Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Sound of Music
National Tour
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's review of How I Learned What I Learned

Charlotte Maltby, Nicholas Rodriguez, and Cast
Photo by Jeremy Daniel
The recent Lincoln Center revivals (and subsequent tours) of South Pacific and The King and I prove that audiences will always cherish quality productions of the musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The touring production of The Sound of Music now in the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington does not quite rise to that level, but Tony Award-winning director Jack O'Brien has staged it with sensitivity and an accomplished cast.

Between the Oscar-winning film version from 1965 and the more recent live television version, The Sound of Music is universally familiar. Charlotte Maltby brings youth, buoyancy, and boundless energy to her portrayal of Maria, demonstrating from her first audience with the Mother Abbess (Melody Betts, wise and an impeccable singer) that this young woman is not meant for a life of prayer and contemplation. She achieves an immediate connection with the seven von Trapp children and has enough inner strength to stand up to their father, even if he is a war hero.

Nicholas Rodriguez, familiar to Washington audiences from his lead roles in Oklahoma! and Carousel at Arena Stage, plays Captain von Trapp not as an authoritarian so much, but as a man who has been hurt by life and wants to protect himself from further pain. Once he gets used to the presence of music in his home (and the radiance of Maria), he comes around quickly and reveals his own rich, ringing voice.

Merwin Foard steals his scenes as Max Detweiler, a charming Austrian who will collaborate with the Nazi invaders if that's what it takes to survive, and Teri Hansen makes Elsa Schraeder less an antagonist to Maria and more a woman whose goals ultimately don't match those of the von Trapp family. The children are adorable.

This production, which did not originate on Broadway, has a serviceable scenic design by Douglas W. Schmidt. The hills are a painted backdrop, the walls are latticework—but there's a jolting moment late in the show that brings home the impact of the Nazi invasion of Austria.

Kennedy Center
The Sound of Music
June 13th - July 16th, 2017
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
The Mother Abbess: Melody Betts
Maria Rainer, a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey: Charlotte Maltby
Sister Berthe, Mistress of Novices: Carey Rebecca Brown
Sister Margaretta, Mistress of Postulants: Julia Osborne
Sister Sophia: Anna Mintzer
Captain Georg von Trapp: Nicholas Rodriguez
Franz, the butler; Darren Matthias
Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper: Donna Garner
Children of Captain von Trapp:
Liesl: Paige Silvester
Friedrich: Elliot Weaver
Louisa: Stephanie de Fiore
Kurt: James Bernard
Brigitta: Dakota Riley Quackenbush
Marta: Taylor Coleman
Gretl: Anika Lore Hatch
Rolf Gruber: Austin Colby
Elsa Schraeder: Teri Hansen
Ursula: Emily Trumble
Max Detweiler: Merwin Foard
Herr Zeller: Robert Mammana
Baron Elberfeld: Mark Bradley Miller
Baroness Elberfeld: Rebecca Pitcher
A New Postulant: Emily Trumble
Admiral von Schreiber: Christopher Carl
Neighbors of Captain von Trapp, Nuns, Novices, Postulants and Contestants at the Festival Concert: Daniel Berryman, Carey Rebecca Brown, Caitlin Burke, Christopher Carl, Donna Garner, Jillian Jameson, Robert Mammana, Darren Matthias, Mark Bradley Miller, Anna Mintzer, Julia Osborne, Zane Phillips, Rebecca Pitcher, Michael Spaziani, Emily Trumble
Directed by Jack O'Brien
Choreography by Danny Mefford
Music supervisor: Andy Einhorn
Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC
Ticket Information: (800) 444-1324 or (202) 467-4600 or
For more information on the tour, visit

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