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The Sound of Music Live!

Thursday 8:00 PM on NBC Premiered Dec 05, 2013 Special


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The Sound of Music Live!

Show Summary

NBC brings the classic special to life in this live broadcast.


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    Come on, it's live! Who knows what could happen?

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    • Nazis, Nuns and a Nanny

      Now, despite my issues with the film, the stage version of The Sound of Music will never be as good as the film. The film has lush cinematography and because it's a movie, it can actually be filmed outside like it was meant to be. But I do have problems. Though Julie Andrews will always and forever be Maria to me and probably thousands of others, I feel that Christopher Plummer is miscast. Sure, if I was grading the film, I would still give it an A, but Plummer is too young for the role, his singing is dubbed (which always loses points with me) and his performance is wooden at times. And the role of the baroness (Eleanor Parker in the film) is a squishy one. She is cruel at times, wanting to put the children in a boarding school and doesn't care to get to know them, but she gives Maria the final push to approach the Captain, so I can't consider her all bad. The real villain is the Nazis. And maybe even the Captain himself until his hard shell softens.

      But I'm not reviewing the film, I'm reviewing the live stage production.

      It begins differently, with the nuns in the Abbey, but Maria (Carrie Underwood) is missing. Then, it cuts to her singing in the forest set. Sure, the Abbey looks great but the forest is clearly a set. I know, I know, but still, it bothers me. I want the actual scenery. And then, worse, they use that same scenery, yikes, for the song between Rolf and Liesl, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", which truly upset me.

      Also, the songs are out of order. Okay, not really, but compared to the movie they are. This is why when I watch the film first, I often have a problem with the stage version. This is also most certainly the case of West Side Story. I love and adore the film, but I have issues with the stage version, putting a joyous song after the major deaths and having the song "Somewhere" as a group number. Once again, I'm reviewing the stage production of The Sound of Music.

      I love Carrie Underwood, but basically from the beginning, I felt that she was miscast. Maria must be someone European. Still, her performance was more than acceptable but it could have been better, like actually crying when she reveals her true feelings about the Captain. However, Maria does start out as a strong character, refusing to give in to the Captain's (Stephen Moyer's) insistence that she answer to a whistle call, but after marrying him, she will follow him blindly, but she's no longer afraid of her emotions. The actors do have good chemistry, but "Something Good" lacks the heat it had in the when he hands her his whistle, signaling his change, the moment is poignant.

      Okay, back to Maria. I fail to understand why they made her look like a Swedish milkmaid for most of the film, including the pivotal engagement scene (more on that later). Her performance only misses a beat once, but you never get the impression that she is Maria, she's only playing, pretending to be Maria.

      Now, lets talk about the Captain. Stephen Moyer can actually sing, always a plus. Perhaps it is because of the set-up of the live version, his performance is often on the stiff side. Maybe if we had more real close ups, we could see the cool man melt upon hearing his children sing. His sudden change is just that, sudden. Only five minutes after pulling himself from his children's embrace, he opens his arms warmly to them. Too quick, but a sweet moment nevertheless.

      Thank goodness for Laura Benanti as the Baroness Schrader and Audra McDonald as the Mother Superior. They are utterly brilliant. The moment Benanti entered, it was like a breath of fresh air. She was great, nailing the role. She is great as the cold Baroness, blatantly telling the children that it will take her a while to get their names right, and not caring that it will take her a while.

      Also, the volatile political climate plays a much bigger role in this stage production than in the film itself. That is the real reason that the Captain (Stephen Moyer) and the Baroness's engagement breaks off, because she and Max (the unrecognizable Christian Borle) will give in just so their lifestyles are not changed. This angers the Captain, so Maria is informed that she was mistaken, they will not be getting married. Which leads to the best twitter comment ever: "I've never been engaged, but the Captain is engaged twice in five minutes. Rebound much?" Which nails my sentiments exactly. He may have had lingering feelings for Maria for some time, bemoaning her sudden departure, but their engagement is extremely sudden. Yet, it is a love story I can't help but root for, despite Maria being his rebound.

      Okay, another huge problem I had was the song order. "My Favorite Things" needs to be sung during the thunderstorm, not between Maria and Mother Superior. A change also needs to be noticed in the children. They must, at first, be mean to Maria but then change. And teaching them to sing must be done at a later time, not right after meeting them.

      Okay, that's all I have with the song orders.

      It is ambitious to do a live stage production, something which hasn't been done in over fifty years. I feel that they should do more. The commercials are jarring and probably brought the final grade of the film down. Still, the singing is brilliant, not a note is out of place, and Underwood only messed up one line, though she immediately corrected herself. There were very few technical differences noticed which is incredible in itself.

      The children are also very good, nailing the roles, though I found it odd that Maria is alerted to her hidden feelings for the Captain by young Bridgitta. Whatever, the children were great, especially Kurt. They all can really sing. Great finds, casting directors.

      The set is also interesting. It is clearly not a stage setting, but rather an elaborate set arranged just for this telecast. I might have preferred if it was done on the traditional stage. I've seen it twice on stage and it was done better than this film. I found it particularily jarring when Maria leaves the von Trapp house and is immediately back in the Abbey. Also, when the family went from their living room to the performance hall was another awkward transition. But the sets (with the notable exception of the forest and hills) did look good. Oh well, you can't get everything you want.

      Also, the choreography must be noted. The cast didn't miss a step and some of the dancing must have been difficult. If nothing else, the cast has guts, performing live across America, nerves weren't really an issue, incredible.

      I would have liked the commercials to be used minimally, which they weren't. But the production could have been far worse, but it also could have been much better. I blame the commercials for some of my issues. Yet, I am still glad I also DVR'd this, because despite my many problems, I will gladly watch this again and again. Grade: Bmoreless
    • Awesome lady

      i love her so much u go girl ! i know since american idol she awesome !

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