Preview: The Sound of Music at TPAC

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A musical favorite opens on Valentine's Day, and "Mother Abbess" talks about the new approach.

One of the most popular musicals of all time — The Sound of Music — comes to TPAC’s Jackson Hall next week, opening on Valentine’s Day with a special Kid’s Night (see info below).  The last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, it became a Broadway smash in 1959 starring Mary Martin. The current national tour is promising a new approach to the beloved favorite, as directed by three-time Tony-Award winner Jack O’Brien.

“This is an opportunity we’ve all longed to create,” O’Brien says. “The Sound of Music has been in our ears for decades, but it’s no longer your mother’s familiar Sound of Music. We are tearing off the varnish of the past and making it fresh!” he adds.

Curious about what’s new with the production? Higher stakes, for one.

“It’s more human in regard to what we might experience in this day and time,” says actress Melody Betts (Mother Abbess). “The stakes are higher and the danger is more real. We translate to the audience that we are in serious danger, and I don’t know if that has ever been done before,” she adds, referring to the nuns taking charge of the situation when the Nazis threaten to thwart the von Trapp family’s escape. “I think previous productions have been safe and done on the surface level. Jack made us dive in a little bit deeper into the relationships,” says Betts.

For nearly a year, Betts has enjoyed traveling with the show, her first national tour. The homeschooling mom of a 12-year-old (who often joins her on the road), when apart, Betts stays connected to her daughter via Facetime.

Sound of Music

Melody Betts as “Mother Abbess” performing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in “The Sound of Music.” Photo by Matthew Murphy”CLIMB EV’RY MOUNTAIN”

KID TAKEAWAY:
A LIFE OF PURPOSE

One of the themes in The Sound of Music is finding one’s own path. It’s a topic Betts hopes will resonate with kids in the audience.

“Maria was so hellbent on being something and doing something that she thought was the right thing instead of allowing herself to just be,” says Betts. “When she finally let go of this idea and  allowed herself to live her fullest life and meet her fullest potential, it was then she was put in the place where she needed to be,” she adds.

“It was a purpose-filled life,” Betts continues, “and I just hope that’s what young people gather from this — that they will find the exact place that they’re supposed to be in this world.”

IF YOU GO:

The Sound of Music
Feb. 14 – 19; All ages
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m., Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 & 8 p.m., Sun 1 & 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $45 – $90

** Opening night (Valentine’s Day) is Kids’ Night on Broadway at TPAC. One hour before show time, free children’s activities take place in the lobby. Get buy-one-get-one-free tickets for Kids’ Night only by using code KIDS2017 (offer subject to change; ticket discount is available only while the offer lasts).

Featured picture: “My Favorite Things” featuring Melody Betts as Mother Abbess and Charlotte Maltby as Maria Rainer in The Sound of Music. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy.

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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