Lyric’s new production of The Sound of Music is a bona fide hit, with critics calling it “the sound of perfection” and the “best stage production in Chicago in years.” (WGN TV). Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune calls it “a lavish yet accessible and family-oriented affair.”
If you haven’t seen the production (or plan to see it again!), here’s a guide to how the stage musical differs from the screen version.
Lyric is presenting the original, critically acclaimed 1959 Broadway production with music by Rodgers and Hammerstein with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. If you’ve only seen the beloved 1965 film version with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, here are three major differences!
“My Favorite Things” Maria and the Mother Abbess sing “My Favorite Things” together at the abbey, rather than the children with Maria during the later storm scene. However, the children still sing it when they are wishing for Maria’s return at the beginning of Act 2.
“The Lonely Goatherd” In the original stage version and as presented by Lyric, Maria distracts the children during the storm with “The Lonely Goatherd.” The film moved the song later in the story and added the marionettes. However, Lyric’s staging of the song includes clever nods to that famous scene from the film.
Elsa and Max sing? The movie omitted two songs sung by the characters of Elsa Schraeder and Max Detweiler, “How Can Love Survive?” in Act 1 and “No Way to Stop It” in Act 2. You’ll hear both here at Lyric! They are not only delightful songs that showcase actors Elizabeth Futral and Edward Hibbert, but they also help ground the story in the politics of Austria just before the German annexation.
While the production is very faithful to the original stage version, Lyric is making two key additions to—Maria’s show-stopping solo number “I Have Confidence” in Act 1 and substituting “Something Good” for “Ordinary Couple” as the Captain and Maria’s love song in Act 2. Both “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good” were written by Richard Rodgers especially for the film.
Why these two additions? Director Marc Bruni notes that most major productions since the film came out have used “Something Good.” In Lyric’s case, Bruni says “that decision was based mostly on the idea that both songs serve a similar purpose and our creative team prefers the latter.”
In the case of “I Have Confidence,” Bruni felt that the song served a key dramatic purpose both in the story and in the huge space of the Civic Opera House. “I am a great admirer of the recitative section at the top of ‘Confidence’ and believe it gives us a window into the thoughts of Maria at that point of the narrative,” he notes. “It replaces what in the original production was a short reprise of ‘My Favorite Things.’ I find the fuller statement of ‘I Have Confidence’ to be more emotionally satisfying—and it gives us a chance to take advantage of the scale of the opera house in transitioning from the abbey to the exterior of the von Trapp villa.”
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