Joe and I went to Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center the other afternoon/evening to see an Equity stage performance of The Sound of Music. It’s my all-time #1 favorite movie and Joe knows it. So even though he’s not overly thrilled with anything that’s Rogers & Hammerstein (don’t get me wrong – he loves Broadway and he loves musicals – just not necessarily R&H musicals), he mentioned it to me several weeks back (he loves me!) and I managed to snag some awesome tickets…about 12th or 15th row, dead center.

I should mention here that although I love “all things Sound of Music,” I am very much more of a fan of the movie than I am of the stage show. I had seen the stage show twice before – once when I was “this many” (holding up 3 fingers) at Jones Beach (a stage/arena on Long Island, NY) and I also saw the Broadway revival with Rebecca Luker as Maria in late 1998. I have very few memories of the Jones Beach show (again, I was 3) but wasn’t thrilled with the Broadway version, I think mostly because by that point the movie was so embedded into my brain and I kept comparing. I’ve seen many, many (non-Sound of Music) shows since then and have learned to keep a more open mind about things like that. That being said, I was really looking forward to seeing this production in Tampa.

I was not disappointed.

The cast was very good – awesome singers, no overacting and the kids were not precocious brats. It took a while to get used to Mandy Bruno (Guiding Light) as Maria because (Joe was the one who pinpointed it) she was playing Maria as a Sutton Foster sort of character, not as a Julie Andrews one. Burke Moses played Captain von Trapp and that was even more distracting because he had played Gaston in the Original Broadway Cast of Beauty & the Beast (my #1 favorite Broadway show of all time, before Avenue Q and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee knocked it down to 3rd favorite) and every time the man opened his mouth, my brain “heard” him singing, “we shall be the perfect pair, rather like my thighs!” But those were my own issues with the performers and by Act II I was over it and was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Besides being happy that the production was so good, I was also very pleased to see that all of the (many) children who had been brought to see the show were behaving so well. No crying babies. No kids asking questions too loudly. Very few restroom runs in the middle of scenes. There was one sticking point, though. The Captain and Maria had just realized they were in love so they kissed. But of course it was no ordinary kiss. It was one of those long, slow kisses where you knew the metacommunication was that they were going to devote their lives to each other from that moment forward. Forever and ever. Til death do they part. And in the middle of that kiss, everyone suddenly heard a 5- or 6- or 7-year-old voice from somewhere in the audience say in a voice that echoed throughout the theater, “EEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!”

Funny. As. Hell! The audience exploded in laughter for a good 10 seconds and then took a few more seconds to recuperate and quiet down. The actors onstage seemed nonplussed, though. It’s possible that ‘Maria’ and ‘Georg’ didn’t hear the comment, or perhaps, with all the kids who had seen the show, it wasn’t the first time something like that had happened. Or maybe they were just good actors. But they didn’t break character at all. They just kept kissing and, eventually, simply stared at each other lovingly until the audience had their composure again.

The show was great but that was, by far, the best part of the whole night!

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