Venice Theatre is alive with The Sound of Music.
By Kay Kipling
Just when you thought you couldn’t stand to see The Sound of Music one more time, along comes a production that makes it pleasant to watch again.
Not that Venice Theatre’s production of this classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical offers anything new or unusual, or even that outstanding. No, it’s just the realization that for most if not all of the people onstage, this is the first time they’ve been in the show—and their energy and spirit convince you to come along for the ride.
Alyssa Marie Hunek and Joseph Giglia in Venice Theatre’s The Sound of Music.
Take for example Alyssa Marie Hunek in the pivotal role of postulant-turned-governess Maria, who arrives at the Von Trapp home fresh from the convent to bring music and love to the family once more. Hunek is not yet a polished presence on stage, but she looks like she could be a young Austrian girl of the 1930s, with a healthy, rosy bloom and a voice that soars when it needs to. She also has a nice rapport with all the actors playing the Von Trapp children, and hearing the well-known Do-Re-Mi number done here reminds you what an act of simple genius it was on the part of the composer to create this as both a personal and a musical introduction for the characters.
Or take Emily Mounce and Will Betterton as young couple Liesl and Rolf. Again, for them it’s the first time they’re telling this story of forbidden courtship, and when they do Sixteen Going on Seventeen it’s charming even if you’ve heard it a hundred times before.
Even the growing spark between Maria and her employer, the stiffish Captain (Joseph Giglia), works better here than some times I’ve seen it, for it truly does seem like a surprise to each as they gradually discover an attraction they would never have expected.
Of course this is a community theater production, and that’s both its strength and its weakness, in a way. Not everyone in the ensemble—nuns, party guests, servants, etc.—seems comfortable or confident, but Laurie Colton and Bob Miller add some liveliness and sophistication as worldly outsiders Elsa and Max. Overall, this Sound succeeds well enough for R&H fans.
The Sound of Music continues through March 15; for tickets call 488-1115 or go to venicestage.com.