(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 10/28.)
Most Marias are depicted as nurturers-in-waiting. All the reluctant postulant needs is a guitar, a set of old curtains and seven militarized munchkins and you've got Austria's stepmother of the year. But, in director Rachel Rockwell's magnificent new production of “The Sound of Music” at the Drury Lane Theatre, when the Mother Abbess — she who looks out a mountain and immediately wants others to climb it — first commands Maria chez von Trapp, the irrepressible young actress Jennifer Blood lets out the kind of snort of horror that was never in Julie Andrews' bag of tricks.
But it makes perfect sense: Maria might have struggled to choose between life in the dreamy Nonnberg Abbey and life swanning around her beloved mountains picking edelweiss, but few girls her age would crave an instant brood. Nor their messed-up, middle-aged father.