Last Monday was the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening of Rodgers and Hammerstein's “The Sound of Music.” In an interactive feature, four people with ties to the original production — the actors Theodore Bikel, Lauri Peters and Brian Davies, and Sam von Trapp, the grandson of Baroness Maria von Trapp — talked about their memories of the show.
We asked readers to post their own thoughts about “The Sound of Music.” Here are some of their comments.
Courtesy of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel starred in the original Broadway production of “The Sound of Music.”
I saw “The Sound of Music” on Broadway the day that Oscar Hammerstein died. I can't remember the date, however. I think there had been some talk of canceling the performance that evening, but it went on as scheduled. I remember that all of the cast members were visibly shaken. In one scene, both Theodore Bikel and Mary Martin had tears on their cheeks.
I was just a child — a teensy-weensy little boy, a small toddler — when I saw the original stage production with Mary Martin. All that I remember of it was the grand opening with Martin esconced in mountain scenery that moved down stage as she sang the title song. And I remember thinking, “What's Peter Pan doing dressed like a nun?”
— Roger Bruce Feinman
I was thrilled to see the world premiere performance at the Shubert in New Haven on a Saturday night in October, 1959 when I was in the 8th grade. I even managed to get backstage and obtain Mary Martin's autograph. I still have the program somewhere. The ticket was $1.80.
When in Salzburg as an adult, I dragged my husband on the cheesy “Sound of Music” bus tour. Picture a bunch of tourists singing along at the top of their lungs to the piped-in soundtrack, while visiting such sites as the “Van Trapps” house, the glass gazebo, the “convent,” and the wedding church. Loved every minute of it.
“The Sound of Music” was the first Broadway show I saw. I think I was about seven years old, and all these years later I can still remember everything — what I wore, how Maria came out on a little island to sing the title song, the Von Trapp girls in their white dresses with blue satin sashes. I treasured my Playbill, and relived the whole play many, many nights before I could fall asleep. I wore out our family's cast album; the skips were there as a result of my exuberant performances of every part.
My life was forever changed after that matinee. Years later I moved to Manhattan from my small hometown to pursue a career in musical theater; I even got to meet Mary Martin.
When I first saw The Sound of Music on film at age 6, I wondered: where would I prefer to live, the Von Trapp estate or the Daddy Warbucks mansion in Annie. I picked the Austrian residence, provided that Fräulein Maria would be there.