To answer the question that most folks are wondering after The Wick Theatre’s bow Friday night: Yes, there is a credible, substantial new player in town.
The inaugural production of The Sound of Music has the feel of a fully-realized no-excuses production because it is, indeed, a polished, three-dimensional work of theater. It bodes well for the future of a crowd-pleasing mainstream theater on the site of the former Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton.
Some may carp (and many in the opening night audience did) that the region didn’t need yet another Sound of Music so soon after the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s fine mounting in 2011.
But this production under Michael Ursua’s direction succeeded at being unabashedly sweet and sentimental without being cloying or endangering diabetics in the audience. Ursua created the rare perception that when a character breaks into song, it feels as organic as such moments are capable of in the artificial construct of musical theater. Most of the time, actors did not stop the dramatic flow to deliver a venerable number that they and the entire audience knew by heart.
The three-dimensional feel came from most everyone playing the truth of the situation rather than knowingly performing a classic bled of its emotional honesty by a half-century of ham-handed productions and a bloodless film version.
Ursua and his cast applied subtle shadings that enrich the production.
Liesl, still grieving for her mother, hangs back as Maria enchants the other children with “Do-Re-Mi.” Max, the ultra-pragmatic agent, is emceeing the penultimate festival where the family is performing. Faced with the reality of his compromises, his voice quavers when the stormtroopers arrive to escort the Captain to serve the Nazis.
This is still The Sound of Music and The Wick still balks at delving deeply into Hammerstein’s multi-faceted world view as the British have in such reimaginings as their Oklahoma in 1998 andCarousel in 1992. But this is as satisfying a production as you could reasonably hope for.
Click here to read the entire review from Florida Theater on Stage, a media partner of SFGN. Bill Hirschman, Florida Theater on Stage