This past weekend I attended the opening night production of Good Company Players’ The Sound of Music at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in Fresno, CA. Previous to this show, I have seen two other productions of The Sound of Music, as well as the movie. Although the stage version differs from the movie, both are strong musical pieces with a classic tale. Director Dan Pessano has brought this script to a very enjoyable temperature thanks to some great bits with the Von Trapp children, and some excellent casting. The Sound of Music is a sound you will want to hear!
For those who have no idea what this show is all about; The Sound of Music follows Maria (played strongly by a perfectly cast Hanna Nielsen), Captain Von Trapp (played with great dominance, but also a caring warmth in Eric Estep) and his 7 singing children. They are based in Austria, just as the Nazi Regime is invading. Along with the Von Trapps we have two great comic characters in Elsa and Max (played with memorable pizzazz from Heather Price and Gordon Moore) who attempt at converting Captain Von Trapp to seeing things “their” way. Overall, you’re left with a heartwarming family tale that shows how sticking together and having family camaraderie is very important for one’s survival.
The heart and soul of The Sound of Music, in addition to our two adult leads, generally come from two other sources; the Von Trapp children; led by an endearing side love story between the eldest Von Trapp children, Liezl (an endearing Kara Linkowski) and delivery boy turned nazi solider Rolf (an always sweet sounding Tyler Branco, highlighted well in the duet of “16 Going on 17”) and the nuns. The nun ensemble are led by the Mother Abbess (a well acted Cythina Rhodus) and were overall in pretty good voice with all of their hymn singing throughout the evening.
However, none can be more adorable than hearing the 6 younger Von Trapp singing and having their little moments with Maria. Chelsea Newton (Brigitta) and Samuel Linkowski (Kurt) bring some very comedic moments to an all around strong group of Von Trapp children. It is always so refreshing to see a well directed group of kids enjoying themselves on stage and adding a nice spark to what is already a wonderful show.
The technical aspects were in good form for the opening night performance. The lighting helps transfer the story from Von Trapp household, to the Abbey, to a a very dark, pinnacle ending scene between Rolf and the Von Trapps. This production is done well, with kudos to all production staff being well deserved. The Sound of Music plays until the middle of July so there is plenty of time to see the Von Trapps in action. Go see a show!