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July 8, 2008
More sounds of "Music"

The current production of "The Sound of Music" at the Music Circus demonstrates not only the tuneful mastery of song writers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein but it also reminds us of their often invisable craftmanship as well. The production includes two songs ( "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way to Stop It") performed by Elsa Schraeder (Elizabeth Ward Land), the presumptive fiance of the Captain, Max Detweiler (Dick Decareau) the charming chiseling family friend and Captain von Trapp (George Dvorsky).
The songs function several ways pushing the plot forward while revealing character. They add lyrical diversity to the score as more urbane expressions that stand out in contrast to the other songs, which are much more earnest and pastoral.
"How Can Love Survive" comically tells us who Elsa is describing and the nature of her relationship with the Captain. The tune suggests this coupling of the very rich would be a marriage of convenience as much as anything. While wondering if their "love" can survive the "gold plated chains" which has them "trapped by our capital gains" the song also foreshadows the Captain's eventual embrace of Maria because of love and nothing more.
The cautionary "No Way to Stop It" has Elsa and Max suggesting to the Captain that he just let the Nazis think he is on their side, the way they do. Coming at the top of the second act the song lets us know the Anschluss has taken place and the Nazi's are now in control of Austria. It also tells us where each person stands with the new political regime. As Elsa and the Captain agree to part we also know he can pursue Maria.
Interestingly, because of their content, both of these songs were cut from the movie. Added, however, was the ballad "Something Good" between Maria and the Captain and though all revivals don't necessarily include the song it's being done here for the first time.

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