Nearly a decade before the original Mel Brooks’ film “The Producers, ” Broadway did have singing Nazis but it wasn’t done for laughs. The play was 1959’s “The Sound of Music,” which is far better known in its beloved 1965 film version. Bringing fans of “The Sound of Music” sing-along phenomenon to the play will confuse them, as there are a handful of songs that the movie cut and several of the showstoppers are in different places in the play than the movie. For those who want to “start from the very beginning,” Light Opera Works is closing out its twenty-fifth anniversary season with a holiday staging of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s final work together (Hammerstein died shortly after the play opened) which has the most convincing faux folk song ever written with “Edelweiss,” a last-minute replacement that folks everywhere still swear is an Austrian original. Nonetheless, the real Maria von Trapp—a crusty, cynical individual the virtual opposite of her portrayal who had sold the rights to her family’s story to a German film company long before Rodgers and Hammerstein set it to music—would often scold those who would ask her to sing it, saying that she preferred to sing real folk music, not that fake Rodgers and Hammerstein stuff. (Dennis Polkow)
Dec. 26 – Jan. 1, Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson, Evanston; (847)869-6300.