If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, parody must run a close second. How else to explain the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization letting New York-based contemporary choreographer Doug Elkins use the entire Sound of Music score for his Fräulein Maria? Whereas the original musical featured pink-cheeked children cavorting in repurposed curtains, Elkins' Maria features 12 highly skilled professionals (among them Jefferson Dance alum John Sorenson-Jolink) dancing a gender- and genre-bending mix of modern, ballet and hip-hop, layered with a bit of voguing for good measure. Maria herself is played by three dancers, both male and female; Elkins cast himself as a b-boying Mother Abbess. Like the singalong Sound of Music, Fräulein Maria mines the comedy of a theatrical institution that is both loved and loathed the world over. The piece, which runs 65 minutes without intermission, makes its West Coast debut here.

SEE IT:

Newmark Theatre, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6566. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 13-15. $27.50-$68.50.