Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music returns to South Carolina Children’s Theatre May 6th – 22nd, 2022. In this guest post from SCCT’s Margaret Butler, she explores the history of the beloved story and shares some fun facts about the musical’s past.
It’s easy to get the tunes of “The Hills are Alive,” “My Favorite Things,” “Do-re-mi,” and “Edelweiss” stuck in your head, but few people know the history behind the beloved story and music. The Broadway musical – which inspired the 1965 film – was based on the memoir “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by the real Maria von Trapp (Kutschera). We hope you enjoy these interesting facts and perhaps use them as a conversation starter before you see the live production at SCCT!
- The Sound of Music was based on a real family!
Maria Kutschera was born in 1905. In 1926, she left her convent to live with the von Trapp family, where she was to tutor one of Captain von Trapp’s children, who was sick at the time. Contrary to the story we all know and love, she wasn’t originally hired as a governess for the family!
- There were actually 10 von Trapp children – not 7!
There were 10 children, not 7, in the von Trapp family. Their names were changed, as well. The real von Trapp children were named Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, Martina, Rosmarie, Eleonore, and Johannes.
- No “do-re-mi” lessons for the real von Trapp siblings
Maria didn’t have to teach the von Trapp siblings how to sing. In fact, they were already accomplished singers and musicians before she arrived! Maria, however, did encourage them to share their talents by touring and performing in competitions. They won first place in the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936!
- “Edelweiss” isn’t Austrian
“Edelweiss” is one of the most recognizable and beloved songs from The Sound of Music. However, it wasn’t an Austrian standard. It was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical.
- The von Trapps didn’t actually escape to Switzerland via mountain pass
In fact, they took a train to Italy! It would have been unsafe for them to cross over the Austrian mountains, as it would have landed them in Hitler’s Germany.
- The Singing Heart
According to Broadway.com, The Sound of Music originally went by a totally different name: The Singing Heart.
- A Broadway Flop
The Sound of Music first opened on Broadway in 1959 and was slammed by critics for being too “saccharine.” The producers had already invested $2 million in advance ticket sales so it was able to stay open! It ran on Broadway for three years with 1,443 performances.
- Hammerstein’s final hurrah
Sadly, The Sound of Music was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s last collaboration. Shortly after the first Broadway premiere, Hammerstein passed away. This was his 8th and final musical.
- 6 Tony Awards and 5 Oscars
The Sound of Music on Broadway won six Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Actress for Mary Martin, who played Maria. The movie adaptation won five Oscars in 1965, including Best Picture.
- The original cast recording was number one on Billboard charts for 16 weeks
The original cast recording was recorded a week after the show’s premiere in 1959. It was released by Columbia Records and quickly rose to the top of the Billboard album charts, where it was number one for 16 weeks!
With your Sound of Music trivia now in hand, we hope you join us at SCCT to enjoy this classic story. Directed by SCCT Artistic Director Matt Giles and featuring performances by local actors, choreographers, and designers, this production of Sound of Music will be one to remember!