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The True Story Of The Sound Of Music

When The Sound of Music soared into popularity, becoming an all-time great, it took Broadway and the movie industry by storm. However, many fans likely do not know that multiple inaccuracies exist between Broadway and Hollywood versions and the actual story and events. Ira Riklis uncovers some of the truths behind the real story behind the smash hit.

Making The Sound Of Music

The Sound of Music on Broadway and in the movie, based on the 1949 book “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” by the actual Maria von Trapp, allegedly tells the story of the former Austrian nun, her marriage and life into the von Trapp family. They later escaped from the Nazis, over the mountains into neutral Switzerland.

The Broadway musical opened at the time when other musicals had successful Broadway runs lasting for several years. The Sound of Music site explains that Rodgers and Hammerstein happened to come across the memoirs of Maria von Trapp. They then set about to make the Broadway musical with the title Sound of Music. In addition to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II served as composers and lyricists, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse became writers.

Opening On Broadway

The anticipation of the opening of the Broadway production of Sound of Music resulted in many advance ticket sales. The Broadway show opened to critical acclaim, telling the story of the nun who became governess to the children of Captain Georg von Trapp, who later married von Trapp, becoming the children’s step-mother. His first wife and the children’s mother died of scarlet fever.

Set in 1938, former nun Maria von Trapp allegedly sang on the hills, taught the children to sing, leading to the entire family becoming a popular performing singing troupe.

The entire family evaded the Nazis by escaping at night, crossing over the Alps into Switzerland, considered neutral territory. At least that is the version of the productions telling the story of the family and their escape from Nazis.

The Truth About The Sound Of Music

Although The Sound of Music initially won multiple awards, the story of the von Trapp family distorts the truth about what really happened so badly that Maria von Trapp asked a reporter years later, “Don’t they know geography in Hollywood?” Readers Digest also points out that Maria did not initially fall in love with Georg von Trapp. She stated she fell in love with him years later.

Another distortion has the family escaping by crossing over the mountains into Switzerland. The truth is that they escaped Austria by simply boarding a train that took them to Italy. Had they crossed the mountains, they would have found themselves right into Germany, into the hands of the Nazis.

Some sources expressed disdain over the lack of complete truthfulness presented to fans. In fact, the Institute For Historical Review calls it “A gross distortion of reality.”

The Institute For Historical Review does include details provided by daughter Maria who explains that the family did tell people they were going to travel to America to sing and perform. However, they simply boarded the train “Pretending nothing.”

There were actually ten children in the von Trapp family, including the three that Maria and the captain shared.

There were actually ten children in the von Trapp family, including the three that Maria and the captain shared.

The Anniversary

The anniversary of the release of The Sound of Music takes fans back to the opening night of the film as well as memories of the Broadway musical version.

In spite of inaccuracies regarding the truth about the von Trapp family and their escape, fans still enjoy the story and the songs made popular on stage and screen.