Rodgers & Hammerstein and The Sound of Music — In the Spotlight

Dark theatreYou’ve probably seen the movie The Sound of Music, on television if not in the movie theater. Did you know that the movie version of The Sound of Music is fifty years old this year? It premiered in New York on March 2, 1965 and in Los Angeles on March 10, 1965.

Before The Sound of Music was a movie, though, it was a stage musical. Its opening performance was in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway on November 16, 1959, and starred Mary Martin as Maria.

At the time, it was yet another hit for the great team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Both of them were extremely talented men who first teamed up for Oklahoma! in the 1940s, although they had each worked with others before.

Their partnership, with Rodgers writing the music and Hammerstein the lyrics, became what most consider as the most successful such teaming in Broadway history.

The Sound of Music was the last in a line of Broadway hits, many of which also made very popular movies, particularly Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and The King and I. We’ll look more closely at those gems in the next excerpt of my series about Broadway musicals.

Their musicals have won an impressive array of awards – the Rodgers and Hammerstein website  points out that all together their musicals “earned 35 Tony Awards,  15 Academy Awards (Oscars), two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards, and 2 Emmy Awards.” That’s impressive!

My heart has certainly been blessed with the sounds of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s music. They have filled theatres and hearts with the sound of music for decades, and will no doubt continue to do so.

And now let’s go back to celebrating the anniversary of the movie version of The Sound of Music, with Lady Gaga at the Oscars ceremony on February 22, 2015.

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  1. I thought about you during the Oscars when Lady Gaga sang that beautiful tribute to “The Sound of Music.” I loved how she introduced a younger generation to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and movie. They just don’t make big productions like that anymore, It’s the real scenery and not green screens with digital backgrounds. Also love “Oklahoma, South Pacific and The King and I.”

  2. South Pacific and The Sound of Music have been my favourite musicals for decades. I’ve lived in both the South Pacific and the alps and no words I could ever write or say could sum up those places as well as R&H music. I hope people in another 60 years will feel the same.

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