I Watched The Sound of Music Live! So You Didn’t Have To

  • By Kim
  • 6 December, 2013
  • Comments Off


I’ll be upfront and say that I was looking forward to this in both a pessimistic, yet fond way. I LOVE the movie version of The Sound of Music. My grandmother gave me the double VHS boxset when I was 7 years old and I played the shit out of those tapes until they eventually wore out around 1993. I know all the nuanced looks, the background score, everything. So when I first heard about NBC’s production, I couldn’t help feel the skepticism. I had seen the stage version and I unabashedly love musicals, and that was what my problem with this production – the role of Maria would be done by someone with virtually no theater experience.

Look, Carrie Underwood is a fine and talented singer. But that doesn’t mean she’s cut out to be in a rigorous 3-hour long musical. Live theater is hard, full stop. You have to be able to dance, sing, smile, and captivate an audience without running out of breath, flubbing your lines and keeping your energy high despite a comatose audience. As much as she might look the part, Underwood is no actress. I really tried to not judge her performance against Julie Andrews’. It’s just not fair; no one would have been able to duplicate the perfection of Andrews. Underwood’s singing was fine, if a little twangy, but what I really longed for was the joy and vivacity the role needed. This is supposed to be a nanny that a family of 8 virtually falls in love with! A woman so flighty and amusing that nuns don’t know what to do with her! So captivating and sweet that an awesome, wealthy Baroness steps aside for her! Unfortunately, that woman was not Ms. Underwood. Against her very capable co-stars, she reflected poorly.

I went in having no doubts about the rest of the cast – theater veterans all of them. I knew Audra McDonald would shine as the Mother Abbess and she didn’t disappoint. (Did you see her at the end of the Tony Awards this year?) She KILLED Climb Ev’ry Mountain, and I’ve always fast forwarded during that part in the movie. Christian Borle (Uncle Max) and Laura Benanti (Baroness Schrader) were also perfect in their roles with very strong performances. The kids were all precocious as theater kids tend to be. Even Stephen Moyer delivered in that stiff, constipated Captain von Trapp kind of way. (Although, I weirdly kept wishing that Captain Von Trapp was David Morrissey. I had just watched The Walking Dead prior, so it might have been some weird brain crossover.)

Overall, I thought it wasn’t bad at all and I hope that NBC would continue to televise live musicals around the holidays. The sets and costumes were great, as were all of the televised transitions. I did hope that the show would have included a live audience to include applause, but that was minor. A few more thoughts below:

  • Why is Carrie Underwood constantly in a milk-maid type of outfit? It seems odd. and her ‘ugly’ dress, was not very ugly at all.
  • Franz and Frau are awesome! I love these actors.
  • Carrie Underwood looks worried climbing the stair backwards during Do-Re-Mi. God, this is the stiffest rendition of the song I have ever heard.

  • Rolfe looks about 30 years old. Despite the high shorts, this still feels a little To Catch A Predator.
  • The Lonely Goatherd without puppets is confusing. Why are they singing this during the thunderstorm? This is supposed to be My Favorite Things time!
  • Laura Benanti as Elsa is terrific. Her ballgown is perfection! There is no way in hell any man would dump her for someone wearing an ugly pink milk maid dress.
  • So Long, Farewell is still my favorite song. The kids are doing a cracking job. Love Kurt’s high note.
  • Rolfe is a dick! Wow. How Liesl is in love with this jerk is amazing.
  • Stephen Moyer’s cracking voice while singing Edelweiss is very convincing. I bought it.
  • Herr Zeller is scaring me! This dude would make me want to climb over the Alps too
  • The Austrian festival was well done and creepy with all of the swastika banners. Where was Georg ripping them down and tearing them in half?

And then I fell asleep on the sofa while they were fleeing the Nazis. Sorry!

Photos from Zap2It

Video from NBC




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