Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 1, 2019

A funny thing happened on the way to “The Sound of Music”

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
by Shera Cohen

My semi-annual bout with bronchitis conveniently arrived like an anvil in my head accompanied by a vice around my throat. The day was the Press Night to review “The Sound of Music” at the Bushnell. Certainly, not my first trip to the Alps or hearing and humming “Edelweiss”; yet, you can never get enough “Sound of Music” (SOM) in your life.

I made a quick decision – contact another reviewer from In the Spotlight. That project was, unfortunately, unproductive. My second decision – ask someone else to attend the musical and, instead of a review, tell a story about the experience. Because SOM had such a straightforward story with uncomplicated characters, it would be an easy task to write about.

Of course, I do not pass-off writing reviews to those not on our staff. At the same time, I often invite “non-theatre” or “non-artsy” friends to be my Plus One whenever I attend plays or musicals. Not that my philosophy is profound but introducing neophytes to theatre builds a community of novices-turned-aficionados. Well, perhaps that word is too elite. The point is that one of my missions in life is to introduce theatre to those who might rarely think of attending. Over the past 30 or so years, I am proud to say that I have been rather successful.

I didn’t think that the Bushnell folk would mind if I offered their two tickets to a lovely woman and her 8-year-old granddaughter. The little girl had never seen a live production of SOM, or any musical. This was a special gift from me and from the Bushnell for them to appreciate this amazing and lush building to see a live production of one of the most famous musicals of all time. Neither had seen SOM other than at home – the Julie Andrews’ movie shrunk to TV screen-size. I gave eight-year-old Mayah an assignment: write comments about what you saw and how you felt seeing SOM.

These are a few of her favorite points. 1) I loved the music! 2) I recognized some of the songs that I used to sing along to when I watched the movie. 3) There were some funny parts like the bedroom scene with Maria and the children. 4) They seemed to be using American Sign Language during the “Doe a Deer” song. 5) The singing voices were wonderful, and Maria was our favorite. The Reverend Mother came in pretty close behind. 6) The sets were exquisite [grandmother’s word]. 7) The set changes flowed, and some pieces were moved by the actors. 7) It was great, and they did a wonderful job.

This keen little girl also commented on the building, including the beautiful artwork on the ceiling. Would little Mayah return to the theatre to see SOM? “Yes!” Would little Mayah return to the theatre to see other musicals? “Yes!”