I always enjoy the e-mail comments I receive from readers. Though I have been briefly detained here in New York, readers who followed my recent suggestion and e-mailed me their “reviews” of Class Act’s production of “The Sound of Music” delighted me. While space considerations will not allow me to share all the comments, let me give you some highlights from two of the best:
Woodlands resident, Fenella Leighton, attended two of the sold-out performances. Here is a sampling of the words she used to describe the show:
Leighton writes of the “…hauntingly beautiful and joyous singing” as she declares, “I am bursting with enthusiasm!” Describing the show’s star [Megan Kane as Maria] Leighton cites Kane’s “… unending stamina and crystal clear voice… Anyone who knows Meagan should get her autograph now because there is no doubt her name will be up in lights on Broadway before long.” Speaking of the many youngsters in the cast, Leighton comments, “The children were all a joy to watch … the fun they were having was contagious.” Enthusiastic about the singing of the nuns in the cast (Ashley Caraway, Diane Goldsmith and Emily Woller), Leighton goes on to say “…the rendition of ‘Maria’ sung by the Mother Abbess (Meagan Bolanger) was delightful and amusing in a simply ‘heavenly’ manner; and the most emotionally stirring song of the show was ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ sung perfectly by Bolanger. She hit those high notes effortlessly … there was hardly a dry eye in the house by the time she ended.”
“The stage presence of Cam Baustch (as Captain von Trapp) was electrifying,” according to Leighton. She continues, “His charm and composure were spellbinding…his rich and melodic voice sent tingles down your spine.”
Leighton had kind words as well for supporting players Sarah Starke (playing Elsa with suitable “aristocratic snootiness”), and Scott Braddock (in a “very amusing” portrayal of Max), adding that “…their duet, ‘How Can Love Survive,’ was charming.” And according to Leighton, “The wedding scene was a feast for eyes and ears with an exquisitely costumed and majestic procession that glided through the audience, proudly led by altar boy (Charles Leighton) and clergyman (James Leighton). Next, with the Mother Abbess and Nuns sounding like an angelic choir, came the grand entrance of the bride, Maria, dressed in a magnificent satin gown, and flanked by her bridesmaids.
Finally, Leighton describes the thrilling scenes of the German music competition when “Intimidating German soldiers lined the walls while the von Trapp family performed … alarm is raised that they have escaped from the Concert Hall. The soldiers burst into action and we are spellbound as the family flees over the mountains to freedom during the exciting climax.” Remarking on the “…fabulous costumes, incredible sets and superb orchestra,” Leighton closes saying “…the ultimate success of this great show was because of the talent and enthusiasm of a wonderful group of young kids.”
A second reader from The Woodlands, Kathy Fryer Kern, echoed Leighton’s enthusiasm:
Writes Kern, “There was magic in the air this weekend at the Nancy Bock Auditorium. ‘The Sound of Music’ was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had in the theatre! I don’t know how Keith Brumfield and staff managed to pull together 70 children of all ages into near-professionals with just a few weeks’ rehearsals; but this show was absolutely superb, and they did just that.” Kern speaks of “…the flawless costumes from the genius of Lyndel Middleton and her group of seamstresses,” and comments on the superb singing saying, “We have to congratulate Robert Hunt for his expertise as musical conductor in working with all the actors. He made the children shine!”
As for the show’s star, Kern says, “When Megan Kane came on stage, I could not believe the maturity of her always-wonderful voice. She was completely believable, and flawless in all four performances as Maria. How she will be missed as she goes off to college this fall.” Regarding the seven young cast members (Lindsay Richards, Kirk Van Sickle, Sarah Feye, Aaron Boudreaux, Georgia Wilkinson, Amanda Eakin, and Sarah Macaluso) who portrayed the Von Trapp children, Kern writes “…they are as good vocally as any who have ever done the roles. What a team!” Kern repeats Ms. Leighton’s enthusiasm for Mr. Bautsch’s performance as Captain and adds praise for the excellent performance of Jordan Turcotte as Rolf. As for the exquisite set, Kern raves, “It took your breath away!” Finally, says Kern, “ With this sold-out run of ‘The Sound of Music,’ Class Act Productions should attain a new level of respect and awe in our community. Co-founders Keith Brumfield and Kathryn Goodfellow should be nominated as ‘Hometown Heroes’ for their wonderful, life-altering, life enhancing work with children in our community. “
This critic, in far-off New York, could not agree more!
(The Courier Online 2.16.04)