Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fragments from a musical

A little-known fact of musical-theater history: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music started as a very different show, What Is the Sound of Music?

From the surviving manuscripts, in black pencil and blue ink on lined yellow 8 1/2" x 11" paper:

A Buddhist nun is torn between her dedication to the liberation of all sentient beings and her love for a wealthy landowner whose family [illegible ] as a governess.

[This sentence appears to be a synopsis of the story.]


“What Is the Sound of Music?”
“This Acolyte’s a Problem in the Sangha”
“How Do You Solve a Problem Like Samsara?”
“The Lonely Lama”
“Climb Ev’ry Mountain in the Quest for
“Old Advice”
“Worldly Vice, Worldly Vice, Every Morning You Greet

[From what appears to be a list of working song titles. Three of the titles are struck through.]


Totally unprepared are you to face a world of Zen,
Timid and shy and scared are you of koans beyond
    your ken.

[Partial lyric, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen Days of Unceasing Meditation”]


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
All are but fleeting, impermanent things.

[Partial lyric, “My Favorite Things Are All Utterly Impermanent”]
Perhaps you too, reader, have come across one or more manuscript fragments. Please, share your discovery in a comment.

[No disrespect to any tradition intended. It’s just fun.]

comments: 3

Rachel said...

LOL. You had me for a second!

Daughter Number Three said...

Is August 1 a new holiday?

Michael Leddy said...

Rachel, I’m proud to have fooled you for even that long. Pat, I hadn’t thought about August 1, but now I may have to.