Once again, the stage of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown is alive with the "Sound of Music," and they've got new faces, new approaches, and a most enjoyable evening of theater.
Director Helen Merrill has given the production her usual dose of high energy, and the show shines with movement, color, and activity.
The show is certainly familiar to everyone, as it has been produced in virtually every venue in the world, and was made into a beautifully-filmed, award-winning motion picture which made a star of Julie Andrews.
The script is based on a true story about a young woman in Austria, just before World War II, named Maria Rainer. She was preparing to become a nun, until her convent sent her on a temporary assignment to care for the large family of children of a navy captain whose wife had died.
The young woman came to love the children, and eventually their father, although the family had to abandon everything they owned and flee to Switzerland when Nazi Germany seized control of Austria.
I remember clearly having interviewed the real Baroness Von Trapp, and asking her if the family truly had to flee on foot through the mountains, in the middle of the night. She answered, ''Oh, no. We just got into the Rolls Royce and drove to Switzerland.''
Maria is played in this production by pretty, energetic Julie Cotter, whose sweet, lyric voice carries her well through the nearly three hours of the production.
Mary Crandall was the Mother Abbess who served as the guardian angel of the young candidate, and whose advice to ''Climb Every Mountain'' is always a highlight of productions of the show.
This version employs a large number of nuns, whose singing was quite thrilling.
The Von Trapp children are always the most charming part of a production, and this was no exception. The director has divided her cast, with different children performing the roles on alternating nights. I was lucky to see and hear Kenzie Sandberg, Cameron Hurst-May, Olivia Gren, Bradley Brown, Hannah Doughty, Christina Peppy, and Mary Gerace.
The alternate cast included Ms. Sandberg plus Sean Dudenhoeffer, Katie Jaroszynski, Liam Crandall, Grace Auer, Reece Beaver, and Joclyn Brown, and I'm certain they were every bit as charming.
Cheers to Matt Jones, who was a handsome and charming Baron Von Trapp, and to James Foley, who added excellent elements of politics to the role of Max, the friend who convinces the Baron to allow his children to form a singing ensemble.
A special tip of the hat to Carla Kays, as the baroness who thinks she will marry the captain, and to her remarkable wardrobe, which just kept getting more and more beautiful, as did she.
Costumes were great, although the Nazi uniforms looked a bit makeshift. The scenery was fairly minimal, but did its job very well indeed.
You can catch this production throughout its run, which continues through May 20 at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown's official home, on East Second St., in downtown Jamestown.