BY JENNA FANELLI
When it comes to legendary pieces, the goal (and the massive challenge) is always to achieve storytelling justice. The Sound of Music is certainly no exception, and the cast and crew of the production currently running at the CM Performing Arts Center directed by Jordan Hue are valiant in their efforts to execute this beloved and timeless icon. While everyone in the cast holds their own, Maria (Katie Ferretti) and the adorable, equally talented and lively von Trapp children truly breathe life into this take on the seminal classic.
Based on Maria von Trapp’s 1949 memoir, the stage musical production of The Sound of Music boasts culturally-ingrained music and lyrics by Richard Rodger and Oscar Hammerstein II, respectively, with a book written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The original Broadway production opened in 1959 and won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. A few years later in 1965, the musical adaptation starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer took the world by storm and won five Academy Awards including Best Picture. The story follows Maria on her journey from a nunnery where she doesn’t quite fit in, to the home of the von Trapp family, where she revitalizes the lives of Captain von Trapp and his seven children.
Ferretti makes Maria’s journey of self-discovery pure and authentic, and she truly embodies the warmth, tenderness and delightful vocal stylings that made Julie Andrews‘ portrayal of the character such a staple. I would even dare to say that based on vocals alone, the balanced, full, strong yet operatic tone of Ferretti’s voice rivals that of Andrews.
Ferretti’s Maria never loses her integrity, conviction or, even in the moments when she is most unsure of herself, the lively spirit that lets audiences relate to the way all of the von Trapps gravitate toward her. With that said, she clearly grows increasingly confident and strong throughout the story’s arc, especially when challenged with the complex feelings she develops for the captain (Steve Corbellini). Ferretti is the perfect maternal figure, confidant and pillar of support for the family, whose dynamic is so evidently fractured when they are first introduced. It becomes more evident throughout the show that Maria is in fact their missing puzzle piece.
There is no weak link amongst the children, either, as they more than meet the demanding musicality and movement, including the spirited, appropriately-stylized choreography by Dana McDonald. The kids mesh well as a group of siblings, often teasing but always looking out in the best interest of one another. They garner sympathy at first since they are living under a strict regime-like childhood, gradually blossoming into their own unique personalities.
Liesl (Courtney O’Shea) stands out as the eldest daughter who is understandably wary of Maria’s presence but ultimately comes to love and trust her. She also eventually takes on more of a leadership role for her young sisters and brothers, and her personal, turbulent and heartbreaking experience with young love is deeply felt. Other standout performances include Ronnie Green‘s personable, energetic, and comedic portrayal of Max Detweiler, as well as Emily Nadler‘s fiercely powerful voice and firm-yet-endearing portrayal of The Mother Abbess.
Timely costuming by Ronald R. Green III rounds everything out so that by the end of the show, audiences are left feeling serenely nostalgic, satisfied with the development of the characters and implied destiny of the family. And yes, these songs endure, and will still make audiences’ hearts sing decades after imprinting on the world.
Link to Review: https://www.broadwayworld.com/long-island/article/Review-THE-SOUND-OF-MUSIC-at-CM-Performing-Arts-Center-20230405