On November 16, 1959, "The Sound of Music" opened on Broadway, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. Here are 5 things you probably didn’t know about the musical based on the von Trapp family’s life...
Julie Andrews Nearly Turned Down The Role As Maria Julie Andrews had just finished filming Mary Poppins in 1964 when she was first approached to star in The Sound of Music. The actress nearly turned down the role of Maria for fear that the character was too similar to that of Mary Poppins.
Critics in New York Hated It The musical opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway, and New York critics hated it, thinking it was too saccharine. However, ticket sales made in advance were already up to $2 million, and the public had a different opinion, which ended up making “The Sound of Music” one of the most popular musicals in American history.
The Real Maria Von Trapp Wasn’t Invited to The Premiere The real Maria Von Trapp, of course, inspired the original musical and was invited to see it performed. She then had a cameo in the movie itself. And then, when opening night came around... she never got an invite. Shocked, she went to the producers to address what was presumably an oversight. Said the producers, "there were no seats left." Hey, what can you do? Apparently The Sound of Music was so darn popular that even Maria Von Trapp herself couldn't get a ticket.
Mary Martin’s Tony for “The Sound of Music” Sold for Thousands of Dollars Martin died in 1990, and the Tony for “The Sound of Music” was inherited by her actor son, Larry Hagman. Upon Hagman’s death, the Tony ended up on the auction block in Boston. It was the third of three Tonys that Martin won during her career; it brought $43,750 at the auction held in 2015.
Sean Connery Could Have Played The Captain Those who were considered to play Captain von Trapp were Sean Connery, Bing Crosby, and Richard Burton. However, the role went to Christopher Plummer. Major stars also auditioned for the parts of the children in the movie, including Mia Farrow, Patti Duke, Geraldine Chaplin and Sharon Tate, who all tried out for the role of von Trapp’s daughter, Leisl. The role was given to Charmian Carr. Other stars who tried out for roles as the children were Richard Dreyfuss and Kurt Russell.