THE SOUND OF MUSIC, at Way Off Broadway
The Sound of Music
When a postulant proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Her growing rapport with the youngsters, coupled with her generosity of spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern Captain, and they marry. Upon returning from their honeymoon they discover that Austria has been invaded by the Nazis, who demand the Captain’s immediate service in their navy. The family’s narrow escape over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II provides one of the most thrilling and inspirational finales ever presented in the theatre.
The final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein was destined to become one of the most beloved musicals ever. Not a day goes by when there is not a production of The Sound of Music playing somewhere around the world. And the motion picture version remains the most popular movie musical of all time.
The Sound of Music opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November 1959 starring Mary Martin, who had starred in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific on Broadway and in London, as Maria and Theodore Bikel as Captain von Trapp. The original production ran for nearly four years and over 1,400 performances, winning five Tony Awards including best Actress in a Musical (Martin) and Best Musical. The national tour that followed crisscrossed the country for two years and opened with Florence Henderson starring as Maria.
It was six years after the Broadway premier that The Sound of Music made its way to the silver screen. The motion picture adaption starred Julie Andrew as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp. At the 38th Academy Awards, the film received ten nominations and took home five awards, including Best Picture.
While the musical was produced locally and regionally on a regular basis, and the movie was frequently seen on television, it was not until 1998, 39 years after it first opened in New York, that Broadway hosted a revival of the popular Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. The production ran for over 570 total performances and received a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Musical and four Outer Critics Circle nominations.