On Stage: 'The Sound Of Music'

May 6, 2019

Mary Martin, Lauri Peters, Marion Marlowe, Theodore Bikel, and cast Friedman-Abeles
Credit ©NYPL for the Performing Arts

 

The Sound of Music is the last musical written by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Nine months after it premiered on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1959, Oscar Hammerstein died from stomach cancer. The show was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and received five, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Lady for Mary Martin as Maria.

The production was originally planned as a stage play, and producers hired the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, who wrote a number of comedies and musicals produced for Broadway from 1935 to 1962, and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for their play State of the Union. Lindsay and Crouse first imagined that this play, based on the memoir, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” by Maria von Trapp, would include some of the songs by the von Trapp Family Singers as necessary, but they quickly realized the story was better as a musical. Lindsay and Crouse also departed from the memoir in rather important ways in order to plump the dramatic tension—the family, for example, did not escape the Nazis in Austria by climbing the mountains to Switzerland-- they took a train to Italy, and from there, traveled to London and then the United States.

The Sound of Music is the season opener for Music Theatre Wichita, and also the first time in 20 years that MTW has produced the show. You can catch it onstage on June 12th to the 16th at Century II.

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