Field Report:
The Sound of Music
National Touring Company
Performance at: Fox Theater Detroit, MI


from the movieThis all-time favorite family classic is once again on tour nationally. As soon as I heard that it would be appearing locally, I jumped at the chance to take the Wooklettes to see it. I had seen the movie in the theater when I was a very small child and have watched it at every opportunity. I was even involved in a stage production during my youth, although it was my sister who got to play one of the von Trapp kids, but that's another story ...

The stage production is of course quite different from the film version. It is very difficult to portray the beauty and majesty of the Austrian Alps that inspire Maria to burst into song, especially if you saw the film before seeing a stage production. Still, the opening song, The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Music, is so joyous, you almost burst into song right along with Maria. Other favorite songs are placed differently from the film version and even differently from the production I was in, but they still tell the story of Maria, the irrepressible novice, who becomes governess to the seven children of the widowed Captain von Trapp. Her charm, exuberance, and joy in music not only wins over the children, but captures the captain's heart.

fox theater, detroitThis fictionalized version of the true story of the von Trapp Family Singers has been a family favorite since its original Broadway run with Mary Martin in the central role. The Robert Wise Film starring Julie Andrews brought the heart-warming tale to the whole world. The cast in this revival touring company includes: Marla Scaffel as Maria; Burke Moses as Captain von Trapp; Jeanne Lehmann as Mother Abbess; and Colleen Fitzpatrick as Baroness Schrader. The entire cast and crew have extremely impressive resumes with Broadway, off-Broadway, television, and film credits as well as numerous awards and honors to back them up.

fox theater, detroitIt was a very special experience for both me and the Wooklets to see this show; especially in the venue we saw it in. The Fox Theater is one of the jewels of Detroit's cultural renaissance. Originally built in the 1920's, it was a movie palace of the highest order. In fact, when the film version of The Sound of Music was first released, busloads of children came from schools all over the area to see this charming story. The ravages of time, however, took their toll and the theater fell into disrepair. Fortunately, local patrons felt it worthwhile to bring the Fox back to its former glory. The intricate Siamese-Byzantine sculptural decoration, the magnificent chandelier, the gilding, and the richly patterned fabrics of the seats, carpeting, and drapery were painstakingly restored.

fox theater, detroitToday, as a national landmark, the Fox Theater provides a venue for such varied performers and productions as The Sound of Music, David Copperfield, Les Miserables, Rosemary Clooney (before she died), and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes. No matter what the show you attend at the Fox, it is a feast for the eyes as well as the spirit. If you are ever in Detroit, make it a point to see a show in this beautiful space.

Theater photographs courtesy of Illuminating Concepts Architectural Lighting Designs, and the movie still is courtesy of Fox Home Movies.

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