After a first wave of popularity in the 1910s, musical comedies experienced revivals both after the worldwide stock exchange crash of 1929 and, even more sharply, after World War II. They were antidotes to crisis – anchored in reality at the start before soaring off and giving ample scope to imagination. As an interdisciplinary art form, musical comedy combines music, song, dance and story-telling. We are charmed by its virtuosity and diverted by the constant changes of rhythm and genre, the fluctuation between real-world settings and timeless worlds of fantasy and fairy tales, between dialogue and song, day and night, resignation and hope. As bearers of simplified messages, musical comedies transport us to other worlds without complexity, easily consumable, easily imaginable; easy not to have to reflect too much.
This both enthusiastic and critical understanding of musical comedies is what the idea behind Sound of Music is based on. The aim is to give new life to the genre, a form of popular culture in the best sense of the word, and at the same time to galvanise the audience, to get people to ask themselves: What is actually being said behind all this show of glitter and songs? How is (superficial) beauty used as a propaganda tool? Am I prepared to see and hear what is behind the music?