On today’s date in 1965, the now-classic and mega-iconic musical film “The Sound of Music” officially debuted at the Rivoli Theater at Broadway and 49th Street in New York City.
Since we at COMPOSERS DATEBOOK are notorious for mentioning “little known facts,” let us state for the record, that the FIRST test audiences to see the film did so in fly-over country–first in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and subsequently in Tulsa, Oklahoma, about a month before the film’s New York debut.
The Midwestern audiences were ecstatic, and director Robert Wise knew he'd have a hit on his hands when his film starring Julie Andrews opened on Broadway, not far from where the stage version, starring Mary Martin, had originally debuted back in 1959.
The 1965 New York Times film review was a little snarky–well, what else is new? It began by referring to (quote) “the perceptible weakness of its quaintly old-fashioned book,” while grudgingly admiring, “the generally melodic felicity of the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein score,” and ended by opining, “Business-wise, Mr. Wise is no fool.”
No fool, indeed. Mr. Wise’s film won five Oscars and displaced “Gone with the Wind” as the highest-grossing film of all-time.
Music Played in Today's Program
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)My Favorite Things, fr The Sound of Music (arr. Hough)Stephen Hough, p.MusicMasters 60135 and/or Virgin 59509 and 61498
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