Why EVERYbody Ought to See the Sound of Music

Posted by Susan On September 3, 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Last night was an absolutely flawless final summer performance of our town’s very popular production of The Sound of Music, and my husband agreed– reluctantly– to accompany me to it. My daughter, son-in-law, and I had managed (hooray!) to get front row center seats, but at the last minute my son-in-law wrenched his back and wasn’t able to sit through the performance, so I convinced my husband to go in his place. 

Before I say anything else, I need to be upfront in confessing that I have never been able to sit though the classic movie even once. With all due respect to those who believe that Julie Andrews is the best of the best, the acting in the movie is just too melodramatic for my liking, and this particular movie was definitely not on my short list of musicals to be celebrated. Please don’t stone me. 

That being said, for the last 25+ years, our Bavarian tourist town in the stunning Cascade Mountains has been the breathtaking backdrop for remarkable live outdoor performances of The Sound of Music that consistently draw sold out crowds for all 20 shows every summer. 

My first introduction to this live show was c. 2000 when I was a reporter for the local newspaper, writing feature stories on businesses and the arts. The outstanding performances in such a stunning outdoor venue under the canopy of stars on a balmy summer evening had an irresistible draw, and I became hopelessly hooked. Though we’ve both retired since then, I developed a friendship with the executive producer through interviews with her back then, and my son later married her daughter. (Oh, the infinite perks of live theater!) 

My oldest granddaughter was six when she auditioned and was cast in the role of Gretl von Trapp, which was a significant accomplishment considering about 60 kids turn up to audition each year for roles as von Trapp children. Since she lived a couple of hours away, she spent that spring with us as I eagerly got her to early rehearsals on time and picked her up from the late ones, packed her snacks and lunches, drove her to costume fittings and photographer sessions, and became her biggest fan during the performances that summer. We also made life long memories, and I have a treasured picture indelibly burned into my heart and mind of her skipping down the hill ahead of me as we were leaving the outdoor theater in the woods after a rehearsal. Now, she’s a teenager.

I would have guessed that was a once-in-a-lifetime memory– but lo and behold, the next year her little sister was cast in the same role… and for the next 7 years, four of my grandkids (siblings and cousins) have been cast off and on in various roles as Gretl, Marta, Kurt, Brigitta, Friedric, and Louisa. This is an important fact, because by it, you can only imagine how many times I have therefore seen this live show. Even I myself am left to only imagine, because I’ve lost track of the actual count long, long, long ago– which is why my husband “reluctantly” agreed to accompany me to the show last night. 

“Haven’t you seen that show enough times already this summer?” he asked. 

No, I haven’t. It will never be enough because although the show changes every year– different directors, different actors, different vocalists and musicians, different costumes, various changes in songs, set, expressions, innuendos, scenes– the story of one man’s unwavering commitment to do what is right, even in the face of intense pressure to compromise, never changes. And I will always need to hear it again and again.

In it, the Captain refused to cooperate with the Nazi invasion of Austria, even when his closest friends urged him to conform, and even when it became a dangerous sacrifice for his own family. In our current cultural climate that seeks to force conformity to politically correct thought, it’s so refreshing to see a consistent reminder that we need not– must not– bend in the face of pressure, but stand strong and do what is right and just. Yes, some may be offended by our firm resolve, but we must stand firm nevertheless.

In our current reality, this kind of stubborn non-conformity is ridiculed, not celebrated. In many ways, we’re being forced into conformity to ideas that we do not adhere to. Those of us who have strong, unwavering beliefs are labeled as intolerant, and yet even in the crux of accusation, I truly believe that our culture is actually crying out for stories that emblazon us with the resolve to stand firm in what we believe is right, even when everyone else around us backs down and compromises.

The impelling cry in our society is for godless socialism, but it isn’t intolerance when we disagree. It’s right for us to dig in our heels and reject what we know will destroy our culture and our nation. We will dig in our heels, even when everyone around us is pressuring us to compromise, as we affirm our belief in the rule and authority of God and His instructions for life, community, men, and nations.  

There are so many good reasons why everybody ought to see The Sound of Music! “A captain with seven children? What’s so fearful about that?” Maria sings. In the context of this story, I love the affirmation that children are a blessing. Under Maria’s influence, the children turn from bored, mindless behavioral problems into respectful, talented, skilled children who bring much joy to others as they affirm their love for God, country, and freedom. (Have I mentioned how grateful I am that our grandkids have found such a creative, affirming– albeit hardworking and sacrificial– way to spend their summers, bringing such joy to so many people? Like Maria did, we too ought to find ways to draw out the creativity and God-given talent of our children in constructive ways.)

And if there’s one point of the story that brings me to the verge of tears, it’s when Maria cries out to Mother Abbess in her despair that she’s disappointed God by falling in love with the Captain, and the wise nun tells her, “Maria, the love between a man and a woman is holy too!” In our current culture, it’s surprising that this line in the story hasn’t been changed to be more politically correct, and yet the very fact that it hasn’t is the reason that this show consistently draws a whopping 10,480 people every summer to come and see it again. 

I think we’re deceived if we buckle and believe the noise of the loudly squeaky wheels that are trying to deceive us into thinking that the majority of people want to conform to their politically correct agenda. The consistent success of The Sound of Music shows us otherwise. It shows us that what people really want is to hear stories– again and again– of unwavering adherence to what is right in order to strengthen our resolve, embolden us, give us the courage to stand firm in the ideas we believe are right and true, that God is real and with Him as our guide, we “shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace.” That’s the only way that “the mountains and the hills will break forth into singing…” 

As you can imagine, my husband completely enjoyed the performance, as I knew he would. May the great success of The Sound of Music continue long, and may it always be so bold as to remain politically incorrect, even if forced to conform. 


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