Codirectors John and Tamara Adams have, wisely, stuck closely to the publicly revered movie version of this Rodgers and Hammerstein hit, trimming out a couple of the songs that were in the original Broadway show, but excised from the film (notably "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way to Stop It").
Even so, this has been a gargantuan undertaking for Hale Centre Theatre, with props, costumes and scenery that tax the soon-to-be-replaced venue to its very limits. This probably would have been much easier - and technically smoother - in Hales' new West Valley City theater, scheduled to open Oct. 1.But the intimacy of the current HCT also works, for the most part, to the show's advantage.
The cast I caught on Friday night was flawless.
Randi Harrington-Weekes and Cliff Cole were perfectly cast as governess Maria Rainer and widowed Capt. Georg Von Trapp, the stern, by-the-book retired navy officer whose seven children Maria is sent to supervise.
Other key players include Kathy Pike as the Mother Abbess, Karyn Hatch (pinch-hitting for Jana Ruth Dietlein) as Liesl, Layna Carter as Baroness Elsa Schrader, Bryan Gardner as Max Detweiler and Tim Taylor, Emily Jane Stewart, Chad Wagstaff, Carly Flamm, Courtney White and Valerie Larsen as the rest of the Von Trapp kids.
Most of the music is intact and - like the film version - "My Favorite Things" is sung by Maria and the children when they're snuggled up on her bed during the thunder-storm (instead of the original's decidedly more awkward "The Lonely Goatherd"). The show's least hummable song, "No Way to Stop It," has also been dropped.
The show still runs fairly long, however. Opening night was just under three hours, mostly because crews/actors were still learning how to hustle the many (and very large) set pieces on and off.
Definite pluses include the well trained nuns' chorus, Kelly DeHaan's expertly recorded musical score, Elaine V. Peterson's costumes, Marilyn May Montgomery's choreography and Bryan P. Jacobs' scenery designs.
But I'm sure my wife and I weren't the only ones in the audience who were disappointed that the wedding scene seemed to be suddenly lopped off. Maria and Georg had barely begun to kiss when the lights went out and it was off to the next scene.
The overall pace of the piece should pick up once the scenery/
props battle plan gets smoothed out.
The alternate cast includes Kim Underwood, Jack Kenison, Nancy Parsons and Sharon Kenison in the show's major roles.