The Sound of Music
|The Sound of Music|
Original cast recording
|Lyrics||Oscar Hammerstein II|
|Basis||1956 German film Die Trapp-Familie and Maria von Trapp's autobiography The Story of the Trapp Family Singers|
1961 West End
1981 West End revival
1998 Broadway revival
2006 West End revival
2009–11 UK Tour
2010 Sao Paulo
2011 Spanish Tour
2011 Buenos Aires
2013 U.S. TV special
The Sound of Music (1959) 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 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Many songs from the musical have become standards, such as "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", and the title song "The Sound of Music".
The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, opened on November 16, 1959; the original London production opened at The Palace Theatre on May 18, 1961 starring Jean Bayless and Roger Dann. 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. The Sound of Music was the final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.
- 1 History
- 2 Story
- 3 Musical numbers
- 4 Main characters
- 5 Notable productions
- 6 Film adaption
- 7 Televised production
- 8 Reception
- 9 Cast recordings
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
After viewing The Trapp Family, a 1956 West German film about the von Trapp family, and its 1958 sequel (Die Trapp-Familie in Amerika), 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. 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.
Details of the history of the von Trapp family were altered for the musical. The real Aigen, a suburb of Salzburg, and Maria von Trapp (born Maria Augusta Kutschera) had been sent to be a tutor to one of the children. Lindsey and Crouse altered the story so that Maria was governess to all of them. The names and ages of the children were also altered, 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 was offered a commission to Germany's navy. Since Von Trapp opposed the Nazis by that time the family left Austria after the Anschluss, they went by train to Italy and then traveled to London and the United States. To make the story more dramatic, Lindsey and Crouse had the family, soon after Maria's and the Captain's wedding, escape over the mountains to Switzerland on foot.
In Georg von Trapp.
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").
Rolf, a young messenger, delivers a telegram and then meets with the oldest child, Liesl, outside the villa. He claims he knows what is right for her because he is a year older than she ("Sixteen Going on Seventeen"). They kiss, and he runs off, leaving her screaming with joy. Meanwhile, the housekeeper, Frau Schmidt, gives Maria material to make new clothes, as she had given all her possessions to the poor. She sees Liesl slipping in through the window, wet from a sudden thunderstorm, but agrees to keep her secret. The other children are frightened by the storm. Maria sings "The Lonely Goatherd" to distract them.
Captain von Trapp arrives a month later with Elsa Schräder 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 playclothes that she made from old drapes. Infuriated, the Captain sends them off to change. She tells him that they need him to love 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 Schräder. He joins in, and he then 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 Captain gives a party to introduce Elsa, and guests argue over the Anschluss. Kurt asks Maria to teach him to dance the Ländler. When he is unable to negotiate a complicated figure, the Captain steps in to demonstrate. He and Maria dance until they come face-to-face, and she breaks away, embarrassed and confused. Discussing the expected marriage between Elsa and the Captain, Brigitta tells Maria that she thinks Maria and the Captain are really in love with each other. Elsa asks the Captain to allow the children say goodnight to the guests with a song, "So Long, Farewell". Max is amazed at their talent and wants them for the Kaltzberg Festival, which he is organizing. The guests leave for the dining room, and Maria slips out the front door with her luggage.
At the abbey, Maria says that she is ready to take her monastic vows; but the Mother Abbess realizes that she is running away from her feelings. She tells her to face the Captain and discover if they love each other, and tells her to search for and find the life she was meant to live ("Climb Ev'ry Mountain").
Max teaches the children how to sing on stage. When the Captain tries to lead them, they complain that he is not doing it as Maria did. He tells them that he has asked Elsa to marry him. They try to cheer themselves up by singing "My Favorite Things", but are unsuccessful until they hear Maria singing on her way to rejoin them. Learning of the wedding plans, she decides to stay only until the Captain can arrange for another governess. Max and Elsa argue with him about the imminent Anschluss, trying to convince him that it is inevitable ("No Way to Stop It"). When he refuses to compromise, Elsa breaks off the engagement. Alone, the Captain and Maria finally admit their love, desiring only to be "An Ordinary Couple". As they marry, the nuns reprise "Maria" against the wedding processional.
During the honeymoon, Max prepares the children to perform at the Kaltzberg Festival. Herr Zeller, the Gauleiter, demands to know why they are not flying the flag of the Third Reich now that the Anschluss has occurred. The Captain and Maria return early from their honeymoon before the Festival. In view of developments, he refuses to allow the children to sing. Max argues that they would sing for Austria, but the Captain points out that it no longer exists. Maria and Liesl discuss romantic love; Maria predicts that in a few years Liesl will be married ("Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Reprise)"). Rolf enters with a telegram that offers the Captain a commission in the German Navy and Liesl is upset to discover that Rolf is now a committed Nazi. The Captain consults Maria and decides that they must secretly flee Austria. German Admiral von Schreiber arrives to find out why Captain Von Trapp has not answered the telegram. He explains that the German Navy holds him in high regard, offers him the commission, and tells him to report immediately to Bremerhaven to assume command. Maria says that he cannot leave immediately, as they are all singing in the Festival concert, and the Admiral agrees to wait until after it.
At the concert, after the von Trapps sing an elaborate reprise of "Do-Re-Mi", Max brings out the Captain's guitar. Captain von Trapp sings "Edelweiss", as a subliminal goodbye to his homeland, while using Austria's national flower as a symbol to declare his loyalty to the country. Max asks for an encore and announces that this is the von Trapp family's last chance to sing together, as the honor guard waits to escort the Captain to his new command. While the judges decide on the prizes, the von Trapps sing "So Long, Farewell", leaving the stage in small groups. Max then announces the runners-up, stalling as much as possible. When he announces that the first prize goes to the von Trapps and they do not appear, the Nazis start a search. The family hides at the Abbey, and Sister Margaretta tells them that the borders have been closed. The Nazis do not find them until Rolf comes upon them. He calls his lieutenant, but upon seeing Liesl, he reports that he has found no one. To help them flee, the nuns have secretly sabotaged the cars of the Nazis. The Von Trapps flee over the mountains (the Alps) as the nuns reprise "Climb Ev'ry Mountain".
- The musical numbers listed appeared in the original production unless otherwise noted.
- † Sometimes replaced by "Something Good", which was written for the film version.
- ‡ Replaced by "The Lonely Goatherd" in the 1998 revival.
- In some productions, "My Favorite Things" follows "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" in the thunderstorm scene, while "The Lonely Goatherd" is shifted to the concert scene.
- Many stage revivals have also included "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good", which were written by Richard Rodgers for the film version (since the film was made after original lyricist Oscar Hammerstein's death).
- Although many people believe that "Edelweiss" is a traditional Austrian song, it was in fact written for the musical and did not become known in Austria until after the film's success.
- The Ländler dance performed by Maria and the Captain during the party is only loosely based on the traditional Austrian dance of the same name.
- Maria Rainer, a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey
- Captain Georg von Trapp
- Max Detweiler, Captain von Trapp's friend, a music agent and producer
- The Mother Abbess, the head of Nonnberg Abbey
- Elsa Schrader, "wealthy and sophisticated" and Captain von Trapp's would-be fiancée
- Rolf Gruber, the 17-year-old Nazi delivery boy who is in love with Liesl
- Sister Bertha, the Mistress of Novices
- Sister Margareta, the Mistress of Postulants
- Sister Sophia, a sister at the Abbey
- Herr Zeller, the Gauleiter
- Franz, Captain von Trapp's butler
- Frau Schmidt, Captain von Trapp's housekeeper
- Liesl von Trapp, age 16
- Friedrich von Trapp, age 14
- Louisa von Trapp, age 13
- Kurt von Trapp, age 11
- Brigitta von Trapp, age 10
- Marta von Trapp, age 7
- Gretl von Trapp, age 5
The Sound of Music opened on Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess, Kurt Kasznar as Max Detweiler, Marion Marlowe as Elsa Schrader, Brian Davies as Rolf and Lauri Peters as Liesl. Sopranos Patricia Brooks and June Card 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 Musical Direction (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 children were boys.
Martha Wright replaced Martin in the role of Maria on Broadway in October 1961, followed by Karen Gantz in July 1962, Jeannie Carson in August 1962 and Nancy Dussault in September 1962. Jon Voight, who eventually married co-star Lauri Peters, was a replacement for Rolf. The national tour starred Florence Henderson as Maria and Beatrice Krebs as Mother Abbess. It opened at the Grand Riviera Theater, Detroit, on February 27, 1961 and closed November 23, 1963 at the O'Keefe Centre, Toronto. Henderson was succeeded by Barbara Meister in June 1962. Theodore Bikel was not satisfied playing the role of the Captain, because of the role's limited singing, and Bikel did not like to play the same role over and over again. In his autobiography, he writes: "I promised myself then that if I could afford it, I would never do a run as long as that again." The original Broadway cast album sold three million copies.
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.
1981 London revival
In 1981, at producer Ross Taylor's urging, Petula Clark agreed to star in a revival of the show at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London's West End. Michael Jayston played Captain von Trapp, Honor Blackman was the Baroness and June Bronhill the Mother Abbess. Other notable cast members included Helen Anker, John Bennett and Martina Grant. Despite Clark's misgivings that, at age 49, she was too old to play the role convincingly, Clark opened to unanimous rave reviews (and the largest advance sale in the history of British theatre at that time). Maria von Trapp herself, present at the opening night performance, described Clark as "the best" Maria ever. Clark extended her initial six-month contract to thirteen months. Playing to 101 percent of seating capacity, the show set the highest attendance figure for a single week (October 26–31, 1981) of any British musical production in history (as recorded in The Guinness Book of Theatre). This was the first stage production to incorporate the two additional songs ("Something Good" and "I Have Confidence") that Richard Rodgers composed for the film version. The song "My Favorite Things" was placed into the same context as in the film version and the short verse "A Bell is No Bell" was extended into a full-length song for Maria and the Mother Abbess while "The Lonely Goatherd" was set in a new scene at a village fair. The cast recording of this production was the first to be recorded digitally. In 2010 the UK label 'Pet Sounds' officially released the album on CD with two bonus tracks from the original Epic 45rpm single issued to promote the production.
1998 Broadway revival
In 1998, director Susan H. Schulman staged the first Broadway revival of The Sound of Music, with Rebecca Luker as Maria and Michael Siberry as Captain von Trapp. It also featured Patti Cohenour as Mother Abbess, Jan Maxwell as Elsa Schrader, Fred Applegate as Max Detweiler, Dashiell Eaves as Rolf, Patricia Conolly as Frau Schmidt and Laura Benanti, in her Broadway debut, as Luker's understudy. Later, Luker and Siberry were replaced by Richard Chamberlain as the Captain and Benanti as Maria. Lou Taylor Pucci made his Broadway debut as the understudy for Kurt von Trapp. This revival opened on March 12, 1998, at the Martin Beck Theatre, where it ran for 15 months. It then went on tour in North America. This production was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
2006 London revival
An Andrew Lloyd Webber production opened on November 15, 2006, at the London Palladium and ran until February 2009, produced by Live Nation's David Ian and Jeremy Sams. Following failed negotiations with Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson, the role of Maria was cast through a UK talent search reality TV show called How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? The talent show was produced by (and starred) Andrew Lloyd Webber and featured presenter/comedian Graham Norton and a judging panel of David Ian, John Barrowman and Zoe Tyler.
Connie Fisher was selected by public voting as the winner of the show. In early 2007, Fisher suffered from a heavy cold that prevented her from performing for two weeks. To prevent further disruptions, an alternate Maria, Aoife Mulholland, a fellow contestant on How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?, played Maria on Monday evenings and Wednesday matinee performances. Simon Shepherd was originally cast as Captain von Trapp, but after two preview performances he was withdrawn from the production, and Alexander Hanson moved into the role in time for the official opening date along with Lesley Garrett as the Mother Abbess. After Garrett left, Margaret Preece took the role. The cast also featured Lauren Ward as the Baroness, Ian Gelber as Max, Sophie Bould as Liesl, and Neil McDermott as Rolf. Other notable replacements have included Simon Burke and Simon MacCorkindale as the Captain and newcomer Amy Lennox as Liesl. Summer Strallen replaced Fisher in February 2008, with Mulholland and later Gemma Baird portraying Maria on Monday evenings and Wednesday matinees.
The revival received enthusiastic reviews, especially for Fisher, Preece, Bould and Garrett. A cast recording of the London Palladium cast was released. The production closed on February 21, 2009, after a run of over two years and was followed by a UK national tour, described below.
- 1961 Australian production
- The 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, Rosina Raisbeck as Mother Abbess, Lola Brooks as Elsa Schrader, Eric Reiman as Max Detweiler, Julie Day as Liesl, and Tony Jenkins as Rolf. A touring company then played for years, with Vanessa Lee (Graves' wife) in the role of Maria. A recording was made in 1961. It was the first time a major overseas production featuring Australian artists was transferred to disc.
- 1966 Puerto Rican Production
- The Puerto Rican Premiere of The Sound of Music, performed in English, opened at the Tapia Theatre in San Juan under the direction of Pablo Cabrera. It started Camille Carrión as María, Raúl Dávila as Captain Von Trapp and it featured a young Johanna Rosaly as Liesl. In 1968, the production was transferred to the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, Spain, were it was performed in Spanish with Ms. Carrión reprising the role of María, Alfredo Mayo as Captain Von Trapp and Roberto Rey as Uncle Max.
- The 1988 Takarazuka (Japan) version
- In 1988, the Snow Troupe of Takarazuka Revue performed the musical at the Bow Hall (Takarazuka, Hyōgo). Harukaze Hitomi and Gou Mayuka starred.
- 1990 New York City Opera production
- A 1990 New York City Opera production was directed by Oscar Hammerstein II's son, James. It featured Debby Boone as Maria, Laurence Guittard as Captain von Trapp, and Werner Klemperer as Max Detweiler.
- 1993 Stockholm premiere
- In the original Stockholm production, Carola Häggkvist played Maria, Tommy Körberg played Captain Georg von Trapp, Erik Skutnick played Max, and Emilia Brown played Gretl.
- 1999 Australian revival
- An  The production also toured until February 2001, in Melbourne (Princess Theatre, March 21, 2000 through July 5, 2000), Brisbane (9 weeks), and Perth (August 3, 2000, 6 weeks) Adelaide. Rachael Beck took over as Maria for the Perth and Adelaide seasons and Rob Guest took over as Captain von Trapp in Perth.
- 2005 Vienna production
- The first full-scale Austrian production opened on February 26, 2005 at the Volksoper Wien. It was directed and choreographed by Renaud Doucet, with sets and costume design by André Barbe. The 2005 cast included Sandra Pires as Maria, (Martina Dorak and Johanna Arrouas as Maria in other productions), Kurt Schreibmayer and Michael Kraus as Kapitän von Trapp and Heidi Brunner, Gabriele Sima and Ulrike Steinsky as Mutter Oberin (Mother Abbess). The production is still in the repertoire of the Volksoper with 12–20 performances per season.
- 2007 Salzburg Marionette Theatre production
- The Salzburg Marionette Theatre has been touring their version of the show, featuring the recorded voices of Broadway singers such as Christiane Noll as Maria. The U.S. tour began in Dallas, Texas in November 2007. It opened on May 9 in Salzburg, with performances scheduled through December 2008. The director is Richard Hamburger. In December 2010, the production was given in Paris, France, with dialogues in French and the songs in English.
- 2008 International productions
- A Brazilian production with Kiara Sasso as Maria and Herson Capri as the Captain played Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo the following year. A Dutch version of the musical premiered in September 2008 with Wieneke Remmers as Maria, directed by John Yost.
- 2008 Canadian production
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and David Mirvish presented The Sound of Music at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. The role of Maria was chosen by the public through a television show, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, which was produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian and aired in July and August. Elicia MacKenzie was declared the winner over fellow "Maria" Janna Polzin. Polzin was cast as an "alternate Maria" for the Toronto stage production. She played Maria twice a week (Wednesday evenings and Saturday matinees), while MacKenzie performed the role six times weekly. Captain von Trapp was played by Burke Moses. The show closed on January 10, 2010 after a run of 69 weeks and over 500 performances. It is the longest running revival to play Toronto.
- 2009 UK tour
- A UK tour was launched on July 26, 2009, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The tour has also visited Bradford, Southampton, Milton Keynes, Sunderland, Manchester, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Belfast, Llandudno, Eastbourne, and Woking, Birmingham, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Liverpool, Bristol, Oxford, Hull, Stoke-On-Trent, Derry, Dublin, Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham, another return to Cardiff and Newcastle, before ending the run on October 22, 2011, at the New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon. The original cast included Connie Fisher as Maria, Michael Praed as Captain von Trapp, Margaret Preece as the Mother Abbess, Martin Callaghan as Uncle Max, Jacinta Mulcahy as Baroness Schrader, Jeremy Taylor as Rolf and Claire Fishenden as Liesl. Kirsty Malpass stars as the alternate Maria. Margaret Preece left the role of Mother Abbess on February 20, 2010, in Edinburgh and was replaced by Marilyn Hill Smith and Chris Barton took over the role of Rolf from Jeremy Taylor on June 29, 2010. Kirsty Malpass played the role of Maria full-time from August 24 to October 9, 2010, in Plymouth and Bournemouth due to Fisher's wedding plans. Jason Donovan assumed the role of Captain Von Trapp from Michael Praed on January 29, 2011, in Hull. Verity Rushworth replaced Fisher as Maria on February 15, 2011, when the show visited Stoke-on-Trent. Fisher planned to return to the role for the Tour's final engagements in Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and Wimbledon but had to pull out due to problems with her voice. Rushworth continued in the role until its closure in October 2011. Lesley Garrett reprised her role as Mother Abbess for the Tour's final engagement in Wimbledon in October 2011.
- 2011 Spanish National Tour
- A Spanish national tour of The Sound of Music (Sonrisas y Lágrimas) was launched on November, 2011 at the Auditorio de Tenerife in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The tour visited 29 Spanish cities, spending one year in Madrid's Gran Vía at the Teatro Coliseum, and one season at the Tívoli Theatre in Barcelona. It was directed by Jaime Azpilicueta and starred Silvia Luchetti as Maria, Carlos J. Benito as Captain Von Trapp, Noemi Mazoy as Mother Abbess, Loreto Valverde as Elsa Schrader, Ángel Padilla as Uncle Max, Paris Martín as Rolf and Yolanda García as Liesl.
- 2011 Argentina
- La Novicia Rebelde was performed in the Ópera-Citi theater in Buenos Aires from March 9, 2011, to August 14, 2011. The cast included Laura Conforte as Maria and Diego Ramos as Captain Von Trapp. It also included Rodolfo Valss as Uncle Max, Coni Marino as Baroness Schrader, Patricia Ana González as the Mother Abbess, Fernando Dente as Rolf, Julieta Nair Calvo as Liesl, Mirta Wons as Frau Schmidt, Mariano Muso as Franz and a cast of 19 who played the Von Trapp Children.
- 2013 London production
- A new production played at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park from July 25 to September 14, 2013. The production starred Charlotte Wakefield as Maria, with Michael Xavier as Captain von Trapp, Helen Hobson as Mother Abbess, Michael Matus as Max Detweiler, Caroline Keiff as Elsa Schraeder, Faye Bookes as Liesl and Joshua Tonks as Rolf Gruber. It received enthusiastic reviews and became the highest-grossing production ever at the theatre. In November 2013, it was reported that there are plans to transfer the show to the West End in 2014. On March 10, 2014, the show received a nomination for Best Musical Revival at the Laurence Olivier Awards and Wakefield was nominated for Best Actress in a Musical.
- 2014 South Korean production
- It will be shown at the Universal Arts Center from January 5 to February 2. Singer Sohyang will play one of the three Marias.
- 2014 South African production
- At the Artscape in Cape Town from 29 Feb to 30 March 2014 and Teatro at Montecasino form 5 April to 8 June 2014. Pieter Toerien presents Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s London Palladium Production.
- 2014 Puerto Rican Revival
- The world premiere of the new Spanish language translation of The Sound of Music (the original 1966 Puerto Rican production was performed in English) opened at University Theatre (Teatro de la Universidad) in San Juan on September 26 under the direction of Edgar García. It started Lourdes Robles as Maria, Braulio Castillo as Captain Von Trapp, Margarita Castro-Alberty as Mother Abbess, Julio Enrique Court as Uncle Max, Dagmar as Elsa Schrader, Ulises Santiago-de Orduna as Rolf and Yeidimar Ramos as Liesl.
A live televised production of the musical aired on December 5, 2013 on NBC. It was directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford. Carrie Underwood starred as Maria Rainer, with Stephen Moyer as Captain von Trapp, Christian Borle as Max, Laura Benanti as Elsa, and Audra McDonald as the Mother Abbess. The broadcast was repeated on December 14, 2013. The production was released on DVD on Dec. 17, 2013.
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." 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." 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".
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." 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".
Columbia Masterworks recorded the original Broadway cast album 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 #1 on Billboard's best-selling albums chart for 16 weeks in 1960. It is currently available on CD from Sony in the Columbia Broadway Masterworks series.
The 1965 film soundtrack was released by RCA Victor and is one of the most successful soundtrack albums in history, having sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Recent CD editions incorporate musical material from the film that would not fit on the original LP. The label has also issued the soundtrack in German, Italian, Spanish and French editions.
RCA Victor also released an album of the 1998 Broadway revival produced by Hallmark Entertainment and featuring the full revival cast, including Rebecca Luker, Michael Siberry, Jan Maxwell and Fred Applegate.
The Telarc label made a studio cast recording of The Sound of Music, with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel (1987). The lead roles went to opera stars: Frederica von Stade as Maria, Håkan Hagegård as Captain von Trapp, and Eileen Farrell as the Mother Abbess. The recording "includes both the two new songs written for the film version and the three Broadway songs they replace, as well as a previously unrecorded verse of "An Ordinary Couple"".
There have been numerous studio cast albums and foreign cast albums issued, though many have only received regional distribution. According to the cast album database, there are 62 recordings of the score that have been issued over the years.
The original recording reached number 15 on the Dutch MegaCharts albums chart. A recording for the version at the Vlaamse Opera company peaked at number 23 on the Ultrapop 100 albums chart in Flanders.
The 2013 NBC television production starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer was released on CD and digital download on December 3, 2013 under the Sony Masterworks label. Also featured on the album are Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle.
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