Cast members of The Sound of Music include (clockwise from left): Avery Bank (Brigitta), Paula Shtein (Liesl), William Darby IV (Captain Georg von Trapp), Sharon M. Kibe (Maria Rainer), Taryn J. Huffman (Louisa), Jillian Savage (Gretl) and Sophia Caraline Ribar (Marta) (Dale Bush Photography)

As you may have heard, Shadowbox Live canceled its production of Into the Woods last week after only one performance.

The problem: The licensing agency learned the troupe had cut music from the show without prior permission. Shadowbox was given the option of restoring the missing music, but it decided the resulting show would have been too long for its purposes. So, bye-bye, Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and all the other familiar characters who were Sondheimized for the offbeat fairy tale.

Are restrictive licensing agreements a bad thing? The theater community could get into a heated debate on that question. On the one hand, they curtail artists’ freedom; on the other, they protect the integrity of the original work. In this case, the licensing dispute closed a show that not only cut music but reimagined many of the characters and plot elements. It clearly was not what creators Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine had in mind.

At least we don’t need to worry about a similar fate befalling SRO’s new production of The Sound of Music. Shaped by seasoned director Frank Barnhart and music director Bryan Babcock, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is traditional in every way. It’s also homey and comfortable.

Perhaps its biggest perk is that it features an actual thespian in the leading role of Maria Rainer, the nun-in-training who’s sent to serve as governess to a wealthy Austrian’s children in the days leading up to World War II. Sharon M. Kibe can both sing and act, unlike the country star who played the role in NBC’s recent live telecast.

And the show’s greatest weakness? That’s easy: the use of recorded accompaniment. No doubt the choice was dictated by budget constraints, but it can’t help robbing the production of some of its potential spontaneity and power. It’s a tribute to the singers’ skills that they often manage to sell the familiar tunes despite the taped instrumentals. Still, it’s not surprising that some of most stirring moments occur when the Mother Abbess (Heather Carvel) and her nuns hold forth a cappella.

Another minor problem: Despite Kibe’s pleasant singing voice and likable portrayal, her Maria seems barely older than some of the children she’s sent to teach. This compromises her ability to come off as an authority figure to the kids and as a believable romantic interest for their widowed father, Captain von Trapp (William Darby IV).

The biggest impediment to romantic sparks, however, is Darby’s overly emotive portrayal of the captain, which threatens to chew up Jim Keller’s simple but functional scenery. In fact, both Darby and Taryn Melynn Barton, who plays his high-society fiancée, shine their brightest after the music starts.

Happily, most of the production’s supporting players are impeccable. All of the von Trapp kids, from tiny Gretl (Jillian Savage) to the “16 going on 17” Liesl (Paula Shtein), are great. More depth is added by John Feather and Dawn Farrell as members of von Trapp’s household staff and a witty Ronald E. Nocks as the conniving Max Detweiler. Strongest of all is Carvel as the dignified but warm-hearted Mother Abbess. When she sings “Climb Every Mountain,” you may be tempted to strap on a pair of hiking boots and head for the hills.

But you won’t, of course, because then you’d have to cut short a relaxing visit with an old musical friend.

SRO will present The Sound of Music through March 2 at the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave. Show times are 10:30 a.m. Friday (discount matinee—adult and senior tickets are $15), 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20, $17 for seniors (55-plus), $15 for members and $10 for students. 614-258-9495 or