Talkin’ Broadway: The Sound of Music

Originally published on Talkin’ Broadway.

When I was in high school, my drama teacher absolutely refused to even consider mounting a production of The Sound of Music, claiming that once the movie was made, it was pointless to do the show without the actual Alps in the background, not to mention the unfairness of asking a young actress to compete with the indelible image of Julie Andrews. And surely, approaching a production of The Sound of Music in an age when two generations have been brought up on the classic film must leave many directors asking themselves, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” Happily, director Jane Staab at the Wheelock Family Theatre has found the answer in the person of Angela Williams, a Maria so effervescent that by the time the Von Trapp children are introduced, you’ll be saying “Julie Who?”

While both the Boston press and the Talkin’ Broadway chatterati have said much about Maria being played by an African-American woman – even the one-paragraph publicity blurb makes sure to describe Williams as a gospel singer – you will forget it ever mattered once Williams bursts through the doors of the theatre to sing the timeless title song. Fear not – she sings the score with a perfectly appropriate Broadway style, not a single gospel inflection in evidence. But what a voice she has! And what charm! Williams is the real thing, an actress who makes Maria believable without becoming syrupy, a singer who handles the ballads and up-tempos equally as well, and most importantly, a real star presence who nonetheless allows the rest of the ensemble to shine.  Continue reading

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Fynsworth Alley: Rebecca Luker

Originally published on Fynsworth Alley.

Rebecca Luker

Rebecca Luker

REBECCA LUKER is currently starring in The Music Man on Broadway. She has also starred in The Sound Of Music, Show Boat, The Secret Garden, and The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and she can be heard on her Fynsworth Alley cd, Anything Goes: Rebecca Luker sings Cole Porter.

DL: You’re from Alabama, and I understand you were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame there. What’s that about?

RL: Paul Luney started this whole thing three years ago, down in Tuscaloosa. He just wanted to honor Alabamians that had done something in the arts. I am very, very honored, because the night I was honored this past March, To Kill A Mockingbird was also being honored, and Truman Capote was also being honored. I was flattered to death. It was a lovely ceremony. I’m still not sure why it happened, but I’m very, very honored that it did, and now I’m on a plaque on a wall at a Tuscaloosa college, and I have a plaque on my coffee table. It’s very sweet. It was just a lovely night.

DL: When you grew up there, were you involved in theatre and the arts in the community?

RL: Certainly as a young child I was not at all. I sang at church, at school, and in various groups, but we weren’t theatre-going people. There wasn’t much to see around there. I saw the occasional children’s theatre, but there just wasn’t time for that. It wasn’t part of our culture. As I grew up, I began to watch movie musicals when I could, but I still was very removed from that world.
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