The best writers have the ability to take a basic narrative with basic characters and elevate those elements into a story that the audience or reader is able to hook into easily.
The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway in 1959. It is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp, a young woman in Austria who takes a job as a governess before deciding if she will join the nunnery that she has called home. As she turns the hearts of the children under her care, she also turns the heart of their widower father. World War II is on the horizon and the family must make a choice. Stay and support the Nazis or leave with only the clothes on their backs. In the end, they escape with almost nothing except with the knowledge that they are not silently standing by and approving of the new regime.
Recently, LaGuardia High School (otherwise known as the real life New York City High School that Fame is based on) decided to put on a production of The Sound of Music. During the rehearsal process, school administrators decided to downplay the historical facts of play by removing the swastikas from the production.
While I understand where the administrators were coming from, I disagree with their decision. Rodgers and Hammerstein did not just write love stories. Their stories are about issues that we as a society have to deal with. In Sound of Music, the issue is do you follow your conscious and leave everything/everyone that you know and love or do you silently sit back while something that you disagree with continues on?
From my perspective, The Sound of Music is the perfect musical to put on in this political climate. Not just because it is one of the greatest musicals of all time, but it reminds all of us of the power of standing up for what is right, even when no one else is.