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Matt Bejang

The Sound Of Music



The Sound of Music is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children. Many songs from the musical have become standards, including "Do-Re-Mi", "My Favorite Things", "Edelweiss", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", and the title song "The Sound of Music".




The Sound Of Music



The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, opened in 1959[1] and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of nine nominations. The first London production opened at the Palace Theatre in 1961. The show has enjoyed numerous productions and revivals since then. It was adapted as a 1965 film musical starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The Sound of Music was the last musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Oscar Hammerstein died of stomach cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.


After viewing The Trapp Family, a 1956 West German film about the von Trapp family, and its 1958 sequel (The Trapp Family in America), stage director Vincent J. Donehue thought that the project would be perfect for his friend Mary Martin; Broadway producers Leland Hayward and Richard Halliday (Martin's husband) agreed.[2] The producers originally envisioned a non-musical play that would be written by Lindsay and Crouse and that would feature songs from the repertoire of the Trapp Family Singers. Then they decided to add an original song or two, perhaps by Rodgers and Hammerstein. But it was soon agreed that the project should feature all new songs and be a musical rather than a play.[3]


Details of the history of the von Trapp family were altered for the musical. The real Georg von Trapp did live with his family in a villa in Aigen, a suburb of Salzburg. He wrote to the Nonnberg Abbey in 1926 asking for a nun to help tutor his sick daughter, and the Mother Abbess sent Maria. His wife, Agathe Whitehead, had died in 1922. The real Maria and Georg married at the Nonnberg Abbey in 1927. Lindsay and Crouse altered the story so that Maria was governess to all of the children, whose names and ages were changed, as was Maria's original surname (the show used "Rainer" instead of "Kutschera"). The von Trapps spent some years in Austria after Maria and the Captain married and he was offered a commission in Germany's navy. Since von Trapp opposed the Nazis by that time, the family left Austria after the Anschluss, going by train to Italy and then traveling on to London and the United States.[4] To make the story more dramatic, Lindsay and Crouse had the family, soon after Maria's and the Captain's wedding, escape over the mountains to Switzerland on foot.


Maria arrives at the villa of Captain von Trapp. He explains her duties and summons the children with a boatswain's call. They march in, clad in uniforms. He teaches her their individual signals on the call, but she openly disapproves of this militaristic approach. Alone with them, she breaks through their wariness and teaches them the basics of music ("Do-Re-Mi").


Captain von Trapp arrives a month later from Vienna with Baroness Elsa Schrader and Max Detweiler. Elsa tells Max that something is preventing the Captain from marrying her. He opines that only poor people have the time for great romances ("How Can Love Survive"). Rolf enters, looking for Liesl, and greets them with "Heil". The Captain orders him away, saying that he is Austrian, not German. Maria and the children leapfrog in, wearing play-clothes that she made from the old drapes in her room. Infuriated, the Captain sends them off to change. She tells him that the children need him to show his love for them, and he angrily orders her back to the abbey. As she apologizes, they hear the children singing "The Sound of Music", which she had taught them, to welcome Elsa Schrader. He joins in and embraces them. Alone with Maria, he asks her to stay, thanking her for bringing music back into his house. Elsa is suspicious of her until she explains that she will be returning to the abbey in September.


The Sound of Music premiered at New Haven's Shubert Theatre where it played an eight-performance tryout in October and November 1959 before another short tryout in Boston.[9] The musical then opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959, moved to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on November 6, 1962, and closed on June 15, 1963, after 1,443 performances. The director was Vincent J. Donehue, and the choreographer was Joe Layton. The original cast included Mary Martin as Maria, Theodore Bikel as Captain Georg von Trapp, Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess, Kurt Kasznar as Max Detweiler, Marion Marlowe as Elsa Schrader, Brian Davies as Rolf and Lauri Peters as Liesl. Patricia Brooks, June Card and Tatiana Troyanos were ensemble members in the original production. The show tied for the Tony Award for Best Musical with Fiorello!. Other awards included Martin for Best Actress in a Musical, Neway for Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith) and Best Conductor And Musical Director (Frederick Dvonch). Bikel and Kasznar were nominated for acting awards, and Donehue was nominated for his direction. The entire children's cast was nominated for Best Featured Actress category as a single nominee, even though two of the children were boys.[10]


The musical premiered in London's West End at the Palace Theatre on May 18, 1961, and ran for 2,385 performances. It was directed by Jerome Whyte and used the original New York choreography, supervised by Joe Layton, and the original sets designed by Oliver Smith. The cast included Jean Bayless as Maria, followed by Sonia Rees, Roger Dann as Captain von Trapp, Constance Shacklock as Mother Abbess, Eunice Gayson as Elsa Schrader, Harold Kasket as Max Detweiler, Barbara Brown as Liesl, Nicholas Bennett as Rolf and Olive Gilbert as Sister Margaretta.[13][14]


The first Australian production opened at Melbourne's Princess Theatre in 1961 and ran for three years. The production was directed by Charles Hickman, with musical numbers staged by Ernest Parham. The cast included June Bronhill as Maria, Peter Graves as Captain von Trapp and Rosina Raisbeck as Mother Abbess. A touring company then played for years, with Vanessa Lee (Graves' wife) in the role of Maria. The cast recording made in 1961 was the first time a major overseas production featuring Australian artists was transferred to disc.[25][26]


In 1988, the Moon Troupe of Takarazuka Revue performed the musical at the Bow Hall (Takarazuka, Hyōgo). Harukaze Hitomi and Gou Mayuka starred.[27] A 1990 New York City Opera production, directed by Oscar Hammerstein II's son, James, featured Debby Boone as Maria, Laurence Guittard as Captain von Trapp, and Werner Klemperer as Max.[28]


On March 2, 1965, 20th Century Fox released a film adaptation of the musical starring Julie Andrews as Maria Rainer and Christopher Plummer as Captain Georg von Trapp. It was produced and directed by Robert Wise with the screenplay adaptation written by Ernest Lehman. Two songs were written by Rodgers specifically for the film, "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good". The film won five Oscars at the 38th Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


A live televised production of the musical aired twice in December 2013 on NBC.[65] It was directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford.[66] Carrie Underwood starred as Maria, with Stephen Moyer as Captain von Trapp, Christian Borle as Max, Laura Benanti as Elsa, and Audra McDonald as the Mother Abbess.[67] The production was released on DVD the same month.[68]


Most reviews of the original Broadway production were favorable. Richard Watts Jr. of the New York Post stated that the show had "strangely gentle charm that is wonderfully endearing. The Sound of Music strives for nothing in the way of smash effects, substituting instead a kind of gracious and unpretentious simplicity."[71] The New York World-Telegram and Sun pronounced The Sound of Music "the loveliest musical imaginable. It places Rodgers and Hammerstein back in top form as melodist and lyricist. The Lindsay-Crouse dialogue is vibrant and amusing in a plot that rises to genuine excitement."[71] The New York Journal American's review opined that The Sound of Music is "the most mature product of the team ... it seemed to me to be the full ripening of these two extraordinary talents".[71]


Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times gave a mixed assessment. He praised Mary Martin's performance, saying "she still has the same common touch ... same sharp features, goodwill, and glowing personality that makes music sound intimate and familiar" and stated that "the best of the Sound of Music is Rodgers and Hammerstein in good form". However, he said, the libretto "has the hackneyed look of the musical theatre replaced with Oklahoma! in 1943. It is disappointing to see the American musical stage succumbing to the clichés of operetta."[71] Walter Kerr's review in the New York Herald Tribune was unfavorable: "Before The Sound of Music is halfway through its promising chores it becomes not only too sweet for words but almost too sweet for music", stating that the "evening suffer(s) from little children".[71]


Columbia Masterworks recorded the original Broadway cast album at the Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City a week after the show's 1959 opening. The album was the label's first deluxe package in a gatefold jacket, priced $1 higher than previous cast albums. It was No. 1 on Billboard's best-selling albums chart for 16 weeks in 1960.[72] It was released on CD from Sony in the Columbia Broadway Masterworks series.[73] In 1959, singer Patti Page recorded the title song from the show for Mercury Records[74] on the day that the musical opened on Broadway. The 1961 London production was recorded by EMI and released on the HMV label and later re-issued on CD in 1997, on the Broadway Angel label.[75] 041b061a72


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