This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 16 is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 45 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1959, the musical, “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway.
Did the young Austrian nun named Maria really take to the hills surrounding Salzburg to sing spontaneously of her love of music? Did she comfort herself with thoughts of copper kettles, and did she swoon to her future husband’s song about an alpine flower while the creeping menace of Nazism spread across central Europe? No, the real-life Maria von Trapp did none of those things. She was indeed a former nun, and she did indeed marry Count Georg von Trapp and become stepmother to his large brood of children, but nearly all of the particulars she related in her 1949 book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, were ignored by the creators of the Broadway musical her memoir inspired. And while the liberties taken by the show’s writers, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and by its composer and lyricist, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, caused some consternation to the real Maria von Trapp and to her stepchildren, according to many later reports, those liberties made The Sound of Music a smash success from the very night of its Broadway opening on this day in 1959.
The Sound of Music opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959, moved to the Mark Hellinger Theatre on November 6, 1962 and closed on June 15, 1963 after 1,443 performances. The director was Vincent J. Donehue, and the choreographer was Joe Layton. The original cast included Mary Martin (at age 46) as Maria, Theodore Bikel as Captain Georg von Trapp, Patricia Neway as Mother Abbess, Kurt Kasznar as Max Detweiler, Marion Marlowe as Elsa Schraeder, Brian Davies as Rolf and Lauri Peters as Liesl. Soprano June Card was one of the ensemble members in the original production. The show tied for the Tony Award for Best Musical with Fiorello!. Other awards included Martin for Best Actress in a Musical, Neway for Best Featured Actress, Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith) and Best Musical Direction (Frederick Dvonch). Bikel and Kaznar were nominated for acting awards, and Donehue was nominated for his direction. The entire children’s cast was nominated for Best Featured Actress category as a single nominee, even though two children were boys.
The Sound of Music was the final musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Hammerstein died of cancer nine months after the Broadway premiere.
Rebecca Luker leads the 1998 Broadway revival cast in a performance of ‘Climb Every Mountain,’ ‘Do Re Mi’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ at the Tony Awards.
534 – A second and final revision of the Codex Justinianus is published.
1491 – An auto de fe, held in the Brasero de la Dehesa outside of Avila, concludes the case of the Holy Child of La Guardia with the public execution of several Jewish and converso suspects.
1532 – Francisco Pizarro and his men capture Inca Emperor Atahualpa.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: Hessian mercenaries capture Fort Washington from the Patriots.
1776 – American Revolution: The United Provinces (Low Countries) recognize the independence of the United States.
1805 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Schongrabern – Russian forces under Pyotr Bagration delay the pursuit by French troops under Murat.
1821 – American Old West: Missouri trader William Becknell arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico over a route that became known as the Santa Fe Trail.
1849 – A Russian court sentences Fyodor Dostoevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence is later commuted to hard labor.
1852 – The English astronomer John Russell Hind discovers the asteroid 22 Kalliope.
1857 – Second relief of Lucknow. Twenty-four Victoria Crosses are awarded, the most in a single day.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Campbell’s Station near Knoxville, Tennessee. Confederate troops unsuccessfully attack Union forces.
1885 – Canadian rebel leader of the Metis and “Father of Manitoba”, Louis Riel is executed for treason.
1907 – Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory become Oklahoma and are admitted as the 46th U.S. state.
1907 – Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania, sister ship of RMS Lusitania, sets sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.
1914 – The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens.
1938 – LSD is first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.
1940 – World War II: In response to Germany’s leveling of Coventry, England two days before, the Royal Air Force bombs Hamburg.
1940 – Holocaust: In occupied Poland, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.
1943 – World War II: American bombers strike a hydro-electric power facility and heavy water factory in German-controlled Vemork, Norway.
1944 – Dueren, Germany is destroyed by Allied bombers.
1945 – Cold War: Operation Paperclip: The United States Army secretly admits 88 German scientists and engineers to help in the development of rocket technology.
1945 – UNESCO is founded.
1965 – Venera program: The Soviet Union launches the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus, the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet.
1973 – Skylab program: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida for an 84-day mission.
1973 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.
1979 – The first line of Bucharest Metro (Line M1) is opened from Timpuri Noi to Semanatoarea in Bucharest, Romania.
1988 – The Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR declares that Estonia is “sovereign” but stops short of declaring independence.
1988 – In the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan elect populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister of Pakistan.
1989 – A death squad composed of El Salvadoran army troops kills six Jesuit priests and two others at Jose Simeon Canas University.
1989 – UNESCO adopts the Seville Statement on Violence at the twenty-fifth session of its General Conference.
1997 – After nearly 18 years of incarceration, the People’s Republic of China releases Wei Jingsheng, a pro-democracy dissident, from jail for medical reasons.
2000 – Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.