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Interesting Facts about The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music may well hold the honor of being the “greatest” Hollywood musical of all time–if for no other reason, than the fact that it homaged another musical that could arguably be called the greatest modern musical in Moulin Rouge. And as much as you would like to credit the brilliant film Cabaret (like Bob Fosse) with being the first to combine epic tragedy and musical comedy, you would be discounting the monumental achievement of The Sound of Music–among the first mainstream movies to tackle the subject matter of Nazi politics.

While it’s no longer shocking to see a cartoon making light of the Nazi regime, back in the 1960s (when the memories were still fresh) it was a very bold decision. The 1965 film was actually based on the musical from 1959. The musical stage play, written by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay, was actually based on the memoir of real life matriarch Maria von Trapp.

The first stage play opened on November 16, 1959 and starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. Even back in the late 1950s, reviews were stellar. Reviews stated that the show had a “strangely gentle charm” and “an unpretentious simplicity.” And of course, even way back when, it was criticized for being “too sweet for words, too sweet for music”, in the opinion of Walter Kerr of The New York Herald Tribune.

And there is that one little trifle about the ending. Did the real life von Trapp family hike over the Alps and escape to Switzerland? According to Maria von Trapp’s memoir, they actually walked to the local train station and escaped to Italy, then London and then the United States. But you can’t fault the producers for wanting to showcase those beautiful green hills now, can you?

And how’s this for interesting news? Andrew Lloyd Webber has expressed interest in writing a sequel to the film. In fact, he was heavy at work on it until an opportunity came to create a Phantom sequel. Now, we wait…

Come experience The Sound of Music and be delighted by this “too sweet” musical once again!

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