The hall came alive with The Sound of Music on Friday.
The kids, the adults, the nuns, the Nazis, the sets, the lovely live 11-piece band in the pit all contributed to a big hit for the NETworks Presentations touring production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's much-beloved musical, onstage through the weekend at Little Rock's Robinson Center Performance Hall.
Jill-Christine Wiley owns the lead role of wild-child novice nun Maria Rainer, whom her Mother Abbess (operatically vibrato-ed by Lauren Kidwell) sends on an "interim" assignment as governess to the seven children of a strict Austrian naval officer (a fine job by Mike McLean as Captain Georg von Trapp) so she can decide whether God wants her to spend her love in a cloister or on a family.
Lauren O'Brien as oldest daughter Liesl, "16 going on 17," was among the brightest spots in the stellar cast, followed in no particular order by her "siblings" -- Ethan Douglas Cutillo (Kurt), Edward Turner (Friedrich), Riley O'Kane (Marta), Jenna Seasholtz (Louisa), and especially Emily Strugatsky (painfully honest Brigitta), Quinn Titcomb (adorable little Gretl).
Hunter Brown dominated his scenes as teenage telegraph-boy-turned-storm trooper Rolf Gruber. Jake Mills was an enjoyably annoying apolitical impresario Max Detweiler; Kate Turner had a good turn as Georg's erstwhile love interest, Elsa Schraeder.
The staging was surprisingly good, with very little "park and bark" singing and including the killer wedding scene. Costumes and set -- minus the master staircase, which was missing, a casualty of a windstorm that toppled one of the tour trucks -- were very impressive.
Robinson, West Markham Street and Broadway, will again come alive with The Sound of Music at 2 and 7:30 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Sunday. Ticket information is available by calling (800) 745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.
Metro on 05/25/2019