Friday, September 23, 2011

REVIEW: Manatee Players make joyful noise with 'The Sound of Music'

Kathryn Parks as Maria/by Denny Miller
Perhaps she had a case of the jitters.

Kathryn Parks’ first number on opening night felt a bit flat.

Starring as Maria in the Manatee Players’ production of “The Sound of Music” she sang the title tune pitch perfect but sans the enthusiasm required to properly sell the iconic song.

A few scene later, though, Parks became transformed when joined by the gifted local youths playing the seven von Trapp children during the delightful scene where Maria teaches them “Do-Re-Mi.”

For the rest of the evening, Parks displayed genuine star power in one of the most famous and demanding stage roles.

She soon rejoined the children for the bonding bedroom scene that leads to “My Favorite Things.” Parks and her young cast-mates nailed the classic show’s most famous song.

Her chemistry with rebellious eldest daughter Liesl (Krissy Pizzo) was touching throughout especially on their second act duet of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

Of course, when it comes to “The Sound of Music” and chemistry what makes or breaks the show is that shared between Maria and Captain von Trapp (William Masuck).
They have plenty.

From the subtle shared glances of Act I to the kiss of Act II, their relationship has a beautiful and believable arc.

Photos by DENNY MILLER/Special to the Herald From left, Krissy Pizzo, William Masuk, Nick Drivas, Amanda Lade, Marissa Govic, Jordan Boyer and Miranda Wolf star in the Manatee Players’ production of “The Sound of Music.”

And Masuck did an outstanding job changing from stern to sweet.

His finest moment, though, came at the end of the show when he accompanied himself on guitar during a most tender “Edelweiss.”

The song is sung as a statement of Austrian patriotism in a concert hall sullied by those ugly, still anger-inducing flags of the Nazis.

As for the nuns, Jeanne Larranaga (Mother Abbess) rattled the back wall with her powerhouse rendition of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

Star local actor Robert May watched nervously with the audience.

“The Sound of Music” marks his directorial debut .

It also marks his presence as a young man quite capable of superbly staging one of the greatest, most beloved musicals of all time — and probably many mores high-profile shows in the future.

What: “The Sound of Music”
When: Through Oct.9
Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Manatee Players Riverfront Theatre, 102 Old Main St., Bradenton
Tickets: $25/$11 students
Information: (941) 748-5875 or

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