The Sound of Music

Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by THE TRAPP FAMILY SINGERS by Maria Augusta Trapp
Directed by Jack O’Brien

Reviewed by Craig Nolan Highley

Entire contents copyright © 2017 by Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.

Charlotte Maltby in The Sound of Music. Photo courtesy of

There is arguably no more beloved musical to American audiences than The Sound of Music. The Wizard of Oz might give it a run for its money, but that one didn’t have its roots on the Broadway stage. Music was a very successful Broadway musical before it was filmed, and is rightly considered a classic of stage and screen.

Based on the true story of the Von Trapp family of singers, the original show opened on Broadway in 1959 starring such luminaries as Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. But it is best remembered for the 1965 film version starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The less said about the 2013 live TV production with Carrie Underwood, the better!

While the original stage musical is a staple of school and community theater groups, Louisville currently is being given a rare treat: PNC Broadway Louisville is presenting a local production of the professional touring company, and many locals will never have seen the show quite like this.

The story is the stuff of legend at this point: plucky postulant Maria (Charlotte Maltby) proves too spirited for the Nonnberg Abbey, so the Mother Abbess (Melody Betts) sends her to work as a governess to the children of no-nonsense Captain Von Trapp (Ben Davis). With her gift of song she wins over not only the children but the heart of the Captain as well, while the rise of the Third Reich looms over the hills.

There is so much to love about this production that any quibble I have would come off as nitpicking. Maltby’s singing voice is beyond reproach as Maria, though her speaking voice comes off as a bit too American and uncultured to my ears. Davis is incredibly good as the Captain; handsome, yes, but with a weariness and dignity of age that completely conveys the worldliness of the retired soldier. The child actors are extremely talented, never missing a beat or a note and with a genuine sense of comic timing. The standout role, however, is Betts as the Mother Abbess; I don’t believe I have ever heard “Climb Every Mountain” sung better.

With a gorgeous set and perfect period costume design, and a familiar score that is just one hit song after another (they have even added a song written specifically for the film version, “Something Good”) you just can’t go wrong with this production. The opening night audience consisted of viewers of all ages, from small children to grandparents, and everyone was held riveted. If you go, I’d recommend sitting as close as possible to take it all in.

Featuring Melody Betts, Ashley Brooke, Carey Rebecca Brown, Ronald L. Brown, Caitlin Burke, Christopher Carl, Kyla Carter, Austin Colby, Iris Davies, Ben Davis, Maria Failla, Merwin Foard, Donna Garner, Roy Grantz, Meghan Hales, Teri Hansen, Anika Lore Hatch, Adam Hill, Jillian Jameson, Alexa LaSanta, Austin Levine, Charlotte Maltby, Robert Mammana, Darren Matthias, Anna Mintzer, Craig Mulhern Jr., Julia Osborne, Zane Phillips, Rebecca Pitcher, Paige Silvester, Michael Spaziani, and Emily Trumble.

The Sound of Music

January 17 – 22, 2017

PNC Broadway In Louisville
Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40204


Craig Head ShotCraig Nolan Highley has been active in local theatre as an actor, director and producer for more than 12 years. He has worked with Bunbury Theater, Clarksville Little Theatre, Finnigan Productions, Louisville Repertory Company, Savage Rose Classical Theatre Co., and WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theatre among others. He has been a member of the Wayward Actors Company since 2006, and currently serves as their Board President. Craig’s reviews have also appeared in TheatreLouisville and Louisville Mojo.