Playwriting duo Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway smash hit The Sound of Music debuted 61 years ago today at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Midtown Manhattan. Based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, the musical depicts a young woman’s bond with an Austrian family living under Nazi occupation during World War II as they plot to escape to freedom in Switzerland. The play was both a commercial and critical success, winning five Tony Awards, including Best Musical — just one of the 34 Tonys that Rodgers and Hammerstein accumulated during their career. The 1965 film adaptation starring Julie Andrews took home five Oscars at the 38th Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
“A song is a lot of things. But, first of all, a song is the voice of its time. Setting words to music gives them weight, makes then somehow easier to say, and it helps them to be remembered.” —