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Lauren Kidwell as Mother Abbess

Mother Superior shines in The Sound of Music production at the Kauffmann Center

There is something extraordinary about a musical when the loudest and longest applause goes to a nun! Lauren Kidwell, who plays Mother Abbess, owns the stage in The Sound of Music with her strong soprano voice in Climb Ev’ry Mountain.

Kansas City is given the opportunity to introduce a younger generation to The Sound of Music through January 20.

The Sound of Music was inspired by a true story on the life of Maria Augusta Kutschera Trapp.   She wrote The Story of the Trapp Family Singers that was published in 1949 about her life.  The book has been made into a movie, a stage musical, and movie musical. The musical tells of Maria, a rambunctious postulant, who becomes a governess to seven Van Trapp children. The mother has died and father, a navel captain, is grieving. The children are under the care of governesses.  Marie arrives and uses music, which had been forbidden by the father in his grief, to bring healing to both the children and the father. Marie and the father marry. In 1938, Austria is invaded by the Nazi’s and the family is faced with the decision to stay or escape from the political upheaval.

Young people will love the musical addressing transitioning to adulthood, undermining authority, and looming war. Themes of loyalty, accepting personal responsibility, overcoming obstacles, and loss are woven throughout. It is a musical that the whole family can appreciate.

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The entire cast is spot-on for the performance. The seven children will warm you heart. The truths that the characters speak are valued today. Maria states, “Brigitta notices things. And she always tells the truth—especially when you don’t want to hear.” Mother Abbess is shown to have an expansive character as an individual and as head of a religious order. She states, “I think I should talk to Maria instead of about her.” Max, the Captain’s friend warns the Captain concerning the Nazi’s, “The thing to do today is to get along with everybody.”

The brand new production of The Sound of Music has several small twists differing from the 1965 movie that keeps you on your toes. This new production features 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.

On the way to the production I thought how will the stage production produce the wedding scene as grand and stately as seen in the movie? To may relief, it did!

Kansas City Broadway Series presents The Sound of Music runs through January 20, 2019. It is at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

–Reviewed by Anita Widaman, Metro Voice Newspaper