, a cultural icon of a different sort and one of the most beloved stories of our time, is lovingly and thoroughly celebrated in Laurence Maslon's The Sound of Music Companion. With a heartfelt foreword by Andrew Lloyd Webber (who recently brought the show back to the stage), this captivating, joyful book bursts with history, artwork and mementos, production still photography, song lyrics and stories all devoted to the musical and cinematic productions of the Von Trapp family story.

Maslon starts his tribute at the very beginning, introducing us to the indomitable, irrepressible Maria and her adopted family, and intersperses their saga (from Salzburg to the States) with Oscar Hammerstein's memorable song lyrics and production shots from both movie and musical versions. The book segues almost seamlessly into a thoughtful and entertaining history of the show's genesis, from its very first production with Mary Martin, to the movie version with Julie Andrews and all the variant productions since and in between (including the Sound of Music sing-along phenomenon), ending with the recent Lloyd Webber stage revival.

With its history of the rise of the Third Reich, a wealth of behind-the-scenes production anecdotes and a fascinating look at the creative processes of Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music Companion is thoughtfully conceived, beautifully written and well-researched a guaranteed candidate for any fan's shortlist of favorite things.

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