Gordon and I went to see The Sound of Music at the Ahmunson last night. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about going; I’d heard it was a bomb when it first came out on Broadway sixty years ago and I fell asleep during the Carrie Underwood live TV version. And how could anybody fill Julie Andrews’ shoes? We left early to have a glass of wine at the Music Center Plaza; I’d gotten a phone call from the theater recommending we come early because there was a fund-raiser at Disney and they anticipated parking problems (I thought it was an opera party but Fleetwood Mac music was pulsing from the tent so I guess I was wrong). We enjoyed the people watching and I managed to avoid breaking out into an Ethel Mermanish version of “The Hills are Alive” when the bartender asked what show we were going to see. I was afraid my snark would win out over the show.
Boy, was I surprised. They changed the book and songs around so the movie faded immediately. The curtain opened not to a panavision shot of Julie in the mountains but to a simple stained glass window representing the abbey and the nuns chanting. Very moving. And the 21-year-old kid they found to play Maria, Kerstin Anderson, didn’t try to compete with Julie; she made her own character and did a wonderful job. Ashley Brown played the Mother Abbess and stole the show. She belted out “Climb Every Mountain” at the first act curtain and closed the show with it. Not a dry eye in the house. We even got an update on the Dodger game during intermission. The man next to me overheard when I commented to Gordon, “I wonder how the Dodgers are doing?” He pulled out his phone and called up ESPN. We got a play-by-play for fifteen minutes and it was clear the Dodgers would win the NL West if they could last one inning. I thanked the man and we all settled back to watch the second act. All my concerns had been allayed.
So my inner snark took the night off. I enjoyed the show thoroughly. Gordon stayed awake throughout–not one Z on the snore scale. If you’re looking for a sweet show I recommend this one.