Which religious Dominican nun served as a technical advisor to the 1959 musical, ‘The Sound of Music’?
Discovered in the US Library of Congress are letters that were written by Sister Gregory Duffy (1912-1995) of Rosary College representing correspondence with the creators of the 1959 musical ‘The Sound of Music’. She served as a technical advisor on religious life to the creators of the 1959 musical. She was a Dominican nun and theater professor at Rosay College in Illinois in the U.S., now named the Dominican University.
According to letters found in the Oscar Hammerstein II collections, Sister Gregory would travel to New York City to enjoy the theater scene. She developed a personal relationship with famous actors including Mary Martin. When the play ‘The Sound of Music’ was under development, Mary Martin corresponded with Sister Gregory to solicit her consultation about women in the religious life. Between 1958 and 1959, 15 letters document various insights Sister Gregory had about the script and character development.
Regarding one of the featured songs in the movie, ‘Climb Every Mountain’, Sister wrote that it was symbolic of an individual’s struggle to discern major life decisions. Sister Gregory proved to be a major influence on ‘The Sound of Music’.
The play is a musical based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp and the story of the Trapp Family singers. Set in Austria in 1938, Maria takes a job as a governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children and their widowed father.