The Sound of Music

Original London West End Production with Jean Bayless / Sonia Rees 1961

1st West End Revival with Petula Clark 1981

London Revival (Sadler's Wells) with Liz Robertson 1992

2nd London West End Revival with Connie Fisher / Summer Strallen 2006

London Revival (Open Air Theatre) with Charlotte Wakefield 2013


Musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Based on the uplifting true story of the Von Trapp family, The Sound of Music was the last collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, becoming one of the most successful Oscar-winning film musicals of all time.

The clasic songs touch the hearts of all ages including My Favourite Theatre; Do-Re-Mi; Edelweiss; Climb Ev'ry Mountain; Sixteen Going on Seventeen; The Lonely Goatherd; and of course the glorious title song, The Sound of Music.

Musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II with book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by 'The Trapp Family Singers' by Maria Augusta Trapp.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's other West End musicals include Carousel, Oklahoma! and The King and I. Richard Rodgers' London theatre credits also include, with Lorenz Hart, The Boys From Syracuse. Oscar Hammerstein II's London theatre also include, with Jerome Kern, Show Boat.


Original London West End Production with Jean Bayless / Sonia Rees

Previewed 17 May 1961, Opened 18 May 1961, Closed 14 January 1966 at the Palace Theatre

The original cast featured Jean Bayless as 'Maria' and Roger Dann as 'Captain von Trapp' with Constance Shacklock as 'the Mother Abbess', Eunice Gayson as 'Elsa Schraeder', Harold Kasket as 'Max Detweiler', Barbara Brown as 'Liesl von Trapp', Nicholas Bennett as 'Rolf', Olive Gilbert as 'Sister Margaretta', Silvia Beamish as 'Sister Berth', Lynn Kennington as 'Sister Sophia' and Hilary Wontner as 'Admiral Von Schreiber'.

Directed by Jerome Whyte with choreography by Joe Layton, sets by Oliver Smith and costumes by Lucinda Ballard.

The preview performance on Wednesday 17 May 1961 was a Royal Gala attended by The Duchess of Gloucester and was held in aid of King George's Fund for Sailors.

The role of 'Maria' was originally played by Jean Bayless up to Saturday 15 June 1963, followed by Sonia Rees from Monday 17 June 1963 through to the end of the run on Saturday Saturday 14 January 1966. Due to 'strained vocal chords' Sonia Rees was out of the show for around 13 weeks from mid-January 1964, when the role was initially played for around five weeks by her understudy Elaine Howells, and then Paula Hendrix joined the cast to play the role for another eight weeks with Sonia Rees finally returning to the role from Monday 13 April 1964.

The role of 'Captain von Trapp' was originally played by Roger Dann up to Saturday 11 July 1964 and then by Donald Scott - who had already played the role on Broadway - from Monday 13 July 1964 through to the end of the run on Saturday 14 January 1966.

Out of the leading players in the original cast - three stayed with the show for the entire run: Constance Shacklock as 'the Mother Abbess'; Eunice Gayson as 'Elsa Schraeder'; and Olive Gilbert as 'Sister Margaretta'.

This original stage production played for a continuous run of 2,385 performances over nearly five years by time it closed in January 1966.

While the stage version was still playing at the Palace Theatre in Charing Cross Road - just over 1,200 feet away, at the northern end of Charing Cross Road, the film version - starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer - opened on Monday 29 March 1965 at the larger Dominion Theatre with a Royal Premiere attended by Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, in aid of the Docklands Settlements. The film version then played twice daily in a continuous 'first' run of just over three years up to Saturday 29 June 1968 - which means the film it had more showings on it's first run (approximately 2,470) than the original West End stage version had performances (2,385).


1st West End Revival with Petula Clark 1981

Previewed 4 August 1981, Opened 17 August 1981, Closed 18 September 1982 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

The cast featured Petula Clark as 'Maria' with Michael Jayston as 'Captain von Trapp', June Bronhill as 'The Mother Abess', Honor Blackman as 'Elsa Schraeder', John Bennett as 'Max Detweiler' and Claire Parker as 'Liesel von Trapp'.

Directed by John Fearnley with choreography by Ronald Hynd, sets by Tod Kingman, costumes by Peter Docherty, lighting by David Hersey and sound by Julian Beech.

The opening night was attended by Baroness Maria Von Trapp who joined Petrula Clark on stage at the end.


London Revival (Sadler's Wells) with Liz Robertson 1992

Previewed 18 June 1992, Opened 22 June 1992, Closed 5 September 1992

The cast featured Liz Robertson as 'Maria' and Christopher Cazenove as 'Captain von Trapp' with Linda Hibberd as 'the Mother Abess', Jan Waters as 'Elsa Schraeder', Robin Nedwell as 'Max Detweiler' and Lottie Mayor as 'Liesel von Trapp'.

Directed by Wendy Toye with designs by Terry Parsons, lighting by Nick Richings and sound by Rick Clarke.

This production came into London as part of a national tour.


2nd London West End Revival with Connie Fisher / Summer Strallen 2006

Previewed 3 November 2006, Opened 15 November 2006, Closed 21 February 2009 at the London Palladium

The original cast featured Connie Fisher as 'Maria' and Alexander Hanson as 'Captain von Trapp' with Lesley Garrett as 'The Mother Abess', Lauren Ward as 'Elsa Schraeder' Ian Gelder as 'Max Detweiler' and Sophie Bould as 'Liesel von Trapp'.

Directed by Jeremy Sams with choreography by Arlene Phillips, designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Mick Potter. A co-production between Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian.

The role of 'Maria' was choosen through the BBC Television 'Reality' Show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

The role of 'Captain von Trapp' was originally played by Simon Shepherd, but he pulled out during the previews and was replaced by Alexander Hanson.

Originally starring Connie Fisher, who has now left, this production now stars Summer Strallen in the role of 'Maria' six times-a-week, on Tuesday to Saturday evenings and Saturday matinees. She will not perform at the Matinees on 22, 23, 26 December 2008 and 1 January 2009 or the Evening on 29 December 2008. In addition she will be on holday from 22 to 24 January 2009. Please note that casting and dates are subject to change, and if an actress is indisposed then the role will be covered in the usual manner by the understudy. Jeremy Sams' West End credits include the musical Spend Spend Spend at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1999.

"Connie Fisher's voice is pure and powerful, infused with the bright creaminess that is the hallmark of West End msucials... In Jeremy Sams's production, Connie's on fire; the songs are irresistible; and the children are very cute." The Sunday Telegraph

"The stalls are alive with The Sound Of Music and the big question is, did they really solve the problem of Maria? Nearly. Connie Fisher, who went from telesales to leading lady via a television talent show, is pretty in a bright-eyed, perky way. She has all the freshness and spirit the part requires to make a convincing transformation from unruly novice nun to big-sisterly governess and then capable wife. What's more, she can yodel, and makes one of my least favourite songs - about the understandably lonely goatherd - and another gloopy one about her favourite things, almost a pleasure... Jeremy Sams's handsome but oldfashioned production manages to avoid the camp style usually associated with singing nuns and a cute chorus of children, but an air of blandness blankets it. Sams makes a mistake in returning to Rodgers and Hammerstein's original stage show rather than to the film version, which handled the romance as well as the politics with much more tension. Now, for example, it's one of the children rather than the jealous Baroness who frightens Maria into leaving. While there's much to enjoy there's too much missing. Mainly, the Alps and my tears." The Mail on Sunday

For those familiar with the film version of The Sound of Music there are some changes in this stage version - Andrew Lloyd Webber said that he and the director, Jeremy Sams, did not want to stage a version of the movie so this production follows the original theatre script with a few exceptions: The song 'I Have Confidence in Me' has been added from the film in Act One while in Act Two the song 'An Ordinary Couple' has been substituted with 'Something Good'. In addition the hugely popular song 'My Favorite Things' is reprised in Maria's bedroom with the Children while 'The Lonely Goatherd', which originally played here, has now been set a couple of scenes later on the terrace of the Captain's mansion.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said regarding this production: "I have for years wanted to produce The Sound of Music myself. The theatre show is wonderfully crafted and I have always wanted to see the show cast with a young Maria who really do believe climbs a tree and scrapes her knees. But to find someone aged 20 who was a big enough name to fill the London Palladium semed a tall order to both myself and my co-producer David Ian. A promising discussion or two with Scarlett Johansson, who obviously ticked every box and by the way can really sing, sadly led nowhere. After this, both David and I thought the project was undoable. That is why I wondered if the show could be cast on TV. A year after David and I initially approached the BBC I found myself spending the summer in a way I never thought I would ever do, to whit having a great time with Graham Norton on live primetime TV. It is a serious and great pleasure to me that not only do I believe we discovered the perfect Maria in Connie Fisher but that several of our girls are already on the path of successful careers. I am proud that over 8 million people saw the final of a show devoted to musical theatre and even more proud that I know that Maria has rejuvenated the public appetite not just for The Sound of Music but for musicals across the board."

Although Connie Fisher had been playing the role of 'Maria' eight times-a-week, the following statement was issued by the producers in March 2007:: "Through a desire not to let the public down Connie Fisher sang through a heavy cold which has caused a vocal injury. The vocal chords are a muscle like any other and, as in the sporting world, when injured they require complete rest to recover. On her doctor's advice Connie has to take two weeks off from the show starting on Monday 5 March in order to allow the injury time to repair. The Sound of Music is a fantastic production with an enormously talented cast and we are very lucky in that, in Connie's absence, the role of Maria will be covered by Sophie Bould, who has been receiving standing ovations for her portrayal of Maria.
During this two weeks (Monday 5 - Saturday 17 March) of Connie Fisher's enforced medical absence from The Sound of Music, the producers of the show, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, have decided that anyone who wishes to exchange their tickets for later dates should get in touch with the ticket agency / box office from whom they bought their tickets. We regret that we may be unable to re-seat customers in the very near future (it may be as late as November) but we will be happy, in the circumstances, to re-seat as soon as we can. While Connie has now agreed to stay with the show through November to make this possible, you should be aware that many of the remaining original cast in the show may have left by then. For those of you who still intend to see the show this week and next, we are delighted to say that Connie's excellent understudy, Sophie Bould, is receiving standing ovations at every performance and, as you may have heard on BBC Breakfast News, we have received many emails commending her performance. This offer also applies to audience members who may already have seen the show this week (w/c Monday 5 March) without Connie and would like to go again. Please note that, regrettably this medical necessity coincides with a period which the producers agreed would be holiday dates for Lesley Garrett. During her holiday (Wednesday 7 - Friday 16 March) Lesley is giving her time free to Comic Relief to chair its Fame Academy."

Connie Fisher was scheduled to play the role of 'Maria' six times-a-week, on Tuesday to Saturday evenings and Saturday matinees. She played the role up to 23 February 2008 after which Summer Strallen took over the role, having previously featured in the Channel 4 television series Hollyoaks.

The Sound of Music in London previewed from 3 November 2006, opened 15 November 2006 and closes 21 February 2009


London Revival (Open Air Theatre) with Charlotte Wakefield 2013

Previewed 25 July 2013, Opened 5 August 2013, Closed 14 September 2013 at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park

The cast featured Charlotte Wakefield as 'Maria' and Michael Xavier as 'Captain von Trapp' with Helen Hobson as 'the Mother Abbess', Caroline Keiff as 'Elsa Schraeder', Michael Matus as 'Max Detweiler' and Faye Brookes as 'Liesl von Trapp'.

Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with choreography by Alistair David, designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Nick Lidster.

"Rachel Kavanaugh's production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is as appealingly clean and bright as the edelweiss Captain von Trapp sings of. Julie Andrews may be the hardest act to follow, but Charlotte Wakefield makes a superb Maria. In fact, everyone's good. The designer Peter McKintosh's crumbling ochre baroque backdrop serves as convent, country seat and swastika-emblazoned amphitheatre. Kavanaugh makes impressive use of her natural sylvan setting, both as an extension of the stage and as night draws in a darker backdrop to the second half." The Sunday Times

"It is a rather splendid production, with a good nature and a sense of confidence and fun that could, I fancy, have lifted my spirits even in the middle of a perfect storm. The designer Peter McKintosh has fashioned a fine set of a big Italianate villa with a grand staircase that leads down to a tessellated patio. Maria, however, makes her big entrance from the back of the stalls, gingerly picking a pathway down the vertiginous arena, as she belts out The Hills are Alive... It is hard to get Rodgers and Hammerstein's old musical badly wrong, but this show manages to communicate its life-enhancing spirit unusually well. It pays proper attention, too, to the story of nuns and Nazis and a principled old Austrian hero and his seven melodic children, to the extent it packs, on occasion, a genuine emotional punch... Maria's seven charges are a delight and the show's trump card." The Sunday Telegraph

"There are no mountains in Regent's Park, but Rachel Kavanaugh's superbly staged, gloriously atmospheric revival nevertheless scales every possible peak created by the much beloved - indeed for many the almost sacred - movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical. Every leaf in the park is quiveringly, quaveringly alive to The Sound Of Music... Charlotte Wakefield's captivating Maria hits all the right notes in every sense, bubbling over with an energy that is never exhausting, an innocence which is never naive and a sweetness that is never saccharin. She fearlessly stands up to her employer's insistence that the children march in uniforms rather than play in play clothes. But her passionate embrace of whatever life throws her makes it entirely believable that one minute she's in love with the idea of becoming a nun, the next she's a loving and imaginative governess, and the next she is being swept off her feet by Michael Xavier's Captain von Trapp... The open-air setting makes it sing all the more sweetly. I watched with a lump in throat, a goofy smile on my face, my toes tapping, utterly entranced. Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, do whatever you need to get a ticket." The Mail on Sunday

"It always comes as a shock that a musical famous for celebrating raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens should culminate in the Nazi annexation of Austria. In fact, few stage works are as whimsical or gritty as Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved 1959 musical and Rachel Kavanaugh's production at the Open Air Theatre certainly delivers a frisson of horror when Nazi soldiers surge into this most romantic of venues ahead of the von Trapp's performance at the Salzburg Festival. The drama is built out of sharp oppositions, not least with its two leads: Captain von Trapp is all wintry formality; Maria is effervescent fun... In Kavanaugh's well-sung and wittily choreographed staging, Charlotte Wakefield and Michael Xavier capture these contrasts admirably. Wakefield's youthful Maria grows visibly in emotional maturity in the final half-hour, while Xavier's von Trapp delivers the smouldering passion. If the seven von Trapp children singing So Long, Farewell doesn't put a smile on your face, the sight of a gaggle of wimpled sisters slyly moving in musical unison surely will." The London Metro

The Sound of Music in London at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, previewed from 25 July 2013, opened on 5 August 2013 and closed on 14 September 2013