Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, based on The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstin II. The original Broadway production opened on 16 November 1959 and was directed by Vincent J. Donehue with musical staging by Joe Layton. The production closed on 15 June 1963, running for a total of 1 443 performances. A film version was released in 1965.
Synopsis and Musical Numbers
Austria, 1938. In the interior of the Nonnberg Abbey, nuns are sing and pray (PRELUDIUM). Sister Berthe discovers that someone is missing and calls for Maria fill the hall. On a nearby mountainside, Maria absorbs the lovely countryside around her (THE SOUND OF MUSIC). Back in a sparse office at the abbey, the wise Mother Abbess, stern Sister Berthe, kindly Sister Margaretta and confused Sister Sophia, are discussing the merits of the postulants and the problems of Maria (MARIA). When Maria returns, the Mother asks the nuns to leave so that she can talk to her alone. Maria begs for forgiveness for her for her bad behavior – including her constant singing. The Abbess asks her to sing one of her favorite children’s songs for her because she has forgotten the words and wants to write them down (MY FAVORITE THINGS). The Abbess informs Maria that she has decided to send her to Captain Georg von Trapp’s home to be a governess for his seven children. Maria is upset to think that she is being sent from the Abbey, but the Mother feels she should be on the outside for a while before returning. Maria resigns herself to this order and leaves for Von Trapp’s home (I HAVE CONFIDENCE – added for the film).
In the opulent living room of the Von Trapp estate, Captain von Trapp enters and blows several signals on his boatswain’s whistle. When his housekeeper, Fraulein Schmidt, and butler, Franz, respond, he informs them that he has gotten a new governess from the abbey and will be leaving for Vienna for a month. The doorbell rings and Maria is greeted by the Captain, who terrifies her – he is an overbearing, strong disciplinarian and has a different whistle call for each of his children. Left alone with the children, Maria is appalled to discover that they don’t know how to sing. She teaches them the notes of the scale and they demonstrate instant proficiency (DO RE MI). Later that day, in the gardens, sixteen-year old Liesl meets seventeen-year old Rolf, her pro-German boyfriend, who tells her she knows so little of the world that he will have to take care of her (SIXTEEN GOING ON SEVENTEEN). That night, in Maria’s bedroom, Frau Schmidt enters with material for Maria to make a new dress. Maria discovers from the housekeeper that the von Trapp children have not sung or played since their mother’s death, and she prays for a way to help. She notices Liesl climbing into her bedroom window and attempts to win her friendship. When the rest of the chidren gradually seek refuge from the sounds of a thunderstorm, she entertains them with a song (THE LONELY GOATHERD).
A month later, on the terrace of the von Trapp home, Georg is entertaining Elsa Schraeder and Max Detweiler. Elsa is a sophisticated, attractive woman in her late thirties who is intent on marrying Georg and Max is a charming, middle-aged man who is trying to find a music group to enter into the Salzberg Festival. When the captain leaves to search for the children, Elsa confesses to Max that she plans on marrying the Georg, but he seems to be stalling. Max claims the reason to be money and tells her no one ever hears of rich lovers. The Captain returns and Max pushes Elsa to him (HOW CAN LOVE SURVIVE?). The children arrive with Maria but the Georg is appalled by their play clothes, which Maria has made from her old bedroom drapes, and their seeming lack of discipline. He complains to Maria, who furiously tells him he should learn more about his children. He orders her return to the Abbey but, just as she turns to go, the children are heard singing to Elsa. Georg realizes he doesn’t know his own children, asks Maria to stay and joins his family in song (THE SOUND OF MUSIC – REPRISE). He throws away his whistle.
Georg has a party to introduce Elsa to his friends. It is interrupted by an argument between a pro-Nazi and a pro-Austrian. Georg invites everyone to the terrace to cool down as Kurt and Maria enter the living room and begin an Austrian folk dance. Georg interrupts to show Kurt how the dance should be done but, when the he dances with Maria, the children realize they are in love. They tell Maria and she is horrified to find anything that conflicts with her desire to be a nun. Georg insists she join them all for dinner and sends her to her room to change as Elsa begs him to have the children perform their goodnight song for the guests. As the children say goodbye to the guests (SO LONG, FAREWELL), Maria sadly leaves for the Abbey. There, she tells the Mother Abbess she may be in love with Georg. The Mother Abbess sends her back to discover her true feelings and urges her to search for the life she was meant to live (CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN).
Meanwhile, on the terrace at the villa, Max – who wants to enter the Von Trapps in the Kaltzburg music festival – is encouraging the children to sing, but they are upset by Maria’s absence and are dismal failures. Georg questions them about Maria’s sudden departure but aren’t aware of her reasons. He tells them he is marrying Elsa and goes into the house. The children sadly begin to sing and are cheered by Maria’s voice as she returns to the villa (MY FAVORITE THINGS – REPRISE). They excitedly greet her and they tell her that Frau Schraeder is to be their stepmother. When Georg comes outside, he asks her why she left but she is unable to respond and assures him the reason no longer exists. She leaves to take care of the children. Max and Elsa get into a political discussion with Georg about the Germansï¿½ possible invasion of Austria. They feel he should play along as insurance on his property and wealth (NO WAY TO STOP IT). Elsa realizes that Georg will not bend to the wishes of the Germans and calls off the wedding, for she knows she couldn’t risk losing her assets. As she goes to pack, Georg and Maria confess their love for each other (AN ORDINARY COUPLE / SOMETHING GOOD). The two are married at the Abbey with the children as attendants and a chorus of nuns cloistered beyond (PROCESSIONAL).
During their honeymoon, the Anschluss occurs. In the living room of the villa, Max is busily organizing the children to perform in the Saltzburg Festival. Georg and Maria return to discover that nearly everyone around them is pro-Nazi. Georg refuses to let the children sing in public and leeaves with the the children to give them their presents. Liesl returns to ask Maria how she knew she was in love and Maria kindly responds (A BELL IS NO BELL / SIXTEEN GOING ON SEVENTEEN – REPRISE). Rolf brings a telegram ordering Georg to join the German Navy. The Nazis arrive to take Georg to accept his Commission but Maria bides for time, insisting that all the von Trapps are to sing in the Festival. Because the Germans want things to appear unchanged, they allow the performance. The family performs on the stage of the Concert Hall (DO-RE-MI – REPRISE / EDELWEISS / SO LONG, FAREWELL – REPRISE) and escape while the judges decide the winner. They flee to the Abbey and the Germans follow them. In the garden of the Abbey, Rolf discovers the family and starts to betray them but when he sees Liesl, he cannot. The Germans leave and the family starts to cross the Alps to Switzerland and to safety (FINALE: CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN – REPRISE).
Purchases from Amazon.com
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. The Sound of Music Original Broadway Cast CD. 2. The Sound of Music Film Soundtrack Special Edition. 3. The Sound of Music 1998 Broadway Revival CD. 4. The Sound of Music 1999 Liev Australian Revival CD. 5. The Sound of Music 2006 London Revival CD.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: 1. The Sound of Music Film DVD. 2. The Sound of Movies Rodgers and Hammerstein Making of the Films DVD. 3. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. 4. The Sound of Music Souvenir Movie Folio. 5. The Sound of Music Vocal Score.
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