The Poteet Theatre's “The Sound of Music” is an endearing production admirably rendered by an extremely talented cast and solid direction. Angela Prock's direction uses many elements from the familiar movie, moments that are recognizable and comfortable for the audience. Using signature moves from the film on an almost empty stage is a reach but this feeling is soon left behind.
Rodgers & Hammerstein's original stage show is constructed differently from the movie and includes additional music. The audience quickly loses any sense that it is merely seeing a staged copy of the film.
Maria and Captain von Trapp are well performed by Kristen Fitzgerald and Rob May. The latter's voice is not as powerful as those of the other singers, but his voice and acting skills successfully convey the emotion of the captain's transition from wounded widower to awakened father, and then to a man in love who needs to protect his family. Fitzgerald carries the bright, loving spirit of Maria on her sweet and powerful voice.
The young people in the show are double cast. Opening night performers were Sean Burroughs as Rolf, Brenna Noble as Liesl, Alex Fulmer as Friedrich, Jacie Buben as Louisa, Sam Markmiller as Kurt, Maisy John as Brigitta, Hallie Hunt as Marta and Rinn Kersh as Gretl. These talented young performers captured the audience's hearts and complemented the adult innocence of Maria and the more complex emotions of the captain.
James Gordon was engagingly self-centered as Max Detweiler, looking for a musical act to enhance his own career. As Elsa, Evan Tims provided an almost smarmy sophistication in her pursuit of the captain, serving as a foil for Maria's more honest and artless love.
The nun's choir, a lovely combination of voices, delivered a rich vocal prologue and epilogue. Paula Parkhust as the Mother Abbess, who must tackle an operatic solo, struggled just a little, but nonetheless delivered an affecting performance.
Prock uses the confined space with functional creativity. From Nonnberg Abbey to the slightly creepy discomfort of having a Nazi storm trooper “guarding” the end of the row, the audience is embraced by the action and the story. This involvement stops short of inviting the audience to join in singing during the “contest” — although that might also work.
On the back of the stage wall, muralists Randall Nix and Laurie Ayers-Polk have brought the magnificent Austrian Alps to life, placing the show and creating a sense of airiness in the tight confines of the Poteet stage.
The uncredited set designer has made good use of the pillars that are a permanent reality in the Poteet. The revolving set itself, while clever and effective, is also noisy to manipulate, which can be distracting.
— Anna Holloway