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Toby’s Dinner Theatre The Sound of Music

By • Dec 17th, 2012 • Category: Reviews
The Sound of Music
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Baltimore, MD
Through January 27th
2:25 with one intermission
$52-$57/$38 Children
Reviewed December 16th, 2012

The Baltimore Travel Plaza is truly alive with The Sound of Music, thanks to a magical production currently being performed at Toby’s Dinner Theatre of Baltimore. Their production is filled with all the “favorite things” anyone could expect from this enchanting Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. Although the show has nothing actually to do with the holiday season, it has become a holiday classic due to the warm message about family, love, standing up for what you believe in, and loving God through loving others. Toby’s heartfelt production spectacularly and honestly brings those themes to life on the stage.

The show opens in the Nonnberg Abbey, where we first meet Maria, a young postulate. From the opening strains of the title song, it is easy to be instantly enthralled with Elizabeth Rayca’s Maria. Her performance only builds from that moment on. She is playful and full of love and joy. Even through her realistic doubts, questions, and confusions, her heart shines through in every moment. Rayca’s performance is beautiful and spot-on in every aspect.

While the sisters of Nonnberg Abbey are equally enchanted by Maria’s spirit, they are not sure how she fits into life as a nun. The Mother Abbess (Lynn Sharp Spears), Sister Berthe (Melynda Burdette), Sister Margaretta (Jane C. Boyle), and Sister Sophia (Maura Hogan) wonder “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” in a very entertaining number. All four women bring their unique personalities and humor into making the song a vocal and acting success. It is The Mother Abbess, played with motherly sophistication and a wee bit of whimsy, who decides to send Maria away from the Abbey to serve as a governess for the von Trapp family.

We meet first Captain von Trapp (Lawrence B. Munsey), a widower who has forgotten his love of music and instead summons even his children with a whistle as he would his crew on a ship. Munsey is actually quite charming through his stern demeanor. He has a few really excellent moments throughout the production, particularly when he breaks down during “Edelweiss,” and his family finishes singing for him. His family includes seven children: Liesl (Christine Nelson), Friedrich (Kyle Guindon), Louisa (Lily Discepolo), Brigitta (Madelyn Schloss), Kurt (Remy Brettell), Marta (Sadie Herman), and Gretl (Lucy Herman). All of the children are really wonderful, especially Discepolo’s Louisa, who is brimming with mischief, Schloss’ Brigitta, who is wise beyond her years, and Herman’s Gretl, who is just about as cute as can be. Nelson’s Liesl really stands out as an energetic ingénue in her duet of “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” with Rolf (Chris Rudy).

Another delightful performance comes in the form of Alan Hoffman as Max Detweiler. He has just the right mix of slippery and heart to make the character entertaining and endearing. The one small casting misstep was in the form of Coby Kay Callahan’s Elsa. She was too over-the-top to be believable. Her Elsa came across more unlikeable and shrewish than was necessary for the character, and “No Way to Stop It” was not in a good range for her voice. On the other hand, William Emory (Herr Zeller) really stood out and made something incredible out of a smaller role.

The cast worked well as an ensemble. They made group scenes alive with varied characters and created a rich vocal blend. However, it would have been nice to see the vocals less theatrical in “Confitemini Domino.” The nuns singing should have sounded more filled with piety and less ready with jazz hands. It did not have to be belted to be powerful, and, in fact, restraint would have had a greater impact.

The set was well-designed, and the use of the turntable made set changes almost instantaneous. There was an especially nice effect at the end with the set and lighting, where the family was seen through a screen climbing the mountain in the background. It was the perfect ending to a well-designed production.

Photo Gallery

Photo 1 Photo 2

Photos provided by Toby’s Dinner Theatre

Cast

  • Maria Rainer: Elizabeth Rayca
  • The Mother Abbess: Lynn Sharp Spears
  • Sister Berthe, Mistress of Novices: Melynda Burdette
  • Sister Margaretta, Mistress of Postulants: Jane C. Boyle
  • Sister Sophia: Maura Hogan
  • Nun: Bernadette Gietka
  • Captain Georg von Trapp: Lawrence B. Munsey
  • Franz, the butler: Jerry Gietka
  • Frau Schmidt, the housekeeper: Victoria Winter
  • Liesl: Christine Nelson
  • Friedrich: Sam Bishop or Kyle Guindon*
  • Louisa: Lily Discepolo* or Maddie Ulman
  • Brigitta: Hunter Lubawski or Madelyn Schloss*
  • Kurt: Remy Brettell* or Jace Franco
  • Marta: Sadie Herman* or Susanna Hoffman
  • Gretl: Lucy Herman* or Lily Ulman
  • Rolf Gruber: Chris Rudy
  • Elsa Schraeder: Coby Kay Callahan
  • Max Detweiler: Alan Hoffman
  • Herr Zeller: William Emory
  • Baron Elberfeld: Chad Fornwalt
  • A New Postulant: Arielle Gordon
  • Admiral von Schreiber: Jimmy Biernatowski
  • Understudies: Maura Hogan (Maria Rainer & Elsa Schraeder), Chad Fornwalt (Captain von Trapp & Admiral von Schreiber), Jane C. Boyle (Mother Abbess), Will Emory (Max Detweiler), Cassidy Hamilton (Leisl von Trapp), Arielle Gordon (Sr’s Berthe, Margaretta, & Sophia), Jimmy Biernatowski (Franz & Herr Zeller), Bernadette Gietka (Frau Schmidt)
  • Swings: Cassidy Hamilton and Samn Huffer
  • * Appeared in this performance

Production Staff

  • Director/Choreographer: Samn Huffer
  • Music Director: Reenie Codelka
  • Scenic Designer: David A. Hopkins
  • Lighting Designer: Lynn Joslin
  • Costume Designer: Janine Sunday
  • Sound Designer: Jimmy Englekemier
  • Production Manager: Vickie S. Johnson
  • Production Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Master Carpenter: David A. Hopkins
  • Set Construction: David A. Hopkins, Corey Brown, Daniel Sexton, Russell Sunday, Sarah Splaine, Ian Wallace
  • Properties: Amy Kaplan
  • Stage Manager: Heather Williams
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Ian Wallace
  • Light Board Operator: Heather Williams
  • Sound Operator: Daniel Sexton
  • Crew: Ian Wallace, Jason Sowers, Matt Wetzel

Orchestra

  • Piano/Conductor: Reenie Codelka or Barry Hamilton
  • Keyboards 2: Ed Myers or Ann Prizzi
  • Reeds: Steve Haaser, Charlene McDaniel, or Stacey Antoine
  • Drums: N. Scott Robinson, Dane Krich, or Nate Hillburger

Disclaimer: Toby’s Dinner Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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