Sunday, August 17, 2008


Featured in yesterday's LINCOL CENTER OUT OF DOORS was Douglas Elkins' witty take on "The Sound of Music" at Damrosch Park. The photos above were taken during one of the dance numbers and the curtain call. The dancers performed to the songs from the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music.” The performances were fun and enjoyable sendups of the beloved musical's lyrics and characters. This season's programs offer something for absolutely everyone, from tributes to cultural icons to cross-cultural collaborations that cross the lines of genre and geography.

Review from the New York Times (Alastair Macaulay):
Are there sociologists at work tracing the influence of Julie Andrews on child consciousness over the last five decades? The recent London and New York stage productions of “Mary Poppins,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “The Sound of Music” are all part of this phenomenon, as is the British cult show “Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music.”

The choreographer Doug Elkins’s “Fräulein Maria” (seen on Saturday night) helps us to label this aspect of culture “Acknowledge Your Own Inner Julie Andrews.” The audience gurgles with joy as the dancers hold up lengths of fabric to resemble the Alpine skyline; a white shirt is thrown over one summit to become a peak of snow. Then, yes, out comes a big shaven-headed man, then a woman, then another woman, all dressed identically as Julie, I mean Maria.

It’s all so cheerfully emblematic of a higher silliness that it’s almost wonderful, and the audience loves boosting it with participation and applause. Key roles are played with gender-swapping and multiple casts. The giddy campiness of it all overflows when the eldest von Trapp girl, played by a large man receiving the attentions of an equally large man, responds to his (lip-synched) declaration of “I am 16, going on 17” by eagerly producing a tape measure to check out his veracity.

Still, I wasn’t alone in tiring of it. (A 9-year-old boy beside me joined in the songs but was baffled by the dances.) Mr. Elkins’s dancers just aren’t precise enough to make the correspondence of dance to words or music delicious. And he doesn’t quite know how to acknowledge his own inner Julie: he keeps starting to release all that innocent hills-are-alive enthusiasm but then undercuts the romance with smart-aleck jokes.

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