The final collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and
lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II who passed away nine months after
the opening, The Sound of Music is based on Maria Von
Trapp's autobiography The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
Originally, the musical was to contain only actual music
that had been sung by the Trapps in their concerts, plus one
original song by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The talented songwriting
duo balked at this, however, and eventually they were allowed
to contribute the entire score.
Set in 1938, The Sound of Music tells the story of
Maria Rainer, a free-spirited nun who is hired by Captain George
Von Trapp to care for his seven children. Although Captain Trapp
is engaged to a wealthy socialite, he and Maria eventually fall
in love and marry--but their happiness is soon shattered when
the Nazis invade Austria.
The Sound of Music opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
on November 16, 1959 and would eventually become the second longest
running Broadway musical of the Fifties. The original production
featured Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. The 1965 film version
co-starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.