New York Times - Online
November 19, 2009


Fifty years ago this week, a nun-in-training, seven frisky kids and their grumpy but lovable father do-re-mi'd their way across a Broadway stage.

Argyle Enterprises and 20th Century Fox Julie Andrews in the 1965 film version of “The Sound of Music.”

“The Sound of Music,” with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, opened on Nov. 16, 1959, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, with Mary Martin as the postulant Maria and Theodore Bikel as Capt. Georg von Trapp. When, and where, did you first see “The Sound of Music”?

In his review, Brooks Atkinson, expressed disappointment over “the American musical stage succumbing to the cliche of operetta.” But he praised the show's “melodies, rapturous singing and Miss Martin.”

The production, which had a top ticket price of $5, ran for more than 1,400 performances and won eight Tony Awards, including best musical (it shared the award with “Fiorello!”).

The 1965 film version, starring Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as the captain, won five Academy Awards, including best picture.

The musical was revived on Broadway in 1998, with a cast that featured Rebecca Luker as Maria and Michael Siberry as the captain.

Chad Batka for The New York Times “The Sound of Music” reunited: From left, Theodore Bikel, Lauri Peters, Brian Davies and Sam von Trapp.

On Monday the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization reunited four people with ties to the original Broadway production: Mr. Bikel; Lauri Peters, who played Liesl; Brian Davies, who portrayed Rolf Gruber; and Sam von Trapp, the grandson of the real Maria. An interactive feature on the gathering is here.

(Another Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, “South Pacific,” celebrated its 60th anniversary in April.)

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