Do-Re-Me Your Way to the Hottest Show in Town

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The streets of Seattle are alive with The Sound of Music this holiday season. And it’s the perfect chance to bring your brood to the 5th Avenue Theatre and start a new (or continue an old) holiday tradition. From raindrops on roses to whiskers on kittens, this hometown production has wrapped up everything families love about this classic tale in a brown paper package tied neatly with string. Read on for a few of our favorite things!

Tracy Martin Sound of Music Maria and Kids

photo: Tracy Martin

Favorite Things… About the Show
Taking on a beloved, well-known production like The Sound of Music can be well… intimidating. Expectations run high. Audiences want to see the show they know and love. Luckily, talking on favorites is something that The 5th Avenue Theatre has lots of experience with. They also have a definite knack for preservation, keeping in all the show’s elements that make it so appealing in the first place. So goes the holiday production of The Sound of Music. The delightful songs, the iconic characters and the compelling story? They’re all in there. It’s a joyfully familiar show, just the way we like it. Bravo!

Eideweiss 5th Ave Sound of Music Tracy Martin

 photo: Tracy Martin

Favorite Things… for Kids
Kids, kids and more kids! The seven von Trapp children are the true stars of this show, at least from the pint-sized perspective. Each one of the young actors plays his or her role with confidence and panache, drawing in and charming the youngest audience members with ease. Maybe the kids in the audience see themselves in these classic characters that range in age from 4 to 16 going on 17? Maybe they’re just super into upcycled curtain fashions? Whatever the reason, these seven characters will capture your sidekick’s attention from the moment they take the stage.

Maria sings with kids 5th ave SOM Tracy Martin

photo: Tracy Martin

The quick pacing of the story keeps kidlets rived too. Right out of the gate, Maria, expertly played by Kristen deLohr Helland, is belting out a familiar fave on a hilltop, before returning late to the abbey. It’s a story element that rings true for little theatergoers who often get lost in daydreams during school or at the dinner table. Maria is so their people! And let’s not forget the timeless, totally singable songs Maria and the von Trapp crew sing throughout the production. Each one plays out just as adorably on stage as it did oh-so-many years ago on the big screen. Just try keeping your giddy smile at bay when Maria first introduces the uniformed children to the Do-Re-Mi principles, or during that moment of magical realism when the von Trapp children sign off in song for Georg and the Baroness’s party guests. The whole first act is one hard-hitting musical number after the next, each with total kid-appeal.

Von Trapp Kids before Bed 5th Ave SOM Mark Kitaoka

photo: Mark Kitaoka

Favorite Things… for Parents
Watching this show from a parent perspective is truly a treat as well. Not only will Georg’s parenting techniques have you rethinking the use of whistles in your own home, but there’s an irresistibly warm feeling you get watching Helland portray Maria. The authentic joy in her relationship with these kids tugs at the heartstrings, with the same weight punch lines about kids-being-kids antics fall on well-tuned parent ears. You’ll be smiling (and probably singing a little too!) watching this show through wise parent eyes.

Von Trapp Family Singers 5th Ave Tracy Martin

 photo: Tracy Martin

Good to Know
There are a few things to think about when you take your sidekick to see The Sound of Music. First, there’s the run time. Clocking in at two hours and 45-minutes (with a 10-minute intermission) it’s a long show to sit through for wiggle worm kiddos and makes for a very late night if an evening performance is on your wish list. But there are some easy work-arounds here. Try a weekend matinee to make sure everyone is wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for this spectacular production. And grab a seat cushion at the door (or at the coat check) so your little viewer can keep her eyes on the action. Because it’s hard to get squirmy once this story takes hold! Remember, the 5th Avenue’s shows are for patrons four years and older; even babes in arms need to stay home.

Escaping Nazis SOM 5th Ave Mark Kitaoka

photo: Mark Kitaoka

There are also a few dramatic moments late in the second act that require a parent’s watchful eye. The big chase scene after Edelweiss is ripe to grow larger than life in little imaginations, with lots of loud whistles and spotlights erratically searching the audience for the escaped von Trapp family. It’s an effective method to build tension in the story (and luckily we know how it ends), but might get scary for some kiddos. Talking about the scene up front is one way to reassure your sidekick. Or consider ducking out early, at the same time the von Trapps do, to avoid the scene altogether. Whether the show ends happily on stage with a song or with the von Trapp family climbing the Alps together, your kidlet will enjoy the full theater experience.

MKitaoka Maria 5th Ave Sound of Musicphoto: Mark Kitaoka 

Favorite Things… for the Season
If the spirit of the season moves you, there are a few ways families can give through the 5th Avenue Theatre this holiday. The first is to Pay It Forward. It’s a simple way to give the gift of theater to kids and families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend a live stage production. Patrons can donate online or give a quick call to the Development Office (206-971-7900) to make a donation. Even a gift of $25 provides a ticket for someone in need. The 5th Avenue Theatre is also partnering with Treehouse to keep foster kids warm and cozy this winter in new pajamas. To give, simply bring a pair of new or gently used pj’s to the show and drop them off at the Skinner Building lobby (just before the marquee, past Union St.) before the curtain rises. It couldn’t be any easier to see a show and do some good while you’re at it.

The 5th Avenue Theatre
1326 5th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98101
206-625-1900 (Box Office)

Ages: 4 & up
Dates: Through Jan. 3, 2016; no shows Dec. 7, 8, 14, 16, 25 & 31, or Jan. 1.
Times: Mon., 6 p.m.; Tues. & Wed., 7:30 p.m.; Thurs. & Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sun., 1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. Be sure to check the online calendar, as show times around the holidays vary.
Cost: $29-$150

Do you plan to see the show with your kids? Have you already been? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below.

— Allison Sutcliffe