Hearing What I’ve Heard Before: The Sound of Music

“One Direction? No — Von Direction!”

For those of you living under a rock, “The Sound of Music” has been staged at the Newport Performing Arts Theater (Resorts World Manila) since October last year and ends on the 27th of this month. That’s tomorrow. I guess I qualify as one of you for watching just last night but hey, I still had my fill. Better late than never.

Overall, the production was uplifting. Musically, the performances were polished and inspired. Hearing the nuns’ chilling version of “Morning Hymn/Alleluia,” Joanna Ampil’s (she plays Maria) stellar-yet-full-bodied notes and the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra’s tight real-time sync with the stage ensemble, one’s inner music critic couldn’t be more ecstatic. You’d probably wonder if the playing and singing were prerecorded. They were that clean.

Visually, it’s a notch shy of a masterpiece. The set designs were detailed enough to play the part. There were gates, nunnery-slash-cathedral pillars and arcs, well-crafted “stone” benches, a sublime mansion interior (think “Beauty and the Beast”) and Swastika-emblazoned banners. The set transitions were smooth, too. Side screens showcasing the live orchestra were used to distract the audience as the crew transported set pieces on and off the stage. Various expressions of surprise could be heard from the viewers each time the stage lights revealed a new set-up. Perhaps the only flaw would be the digital backdrop. The PlayStation-quality graphics hardly helped in suspending my disbelief, although they did cater to my video game nostalgia. Soul Reaver, anyone? Brave Fencer Musashi?

Anyway, you gotta love the kids in the cast. They can sing, they can act, they work well as kids (duh) and they’re just adorable. As a rule, you like kids in shows by default. Unless you’re watching “The Omen.” If you like the kid there, I fear for the people around you.

“The Sound of Music” is considered a classic and has become mainstream in the theater scene. If you plan to be the least bit cultured, seeing this should be one of your first steps. If you want to stretch your appreciation for your humanity, you should at some point in your life see this. I mean come on, “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Edelweiss” make the ultimate sing-along numbers (assuming that the purple dinosaur’s theme song never existed).

Although chances are slim, I sincerely hope that you catch the production’s last show tomorrow.  The entire crew has done justice to a timeless piece, which Rodgers and Hammerstein would have been proud of. 10/10.

If you’re interested, see the show details here.


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