Iconic musical banks on and basks in its enduring appeal

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Scene from “The Sound of Music”

Musical theater buffs are looking forward to watching performances of the hit musical, “The Sound of Music,” as staged by the visiting London West End Production company at The Theatre At Solaire, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 15.

The iconic show has been staged and screened many times in the past 50 years, and yet, interest in its latest live staging at The Theatre is avid and high—which says a lot about the musical’s enduring appeal.

What makes it so special in theater lovers’ heart of hearts?

Analysts cite its winning combination of great songs, romance, children needing the love of a second mother, a jolt of danger and political pertinence in its Nazi subplot, spiritual inspiration in its religious backstory, etc.

In our view, however, the musical’s most affecting and endearing “hook” is its feisty lead character, Maria, who surmounts all of the problems thrown her way with unsinkable good cheer!

“The Sound of Music” was first staged in Manila by Fr. James B. Reuter in the late ’50s, with June Keithley, then still a student, cast as Maria. She went on to star in many other stage, TV and film productions, and is also remembered and honored as a true-blue Edsa heroine.

Luminaries

Another local staging of “The Sound of Music” was distinguished by the fact that many of the young talents who played the seven Von Trapp children later became luminaries in their own right—like Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, Menchu Lauchengco, Raymond Lauchengco—and Risa Hontiveros!

“The Sound of Music” has become so iconic through the decades that it’s boosted the tourist traffic to its “fairy-tale” setting, Salzburg, Austria—by 70 percent!

While touring the idyllic locale’s lovely attractions, visitors often burst into song, warbling or belting their favorite “SOM” tunes.

This has resulted in polls being taken on the most-loved songs from the musical, with “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “So Long, Farewell,” “Something Good,” “Edelweiss” and “Climb Every Mountain” hitting the top spots with “voter-singers.”

Who’s the biggest “SOM” fan of them all? Unless somebody in Brighton has seen the film version 60 times, that “title” must go to our friend who used to be a photographer at UP, who proudly proclaimed that she’d seen the musical movie—“more than 50 times”!

Stellar performers

Instead of grumbling, “Oh, get a life” under our breath, we were properly impressed!

Final note: The stellar performers in Solaire’s staging of “The Sound of Music” are all visiting artists—except for the juvenile talents playing the Von Trapp children.

Eighteen of the 400 kids who auditioned locally for the roles will be performing in rotation as Maria’s seven wards. And, the hope is that some of them will, like Lea and Monique before them, turn out to be the big finds and stars of tomorrow!

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