The city has come alive with the Sound of Music

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The city has come alive with the Sound of Music

Growing up, almost everyone has heard the score of the 1965 classic movie “The Sound of Music,” including such standards as “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss” and “My Favorite Things.” Whether through watching reruns of the film on television or learning the lyrics in elementary school, people have virtually immortalized these songs, which evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia.
But few in Korea seem aware that the musical about the von Trapp family came before the movie, and not the other way around. Since the musical made its debut on Broadway in 1959, it continues to touch the hearts of children and adults everywhere in the world. And even without the breathtaking natural scenery of the Alps shown in the movie, the musical nevertheless evokes the same emotions.
The Broadway version of the musical is being staged at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday, for all those who wish to relive the heartfelt tale of a lively governess turned stepmother of seven children.
While the sequence of the musical is a little different from that of the movie (for example, Maria and the Mother Abbess sing “My Favorite Things” just before Maria is sent off to the von Trapps as a governess), the essence remains the same.
“The heart and soul” of the story, said producer Dallett Norris, “is the wonderful story of Maria coming into a sad and unhappy household and bringing renewed life” to the von Trapp family.
Indeed, in this musical, the children take an almost immediate fondness to their new governess when she arrives, learning songs from her and bonding with her like their own mother.
Maria, played by Jennifer Semrick, brings out genuine affection for the children in her acting, and the children display spirited performances, especially the younger ones.
Despite the apparent cold that the actress playing “Brigitta” appeared to have at a recent performance, the chorus had as much enthusiasm as in the movie, and the cast sang impeccably despite two performances that day.
Although there is a bit of romance with the courtship of the widowed Captain von Trapp and the governess Maria, the story is quintessentially about family: finding a family, becoming a family and expressing togetherness with music in a family.
Captain von Trapp, played by Jim Ballard, is also quite a devoted presence among the children, appearing less stiff than Christopher Plummer did in the movie.
A winner of countless Tony Awards, the original Broadway musical makes its way into Korea after tour performances in China, Taiwan and Japan, with further stops in Malaysia and Singapore.

by Choi Jie-ho

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