The legendary play, ‘The Sound of Music’ is based on the journal of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Songs from the play have gained immense popularity worldwide and amongst others include ‘The Sound of Music,’ ‘Edelweiss,’ ‘My Favorite Things,’ ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain,’ and ‘Do-Re-Mi.’ The original Broadway debuted in November 1959 and the show has been produced many a times since then. It was made into a movie musical in 1965 that later won an Academy Award. It was the last play co-authored by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The latter died of cancer nine months after the opening of the Broadway play.
The Sound of Music opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and had 1,443 performances. It was directed and choreographed by Vincent J. Donehue and Joe Layto respectively. The original Broadway 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 Schraeder, Brian Davies as Rolfe, and Lauri Peters as Liesl. The Broadway production of The Sound of Music won various awards including the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Actress in a Musical (Mary Martin), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Patricia Neway), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Oliver Smith), and Best Musical Direction.
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The Sound of Music was also nominated for the Best Featured Actor in a Musical (both Theodore Bikel and Kurt Kasznar) and Best Director of a Musical (Vincent J. Donehue). Interestingly, the entire children’s cast was nominated for Best Featured Actress as a single nominee despite the fact that two of the said children were boys. The Sound of Music’s London production was performed at the Palace Theatre on May 18, 1961 for the first time and was closed after 2,385 performances. The London version was directed by Jerome Whyte and used the original choreography and sets (designed by Oliver Smith) from Broadway. Both Jeannie Carson and Nancy Dussault played the role of Maria alternatively during its run. Jon Voight, who eventually married co-star Lauri Peters was a substitute for Rolfe’s part. The national tour, however, included Florence Henderson.
Petula Clark starred in the revival of The Sound of Music in 1981 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London’s West End. Michael Jayston and Honor Blackman played the roles of Captain von Trapp and the Baroness respectively. Despite Clark’s qualms as to whether or not she will be able to do justice to her role because of her age (she was 49 at the time), she gave a remarkable performance evident from the fact that it opened to the largest advance sale in the history of British theatre at that time. The Snow Troupe of Takarazuka Revue performed The Sound of Music at the Bow Hall (Takarazuka, Hyogo) in 1988. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre’s production of The Sound of Music directed by Richard Hamburger and featuring songs by Christiane Noll as Maria is touring the world. It opened on May 9, 2008 in Salzburg and is schedules to run until December 2008.