Janina Casey, a financial executive based in New York City, was a successful child actor. She appeared on the Electric Company, where she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy, and on several commercials. Beyond that, Janina Casey performed in The Sound of Music at Guy Lombardo Theatre.
Though there are a number of variations from the actual happenings, The Sound of Music is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp. Born in Vienna as Maria Augusta Kutschera, Maria von Trapp grew up as an orphan. She trained at the State Teachers College for Progressive Education in Vienna before entering the Benedictine Abbey of Nonnberg in Salzburg. In 1926, at age 21, after life in the abbey began having a detrimental affect on her health, she left to go with Georg von Trapp to serve as a tutor to his second-oldest daughter, Maria. The arrangement was originally supposed to last 10 months.
The von Trapp children were already familiar with music and knew how to play several instruments thanks to George and their mother Agathe. Contrary to how he is portrayed in the first part of the musical and movie, Georg von Trapp loved hearing his children sing. Still, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Father Franz Wasner discovered the children’s talent. Wasner met the family as one of the many boarders the family had to take in to raise money after losing their fortune during the Great Depression.
When the von Trapp family fled Austria in 1938, 11 years after Maria and Georg had married, Wasner went with them and served as their musical director. With his help, the von Trapp family toured the United States and Europe until 1955. This was five years after the Trapp Family Lodge opened on a farm in Stowe, Vermont, and almost 10 years after Georg von Trapp had passed away.