Maria (Rodgers and Hammerstein song)

Song from The Sound of Music
Published 1959
Writer(s) Oscar Hammerstein II
Composer(s) Richard Rodgers

"Maria", sometimes known as "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music.

This song is sung by the nuns at Nonnberg Abbey, who are exasperated with Maria for being too frivolous and frolicsome for the decorous and austere life at the Abbey.

This song gave its title to Andrew Lloyd Webber's reality TV series How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, in which TV viewers voted for a contestant to play the lead role of Maria von Trapp in his London revival of The Sound of Music. Connie Fisher won the TV series and was cast as Maria in the London revival of the show that opened in November 2006 at the London Palladium.

When Oscar Hammerstein II wrote the lyric for this song, he followed the lead from a line in the dialogue that Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse wrote in their script, describing Maria's flighty ways in the Abbey. In particular, he was taken by the detail of her wearing curlers in her hair under her wimple.[1] Hammerstein asked if he could incorporate their dialogue into the song, and they allowed him to do so because "if you tell a story in a song, it's so much better."[2] When writing the lyric, Hammerstein knew he needed adjectives for the nuns to describe Maria. He admitted that his vocabulary was never big,[3] but the simple adjectives he used to describe Maria's character proved a success.


  1. Maslon, Laurence (2006). The Sound of Music Companion. London: Pavilion Books.
  2. Wilk, Max (2007). The Making of The Sound of Music. New York: Routledge.
  3. Fordin, Hugh (1995). Getting to Know Him: A Biography of Oscar Hammerstein II. New York: Da Capo Press.

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