* Martin Beck Theatre, New York City * Music by Richard Rodgers* Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II * Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse * Directed by Susan H. Schulman

A Broadway revival of The Sound of Music produced by Hallmark sounds like it should star Marie Osmond or Debbie Boone and cater to Disney-fed families who couldn’t get tickets to The Lion King. Surprisingly, this Sound of Music is much less icky than you’d expect. Director Susan H. Schulman, who staged the much-praised “pocket” revival of Sweeney Todd, is a real artist who demands high values in acting, design, and music.

Heading a unanimously talented cast, Rebecca Luker is an excellent and honest Maria. Musical theater queens will appreciate the opportunity to re-evaluate Rodgers & Hammerstein’s final collaboration -- noticing, perhaps, that it’s basically The King and I with swastikas. In keeping with the current Broadway trend toward overplaying the dark subtext of World War II dramas, Schulman has the von Trapps crooning “Edelweiss” in front of a Nazi flag. It certainly has the effect of turning the narrative heat up underneath the show that brought us raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

The Advocate, April 28, 1998

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