Saturday 11 July 2015

Lindsay & Crouse's "The Sound of Music"

"The hills are alive with the sound of music, with songs they have sung for a thousand years." 
(The Sound of Music)

The Sound of Music debuted at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959.  Loosely based on Maria von Trapp's memoir "The Trapp Family Singers", the musical was the last creation of the famous team of Rodgers and Hammerstein.  While the critics considered it too "sappy", audiences loved it.  It ran for 1443 performances before the final curtain came down in 1963.

The original production starred seasoned actress Mary Martin as Maria von Trapp and Theodore Bikel as Captain von Trapp.  Maria is a young nun who enjoys singing in the hills more than reciting her Hail Mary's.  Her Mother Superior sends her to be governess to the seven children of Captain von Trapp, a captain in the Austrian Navy.  While the Captain runs his household the way he would run his ship, Maria gets to know the children.  She plays with them and teaches them how to sing famous songs like "Do, Re, Mi", "Edelweiss" and "My Favourite Things".

Maria starts to have feelings for the Captain.  Unsure of what to do, she returns to the Abbey where Mother Superior suggests that she can't run away from her troubles.  Upon returning to the Trapp's, she hears Captain von Trapp announce that he is engaged to socialite Elsa Schrader.  However, Elsa is a champion of the Anschluss.  The Captain however refuses to greet others with "Heil Hitler" as well as to hang the Nazi flag.  Elsa calls off their engagement.

In the meantime, Captain von Trapp realizes he is really in love with Maria.  After a magnificent church wedding in Salzburg, the children are coached by Max for the upcoming Salzburg Festival. After their performance, with the help of the nuns who sabotage the Nazis' cars, the von Trapps escape through the Alps to Switzerland.

The Sound of Music garnered five Tony Awards and was adapted for the big screen in 1965.  The movie starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.  

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