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Theater Review: ‘The Sound Of Music’ Brought Wonderfully To Life At Richter



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DANBURY — Richter Park is alive with the sound of music!

For their summertime performance, Musicals at Richter has produced the iconic musical, The Sound of Music, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Performed on their gorgeous new stage, this is an evening of theater not to be missed.

This is the well-known story of a young nun, Maria Rainer (played by Emily Walsh), who is dispatched by the Mother Abbess (Priscilla Squiers), to care for seven motherless children living on the estate owned by their strict and cheerless father, Captain Georg von Trapp (Rob Mayette).

The seven children are charming and adorable. They are played by Jillian Flynn, Austin Etzbach, Gabby Messina, Jack Rand, Allyson Snyder, Kelly Inconstanti and Charlotte Harrington, listed from oldest to youngest.

Maria brings enthusiasm, music and playfulness to the somber household, which at first is rejected by the captain. Yet as he comes to witness his children’s delight in their new governess, he mellows. A fondness between the captain and Maria becomes obvious as they fall in love.

Theirs is a true story set during the fall of Austria to Hitler’s invasion. The captain will not cave to the occupation of his beloved Austria by the Nazi regime. Following a lovely musical performance by the von Trapp family, they escape to freedom.

There are many, many wonderful performances in this large cast which is talented and rife with extraordinary vocal skill. Emily Walsh is exceptional as the evolving Maria. She has an air of sincerity and a magical voice.

As the Mother Abbess, Priscilla Squiers gives a warm and determined performance. She is a pillar of strength with a strong voice. Her rendition of “Climb Every Mountain” is powerful.

Playing Liesl, the oldest child of the captain, Jillian Flynn also gives a standout performance, as does Rob Mayette as Georg von Trapp.

A mention must also go to Claire Simard as Elsa Schraeder, the captain’s initial love interest. She has a mesmerizing presence and a wonderful vocal range.

All performances delivered by the cast of 35 deserve a loud Bravo for bringing this wonderful production to life.

Director Jessica Smith has produced a wonderfully compelling and enchanting rendering of this timeless musical. Seeing it live, under the stars at Richter is as good as it gets.

Performances continue to August 6. Grounds open at 7 for picnics, with the show at 8 pm. Richter Arts Center is at 100 Aunt Hack Road in Danbury.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students (with ID) and $15 for children 10 and under.

For August 4, tickets are $20, $15 and $10, respectively.

Audience members are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for lawn seating. A limited number of chairs are available free of charge at the concession area, and a snack/soft drink concession is on-site.

For tickets and further information, visit musicalsatrichter.org, leave a message at 203-748-6873, or send e-mail to info@musicalsatrichter.org.

Captain von Trapp (Rob Mayette) and Maria Rainer (Emily Walsh) find romance through their shared love of music and strong sense of family in the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound Of Music, outdoors under the stars at Musicals at Richter in Danbury through August 6. —David Henningsen Photography
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