L-R: Harper Griffith as Gretl, Lydia Ricks as Marta, Lilly Mae Stover as Brigitta, Ezekiel Weir as Kurt, Stella Rose as Louisa, Gabe Layton as Friedrich, Elisabeth Evans (front) as Maria and Emily Grace Tucker as Liesl in Tuacahn’s 2019 production of “The Sound of Music,” Ivins, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Ben Braten courtesy of Tuacahn Center for the Arts, St. George News
REVIEW — The glorious sounds and classic songs found in the musical drama “The Sound of Music” reverberate off the towering red rocks that create Tuacahn Amphitheater this summer in a solid and heartwarming production that proves theater is alive and well in the cliffs of Southern Utah.
Offering the only non-Disney production on the outdoor stage, “The Sound of Music” feels like a stripped-down and simple production that relies more heavily on the strength of the storyline and the talent of its actors than it does on the usual pyrotechnics and grand effects found on the Tuacahn stage.
The production is led by the eager yet vocally powerful Elisabeth Evans as Maria, a young postulant in Austria’s Nonnberg Abbey sent to work as a governess for a widowed naval captain with seven kids. Evans brings a grace and naivete to her performance that truly endears her to the audience and provides a comforting presence during the show’s darker times.
“The Sound of Music” is set in 1938 during the Anschluss — the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany — and is based on the true story of the von Trapp Family Singers and their daring escape from Austria into the Swiss Alps as well as the 1965 musical drama starring Julie Andrews.
Highlighting the show is a group of seven playing the von Trapp family children. Most of the actors are local, including the darling Harper Griffith as young Gretl who elicits “oohs” and “awes” with every line. The group of mostly children is filled with veteran actors who have graced stages across the country as well as in the community. They are polished and delightful to watch on stage.
L-R: Elisabeth Evans as Maria and Dallyn Vail Bayles as Captain von Trapp in Tuacahn’s 2019 production of “The Sound of Music,” Ivins, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Ben Braten courtesy of Tuacahn Center for the Arts, St. George News
As the title suggests, it is through music that not only is the story told, but obstacles as small as fear of lightning and as large as the Nazi occupation are forded and overcome. Music provides new life to a once-lost Captain von Trapp, gives courage to Maria and the children and proves that their is hope even when their seemingly shouldn’t be.
This production provides gorgeous orchestration and strong takes on beloved songs, including “My Favorite Things” and “Edelweiss,” but it is the strength of the ensemble chorus and their stunning harmonies that really seemed to bounce off the natural amphitheater and pierce right down to the heart.
Tuacahn’s “The Sound of Music” offers many historical nuggets both during and after the production that provide a greater look into the past and are worth taking a second look at.
Though there are no fireworks or grand theatrics, the show is bolstered by its nostalgia and a cast that puts their hearts and souls into telling the story.
“The Sound of Music” plays on alternating nights with other Tuacahn productions through Oct. 26. Start times vary throughout the season. Tickets are $32-$94 and can be purchased online, by calling the Tuacahn box office at 800-746-9882 or 435-652-3300, or in person at the box office.
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What: Tuacahn’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
When: “Sound of Music” plays on alternating nights with other Tuacahn productions through Oct. 26. Start times vary throughout the season.
Where: Tuacahn Amphitheatre, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins.
Cost: $32-$94. Purchase tickets online, by calling the Tuacahn box office at 800-746-9882 or 435-652-3300, or in person at the box office.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.
Hollie Reina is a writer, runner, outdoor enthusiast, wife, mother and Southern Utah gal.