Saturday, December 3, 2011

Don't miss Genesius' 'Sound of Music'

By Cheryl Thornburg
Berks County is blessed with some incredible voices and many of them are bringing to life the unforgettable score of Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved classic "The Sound of Music" now playing at Genesius Theatre in Reading. The musical, based on the true story of the von Trapp family and their escape from Austria as the Nazis take over, is familiar to most adults and this production will enchant a whole new generation with its inspiring songs and memorable characters.
Erin Aregood is captivating  as Maria, the spunky novice nun, who is sent to be a governess for the seven children of the widowed Captain Von Trapp. Her delivery of such favorites  as "The Sound of Music" and "My Favorite Things" is as good as it gets, as is her duet "Something Good" with Chris Duffy as Captain Georg von Trapp.
Duffy is perfect as the stern captain who keeps his children at a distance and has treated them like little soldiers since his wife died. 
Meegan Gagnon is heavenly as The Mother Abbess.  Her exquisite soprano accentuates many of the numbers in the Abbey and fills the theater for the powerful and breathtaking "Climb Every Mountain."
 Kathryn Ott plays Liesl, the eldest of the von Trapp children, with delightful naiveté. Her playful duet, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen"  with Quinn Corcoran as Rolf Gruber, a budding Nazi delivery boy, is a highpoint of the show. The two have a  believable chemistry that makes them fun to watch.
The remaining von Trapp children take turns being scene-stealers, with Margaux Gagnon as the youngest, Gretl, at the top of the list. The audience falls in love with her.
Grayson Ziegler, is charming as the shy Freidrich; Molly Sweigart, is delightfully mischievous as Louisa;  Zac Zabinski turns on the charisma as the exuberant Kurt; Alex Goshert, is appropriately serious as the the truth-telling as Brigitta; and Isabella Siegel is adoreable as Marta, the second youngest of the von Trapp brood who loves pink.)
Anita Lewis delivers  a perfectly conniving Elsa Schraeder, the countess who wants to be the next Mrs. von Trapp.  Equally conniving is  Brian Trupp as Max Detweiler, the captain's friend who wants the von Tarpp children to perform in a music festival, despite their father's objections. These two, along with Duffy offer up a rousing version of "No Way to Stop It," one of the lesser known songs from the show.
Rounding out this talented cast are Katie Mohn as Sister Berthe,  Laura Kruse as Sister Margaretta, Heather Troxell as Sister Sophia,  Randy Gerber as Franz,  Marjory Ewald as Frau Schmidt,  Patrick Malarkey as Herr Zeller, Bob Aregood as Baron Elberfeld,  Pat Rehr as Baroness Elberfeld, Mackenzie Siegel, as a postulant, Dean Fichthorn as Admiral Von Schreiber, and Summer Rose Biros, Briana Christie, Maxi Estrada, Abby Hoy, Trey Petrarca, and Karissa Smith as neighbors of Captain Von Trapp, nuns, novices, postulates, and contestants in the festival concert.
Unsung, but exquisitely heard, are the members of the orchestra, hidden behind a black screen above the stage.  Directed by Dave Neel, the orchestra includes Sue McDevitt, Greg Reber, Jessica Reber, Brad Richards, Jessica Manning, Jan Dixon, Kaitlyn Reber, Melissa Barlow, Nicole Schroeder, Howard Snyder, Jewell Brown, Elizabeth Vesper, Ann Cusano, Paul Breitenstein, Ethan Whitkin, Erin Deininger, Bob Yelk, Jon T. Houser, Matt Phillips and Ray Rhoads.
"The Sound of Music" is feel-good family entertainment guaranteed to have you leave the theater smiling.  The show is already almost sold out, so order tickets ASAP.
Remaining performances are Dec. 3, 9, & 10 at 8 p.m., Dec. 4 & 11 at 3 p.m., and December 7 & 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets for performances are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students with ID. All seats for the Wednesday Dec. 7 and Thursday Dec. 8 performances are $15. For tickets and more information visit the Genesius Website at or call the Genesius Reservation Hot-Line at 610-373-9500.   The theatre is located at 10th and Walnut streets in Reading.  Genesius has free parking next to the theater, just off 10th Street and is handicap accessible.  The production is rated G.

For a sneak peek  check out this rehearsal footage:


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