Canada had their own version of the UK reality show that cast the Maria for a revival of the Sound of Music. I saw the British version of the show a couple of years ago, and got to see the Canadian version here in Toronto.
What I found the most interesting is that the audience in the theater didn’t seem to have the direct relationship with Elicia MacKenzie that the British audience had with their reality show winner / Maria. Similarly, the audience really didn’t feel on board with the whole show until Do Re Mi in the middle of the first act.
I was surprised that the veteran actresses playing the nuns were horribly guilty of what Lina Koutrakos would call schmackting. In the context, it was more surprising that the children were giving genuinely lovely, fresh and organic performances with Megan Nuttal playing Liesl being surprisingly nuanced.
It was also fascinating as I sat there to notice how well constructed the play was. Similarly, watching the play makes one appreciate how cannily the film team adapted it, so that it became a real movie. Especially in terms of reassigning several of the songs and adding that somewhat interminable dinner scene.
Of course my favorite songs of the play were cut for the movie, and How Can Love Survive is probably my all-time favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein song. And sitting through this production confirmed that currently, the role I want to play most of all is Max. (Thankfully I’m both age-appropriate and still have a couple decades left.)