Performing Arts Weekly 12.29.2016
The Sound of Music
@ Uihlein Hall, Jan. 3-8
With a fact-based plot that tells of triumph over adversity and perseverance in the face of encroaching danger, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s The Sound of Music is perhaps the best-known and most-beloved musical of all time. Unlike some musicals—quite decent ones, at that—with maybe one “big song,” The Sound of Music’s score is filled with timeless numbers known even to those who’ve never actually seen the show. “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss” and the soaring “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” highlight this musical’s score; they appear with regularity throughout the storytelling.
Milwaukee’s Marcus Center for the Performing Arts hosts a lavish new production of The Sound of Music this January, directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien, currently touring across the country with a fine cast. Ben Davis, Broadway lead actor in such productions as Violet, A Little Night Music and La Bohème, will play Captain Georg von Trapp.
Charlotte Maltby (daughter of writer and director Richard Maltby Jr.) is here making her national tour debut in the central role of Maria. “I was privileged to actually see Mary Martin in the original production,” recalls O’Brien. “She was both brilliant and 46 years old. But in reading it privately, something caught my eye. Maria is probably no more than six or seven years older than Liesl!” That eye-catching moment led O’Brien to look for a younger actress for Maria who is not “an established star,” but rather “someone with star-making magic.” That vision brought him to hire Maltby. (John Jahn)