LOGAN – It’s no surprise that the ongoing production of “The Sound of Music” at the Ellen Eccles Theatre here has all the performing arts strengths that local audiences have come to expect from a Music Theatre West show.
Those assets include brilliant live orchestration, outstanding vocal performances, top-notch acting, lavish sets and finely executed choreography.
As the final stage masterpiece crafted by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, “The Sound of Music” is probably the most familiar and sweetly traditional musical in the entire Broadway cannon.
Again, there are no surprises here. This show is everything you expect to see, performed superbly.
As postulant nun turned reluctant governess Maria Ranier, Jamie Younker’s vocal performance is perhaps a little less operatic than many of her predecessors in that role. Instead, her singing is spontaneous and heartfelt, capturing the same qualities that Julie Andrews displayed in the beloved 1965 film version of this musical.
Ms. Younker shares the stage with Trenton Bateman as Capt. Georg von Trapp. Bateman is perfect as the stuffed-shirt widower whose heart is gradually melted by the rekindled love of his children. The chemistry between Ms. Younker and Bateman in their duets is touching.
As usual, the MTW artistic staff have found and masterfully coached a winning group of young actors who appear as the seven von Trapp children. Their acting is thoroughly convincing and natural, while their vocal harmonies are lovely.
Kudos to Elena Shill, Spencer Needham, Alivia Oldham, Pearson Needham, Charity Tait, Ella Tait and Brooklyn Peterson in those roles. They steal the show.
The same can be said of the impressive choral performances of the women playing the nuns of the Nonnberg Abby. That ensemble is led by Susan Haderlie as the Mother Abbess, who also delivers a powerful rendition of the musical’s anthem “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”
Other stand-outs vocalists in the chorus of nuns include Jessica Mohammed, Meredith Ashcroft and Lindsey Kelstrom.
Much needed comedy relief is amusingly supplied by Jared Rounds as the opportunistic Max Detwieler.
There isn’t a great deal of choreography in “The Sound of Music” — just a typically European-style waltz, a dance duet by Ms. Shill and Alex Lambert while singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and a traditional Austrian Laendler performed by Ms. Younker and Bateman. But what dancing there is in the musical is performed charmingly.
The production’s jack of all trades is MTW veteran Jay Richards, who spread himself thin as director, conductor and set designer/builder.
Additional evening performances of “The Sound of Music” are slated at the Eccles Theatre in downtown Logan on Sept. 18, 20, 23, 24 and 25.
A matinee performance of the musical is also scheduled for Sept. 25.