Monday, November 16, 2009

50 years ago: The Sound of Music opened on Broadway

The Sound of Music

Richard Rodgers (music), Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)

The Musical

Opened on Broadway: November 16, 1959

Number of Performances: 1443

Opened at London’s West End: May 18, 1961

Number of Performances: 2386

Movie Release: March 29, 1965

Cast Album

Charted: December 21, 1959

Peak: 116 US

Sales (in millions): 2.5 US

Genre: show tunes


Charted: March 20, 1965

Peak: 12 US, 170 UK

Sales (in millions): 15.0 US, 2.44 UK, 22.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: show tunes

Songs on Cast Album:

  1. Preludium
  2. The Sound of Music
  3. Maria
  4. My Favorite Things
  5. Do-Re-Mi
  6. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  7. The Lonely Goatherd
  8. How Can Love Survive?
  9. The Sound of Music (Reprise)
  10. Laendler
  11. So Long, Farewell
  12. Climb Ev’ry Mountain
  13. No Way to Stop It
  14. An Ordinary Couple
  15. Processional
  16. Sixteen Going on Seventeen (Reprise)
  17. Edelweiss
  18. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Reprise)

Songs on Soundtrack:
  1. Prelude/The Sound of Music
  2. Overture/Preludium (Dixet Dominus)
  3. Morning Hymn/Alleluia
  4. Maria
  5. I Have Confidence
  6. Sixteen Going on Seventeen
  7. My Favorite Things
  8. Do-Re-Mi
  9. The Sound of Music
  10. The Lonely Goatherd
  11. So Long, Farewell
  12. Climb Ev’ry Mountain
  13. Something Good
  14. Processional/Maria
  15. Edelweiss
  16. Climb Ev’ry Mountain (Reprise)

Singles/Hit Songs:

As was common in the pre-rock era and early rock and roll, songs from musicals were often recorded by artists not associated with the musical and released as singles. Here are some of the most notable hit singles resulting from the show:

  • “The Sound of Music” – Patti Page (#90, 1959)
  • “My Favorite Things” – Herb Alpert (#45, 1968)
  • “Do-Re-Mi” – Mitch Miller (#70, 1959), Anita Bryant (#94, 1959)
  • “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” – Tony Bennett (#74, 1959), Hesitations (#90, 1968)


4.439 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings for cast album and soundtrack combined)

Awards (Cast Album and Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

Awards (Cast Album): (Click on award to learn more).

Awards (Soundtrack): (Click on award to learn more).

About the Show:

The Sound of Music was the final work for the famous musical theater team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The pair previously worked on iconic musicals like South Pacific and The King and I. Like those, this was “set in a foreign locale, it starred a female lead in charge of children, it concerned an unlikely romance between an older man and a younger woman, it had a social/political element, and it featured a stirring anthem for a soprano (in this case, Climb Ev’ry Mountain).” WR-C

The plot was based on a true story about a nun (Maria) in Austria just before World War II. She becomes a governess for the seven von Trapp children, falls in love with their wealthy naval captain father, and marries him.” ET the musical sparked standards such as the title song, Edelweiss, and the aforementioned “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” My Favorite Things has become a standard, most notably by jazz musician John Coltrane, while Do-Re-Mi has become a favorite sing-a-long for children and was the center of one of the earliest flash mob viral videos.

About the Cast Album:

The cast album went to #1 and sold more than 2 million copies in the United States, but “has been so overshadowed by the spectacularly popular film soundtrack album that it’s difficult to judge it on its own merits. Mary Martin is in good voice as Maria and seems perfectly matched to the material, yet her interpretation of the character differs greatly from that offered by Julie Andrews; Martin is more wistful, delivering the title song with a deeper, plaintive quality. As conducted by Frederick Dvonch, the score in general has a more legit tone here than it does on the soundtrack recording, and Patricia Neway brings full operatic beauty and power to the role of the Mother Abbess.” CA

Theodore Bikel is a strong presence as Captain Von Trapp. Kurt Kasznar and Marion Marlowe as Max Detweiler and Elsa Schraeder are also standouts; they perform How Can Love Survive? and No Way to Stop It delightfully. The children, including Lauri Peters as Liesl, exude warmth. From a technical and musical standpoint, this Sound of Music album is highly commendable, and as a record of the final Rodgers and Hammerstein score, it’s a must for serious collectors of transcendent musical theater.” CA

About the Soundtrack:

The movie version of The Sound of Music came six years after the original stage musical. It became the highest-grossing movie of all-time up to that point and won the Oscar for Best Picture. The soundtrack was a #1 in the United States and United Kingdom, spending a whopping 70 weeks at the pinnacle in the UK. It also sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, making it one of the top 100 best-sellers of all time.

“One of the principal reasons for the enduring appeal…is the fresh approach given to the material.” CA The star, Julie Andrews, had starred in the musical My Fair Lady and was fresh from an Academy Award for her title role in Mary Poppins, another story about a children’s nanny. She “brings wit, spirit, and buoyancy to the role of Maria. Perfectly sung and brilliantly acted, Andrews’ great performance is also notable for her clear but unaffected diction, and she knows exactly which lines to sing, which ones to exclaim.” CA

“The songs of the Captain and the Mother Abbess are very well sung by Bill Lee and Margery McKay, respectively, dubbing for Christopher Plummer and Peggy Wood. McKay’s rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ is notably stirring. Charmian Carr does her own singing as Liesl; she’s charming in Sixteen Going on Seventeen with Dan Truhitte as Rolf, and in all of her tracks with the children…The arrangements and orchestrations of the film’s music overall are bright, uplifting, and thoroughly delightful from beginning to end.” CA

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 11/13/2011; last updated 12/23/2021.

1 comment:

  1. Obviously, I was just one of MANY FANS! Still enjoying the albums today, both Broadway and soundtrack.