The new Boca Raton theater’s inaugural production of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical has been dusted off by director Michael Ursua and imbued with a little spitfire and set aglow by a cast of heavenly voices.
If you don’t know the show that won Mary Martin her fourth Tony Award or never saw the movie version with Julie Andrews’ iconic performance, then maybe you’ve heard some of the buzz about the TV version starring country pop singer Carrie Underwood and “True Blood” hunk Stephen Moyer, scheduled to be broadcast live Dec. 5 on NBC.
Loosely based on a true story, the Wick musical opens with a young Maria (sturdy-voiced Krista Severeid) preparing to become a nun. However, the Mother Abbess (Lourelene Snedeker, whose crystalline “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” soars) sends Maria to be governess to the seven children of widowed Captain von Trapp (Tony Lawson, the basso with bluster who is the real-life hubby of Severeid). The burgeoning romance of the Captain and Maria is threatened not only by a romantic rival, Elsa (Mia Matthews, sly and silky), but by the rise of Nazism.
And even though the young actors playing the children are seriously adorable, and the nuns sing as if they were conversing with God, it is not a perfect show.
You may, at first, have to suppress a groan, as the stylized blocking reads artificial. And some of the cast forgot to be enchanted by the von Trapp children as they warbled the cute-to-the-third-power “So Long, Farewell” number.
No biggie. The nuanced sets, backdrops and costumes (the Wick family is also housing their costume museum in the theater) are enough to keep you focused until the show can snap back in the second act.
That’s when the noose begins to tighten on the von Trapp family, and a breathtaking moment — no, seriously … it took my breath away — materializes when the Nazi banner drops at the penultimate music-festival scene.
Lawson begins to sing, “Edelweiss” (the last song Hammerstein wrote, dying from stomach cancer nine months after the show opened in 1959), and the audience is stilled, collectively holding their breath.
It is a profoundly moving moment.
“The Sound of Music” will run through Oct. 20 at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, in Boca Raton. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $58. Call 561-995-2333 or go to TheWick.org.