The Sound of Music opened at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 16 November 1959, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s last musical was a triumph. It ran for 1,443 performances and earned five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. In addition, the cast album earned a Gold Record and the Grammy Award. Florence Henderson starred in the first national tour, which played for over two years. Jean Bayless created the role of Maria in the original London production, which ran for over six years, long holding the record as the longest-running American musical in London.
In 1965 the motion picture version of The Sound of Music was released, and it made Hollywood history. Directed by Robert Wise, with a score revised by Rodgers (Hammerstein had died in 1960, so Rodgers composed both music and lyrics for two songs added to the film: “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good”), and a screenplay by Ernest Lehman, The Sound of Music boasted a dream cast: Julie Andrews as Maria, Christopher Plummer as the Captain, Eleanor Parker as Elsa, Peggy Wood as the Mother Abbess and Charmian Carr as Liesl. (Trivia buffs will note that Hollywood’s most famous unseen voice, Marni Nixon, here has an on-screen role as Sister Sophia, and that the actual real-life Maria von Trapp has a cameo appearance in a Salzburg market scene.) Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, The Sound of Music has become the most popular movie musical ever made.