Read reviews for The Muny's The Sound of Music, the second show of the theatre's 103rd season. The Sound of Music runs through August 9, 2021.
The cast includes Kate Rockwell (Maria Rainer), Michael Hayden (Captain Georg von Trapp), Bryonha Marie Parham (The Mother Abbess), Jenny Powers (Elsa Schraeder), John Scherer (Max Detweiler), Elizabeth Teeter (Liesl von Trapp) and Andrew Alstat (Rolf Gruber), Leah Berry (Sister Margaretta), David Hess (Franz), Michael James Reed (Herr Zeller), April Strelinger (Frau Schmidt), Jerry Vogel (Admiral von Schreiber), Jillian Depke (Brigitta von Trapp), Parker Dzuba (Kurt von Trapp), Abby Hogan (Marta von Trapp), Amelie Lock (Louisa von Trapp), Kate Scarlett Kappel (Gretl von Trapp) and Victor de Paula Rocha (Friedrich von Trapp).
A high-spirited ensemble completes this cast, including Jordan Bollwerk, Emma Gassett, Madison Geiger (Gretl von Trapp understudy), Ta'Nika Gibson, Julie Hanson, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Beth Kirkpatrick, Debby Lennon, Eric Jon Mahlum, Leann Schuering, Blakely Slaybaugh and Taylor Tveten. The company will also be joined by the Muny Teen youth ensemble.The Sound of Music features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and is suggested by "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp. James Lindhorst, BroadwayWorld: "Often productions of The Sound of Music rely on the audience's fondness for the movie or the familiar score and settle for a flat production without an emotional connection to the material. Kunkel's The Sound of Music gives more than just a nostalgic look at a beloved classic. This production is rich with emotion and tension and exceeds all expectations." Phillip Harner, St. Louis Post Dispatch: "Rockwell brings verve and nuance to Maria, capturing the character's blend of warmth, wit and insecurity. Hayden is outstanding as the gruff but morally unshakable Von Trapp. The children are spiritedly played by Elizabeth Teeter, Victor de Paula Rocha, Amelie Lock, Parker Dzuba, Jillian Depke, Abby Hogan and Kate Scarlett Kappel. Powers and Scherer set a new standard for jaded sophistication. And as the Mother Abbess, Bryonha Marie Parham delivers "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," a song that rivals "The Impossible Dream" for overfamiliarity, with such grandeur and grace that it sounds brand new."
Three years ago, Clay Walker decided to have a little conversation with God.
The conversation came at a time when the '90s staple with the storied career — encompassing four platinum albums and a slew of No. 1 singles — found himself treading water a bit within an ever-changing country music industry in which his brand of music started to feel a touch out of place.
"There was a point that I told God, 'You know, I've always envisioned that I was going to have an enormous career and all that, but this is in your hands, and I surrender,'" Walker, 51, remembers during a revealing interview with PEOPLE. "I basically said, 'If you want this for me, I'm all in. And if there is something else out there for me, then I'm all in with that too.'"
So, the Texas native stopped, and he waited, and then the pandemic hit.
And frankly, Walker was confused.
"I said to myself and to God, 'What is going on?'" Walker remembers. "I keep hearing you say 'yes,' but when?"© Provided by People Courtesy Clay Walker Clay Walker
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That when is now, as Walker currently finds himself smack dab in a complete career resurgence, propelled by the release of his 12th full-length album Texas to Tennessee. His first album release with his new label, Walker's drawl and traditional sound effortlessly partners with renewed and refreshed production on songs such as "You Look Good" and "Need a Bar Sometimes," further demonstrating that Walker isn't going anywhere, except perhaps back to the top of the charts.
"Creating this album has been a process that I've enjoyed more this time than ever before," Walker says about the album, which was recorded both in Galveston, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. "It was partly due to the experience I've had in the past doing it, but it was also about the people that help put this one together … and it took a village."
A proud member of that village was famed producer Michael Knox.
"He's an awesome talent," Walker says of Knox, best known for his work with country powerhouse Jason Aldean. "He had a vision for this album that he called it to happen. The focus that was put on it by everyone involved, led by him, was an amazing thing to watch."
What surprised Walker most was the fact that Knox had no interest in encouraging the country traditionalist to transform into something other than who he was in an effort to fit in some country music mold.
He wanted Clay Walker … to be Clay Walker.
"[Michael] wanted this to be my most authentic album," recalls Walker of his new record, which was also co-produced by chart-topping songwriter Jaron Boyer. "He wanted me to have a hand in writing every song. So, he put me with a bucket of writers who all were so phenomenal and who all were so different. It was never about getting in there and writing a hit song. He would tell the writers that 'it was about focusing on who Clay is and writing the song directly about him.' And that was it. It was the nicest experience I've ever had."© Courtesy Clay Walker Clay Walker
It was yet another piece of the beautiful puzzle that is Walker's life. Earlier this year, Walker and wife Jessica welcomed their fifth child together, son Christiaan Michael, a "blue-eyed little man that always seems to have a serious look on his adorable face."
"A lot of people ask, why do I need that many children?" Walker, a father of seven, says with a slight chuckle. "The fact is that it's not as much 'a need' as it is 'a want.'"
RELATED: Clay Walker and Wife Jessica Welcome Son Christiaan Michael: 'He's Perfect in Every Way'© Provided by People Courtesy Clay Walker Clay Walker
Granted, Walker admits that the family does get some funny looks when they are out and about.
"We'll go into a restaurant, and you know, the hostess will want to sit us in some table the farthest away," exclaims Walker, who says he feels younger now than any other point of his life. "But then, people will get up and walk over to our table when they're finished eating and tell us that they've never seen kids so well behaved."
Indeed, it's a life that he and his wife have always dreamed of.
"The reason why I wanted to be with Jessica is because the first time we ever met, I asked her what she wanted to do with her life and she said, 'I want to be a mom,'" remembers Walker, who has amassed a whole new generation of fans as of late, in part to his nearly one million TikTok followers. "I fell in love with her immediately."
And while he knows that a career on an upswing may eventually mean less time at home, Walker says he has learned to appreciate the little moments now more than ever.
"I lay Christiaan on my chest, and he falls asleep and it's the sweetest thing to see before I fall asleep," Walker shares. "That's my greatest joy in my life, seeing my kids and seeing them learn and teaching them what their purpose is in life."
Justin Bieber took to his Instagram Stories on Wednesday to apologize for promoting Morgan Wallen's "Dangerous: The Double Album," six months after the country singer was caught on video using a racial slur.
The since-deleted post reportedly read, "Love this album," written over a screenshot of Wallen's album.
Soon after, Bieber issued an apology, explaining: "I had no idea that the guy's music i posted was recently found saying racist comments."
MORE: Morgan Wallen speaks to 'GMA' about being filmed using racial slur
"As you know i don't support or tolerate any sort of racism or discrimination. I had no idea, I sincerely apologize to anyone i offended," he continued.
"When I was a kid, I was incredibly ignorant and said some very hurtful racist jokes that clearly were not funny," he shared in a second post. "I hurt a lot of people especially the Black people in my life but was fortunate enough to have had them educate me on the horrifying origin of the n-word. This brings those painful memories back up, I will always take ownership for my ignorance and my past because I know I am not that person."
Bieber was likely referring to a video that surfaced in 2014 in which he, then 15, could be heard making a racist joke using a racial epithet. He quickly apologized.
A few days later, another video of Bieber came out also capturing him using the slur, followed by yet another apology.
MORE: Justin Bieber issues statement acknowledging he has 'benefited off of black culture'
In Wednesday's apology, the singer also acknowledged that he has "so much more to learn" and said he is grateful for his "Black brothers and sisters for being patient" with him.
Justin Bieber apologizes for promoting Morgan Wallen's music after learning of singer's racial slur originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com