Schmidt is absolutely breathtaking.
The backdrops overlooking the mountains or the lights of the town at night time are stunning. The Von Trapp house is a vision of elegance. Even the abbey with its brooding nature has a few pops with stained glass windows. A beautiful spectacle!
This production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC stays true to form and doesn’t pull any groundbreaking stunts. For those who don’t have an affinity for classic musicals, you can sit this one out. However, if you love the movie or are looking for a charming musical, this one’s for you.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Now through April 15
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7:30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday at 2:00pm
Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices, the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, and online through the Broadway in Chicago website
Photos: Matthew Murphy
Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theatre in Chicago
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski