'The Sound of Music Live!' Review - lsureveille.com: Pop Of Culture

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'The Sound of Music Live!' Review

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 8:32 pm


The hills are alive with the sound of my head banging against a brick wall.

To give you a little backstory on my relationship with The Sound of Music (1965), it has been my favorite film since I was nine years old. My dad brought the VHS home as a gift for me after a business trip in Europe and the rest is history. I instantly fell in love and wished I had six siblings to harmonize and be mischievous with. I'm pretty sure the VHS is close to falling apart because of the countless times I replayed the classic "Do-Re-Mi" sequence. 

Fast forward to tonight, 12 years later, when I hate-watched as NBC hosted The Sound of Music: Live! starring Carrie Underwood as the quirky Fraulein Maria and Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp.

The casting director/producers of this show really missed the mark because they focused more on singing talent and completely forgot that the actors also need to know how to...act. I could probably write a book on why Carrie Underwood should never be handed a script again. Even worse, who wants to see Vampire Bill in a musical, anyways? 

Something else that really threw me off: the order and placement of the songs. "Favorite Things" in the Abbey with Mother Abbess, "Do-Re-Mi" in the house foyer, and "Lonely Goatherd" in Maria's bedroom. If you've seen the movie, you realize how bizarre all of that sounds.  

Yes, I know they may have based this more on the stage version than the film, but because the latter has become such a classic, the comparisons were inevitable. So, the verdict on this new version is that it just didn't live up to the hype. But, really, how could it? 

Just so you don't think I'm being a total Grinch in this review, here's something positive: I actually do think Carrie Underwood is a tremendously talented singer, as are Audra McDonald (Mother Abbess) and much of the cast. However, there was an unspoken rule that after the 1965 film, The Sound of Music should remain untouched by Hollywood. NBC broke this very important rule, leaving us with this sub-par live version that no one asked for to begin with. 

If you haven't seen this new version yet, save your time. I'll gladly lend you my VHS tape so you can see the real, and as far as I'm concerned, the only worthwhile version of The Sound of Music

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • allyce posted at 4:20 pm on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

    allyce Posts: 3

    For someone who claims that the Sound of Music is your favorite movie, you clearly stopped there at learning anything about the von Trapp family. The movie was adapted from the stage production which is what NBC rightfully based their production off of. Maria wasn't all sunshine and rainbows like she was portrayed in both the stage and film productions. She had a terrible temper but that was overlooked for the sake of entertainment. Captain von Trapp was by no means the detached and cold father as portrayed, he actually loved musical activities with his children and was very warm. Speaking of the children, there were ten not seven, all the names and ages were changed, and Maria was their tutor, not their governess.
    But I digress, this poorly done review was about the production, not the actual history so lets move on.Carrie Underwood isn't Julie Andrews, that's why her name is Carrie Underwood. She is a fabulous and talented singer who did a beautiful job of capturing the stage version of Marias warmth for the children. 'Vampire Bill' as you referred to Stephen Moyer actually started off on stage and was an accomplished singer long before True Blood came along.
    Now about this unspoken rule you claim there to be, I agree that you cannot remake a classic, but you can celebrate a play and movie that is beloved by all. NBC wasn't aiming to upstage the 1965 classic, it was trying to bring a play that has largely been in the dark back into the spotlight for a new generation. To me, NBC was trying to celebrate the von Trapps. Because what is every theatre, high school stage and reproduction doing when they put on the Sound of Music? Celebrating a story.
    So to you and everyone else who has has criticism for the NBC production, I fully expect you to go to every single performance of the Sound of Music that there is in every high school, theatre, etc. and tell every single person who plays Maria that they aren't Julie Andrews and shouldn't even have tried to play the part. In closing, I leave you with this, "imitation is the best form of flattery."

  • Lori Jayeff posted at 6:36 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

    Lori Jayeff Posts: 1

    The leads were awful.Underwood can not act and she yelled her way through the performance. Audra McDonald saved the show. Shows need actors not celebrities.

  • SForkel posted at 3:14 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

    SForkel Posts: 1

    Everyone seems to focus on the singing or the acting. Every powerful production, whether stage or film, evokes powerful emotion. Julie Andrews, with her innocent smile and charismatic character brought a magic to the set that is beyond words. You felt the movie in your heart and it moved you to tears. While there was awesome singing ability onstage with this live version, it did not do justice to the original movie. I respect NBC for taking this bold chance, but I think the cast, while focusing so much on getting everything right technically, failed emotionally.

  • Amyefj posted at 12:39 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

    Amyefj Posts: 2

    One more thing....this was suppose to be a PROFESSIONAL production not community theatre. You can't shoot a play with 14 cameras and call it just a play. They tried to combine both aspects. It flopped. I feel bad Carrie was tossed into this with no acting capabilities. Her voice was much improved from her normal country voice.

  • Amyefj posted at 12:33 am on Fri, Dec 6, 2013.

    Amyefj Posts: 2

    It was terrible! Poor sound, poor lighting and the song sequence wasn't the same as the play. I thought Mother Abbess was boring and uncaring. Carrie cannot act. Had no chemistry with the Capt. He was scary. Max l

  • doug altman posted at 11:27 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    doug altman Posts: 1

    I am 50 and never saw the movie or stage production. I watched all three hours and was very pleased with the musical. I can not see how anyone could compare this to a movie that can have as many retakes as possible to get it perfect. As a novice in acting she has a lot to learn but it was a very enjoyable 3 hours!

  • t54911berger posted at 11:06 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    t54911berger Posts: 1

    There is a lot to be critical of in this performance. BUT the order of the songs is not one of these things! Do some research before writing, the slightest amount of research would reveal that the kids do not sing favorite things until the second act.


    That was the best thing about this, was that it raised awareness of the show. That it is possible to do in a different way than the movie that everyone knows.

    I think that it is sad that this reviewer missed that.

    Also, Carrie is horrible. And Audra blew everyone out of the water. SHE IS THE REAL DEAL. But not Carrie. And it's not because of the big shoes to fill. It's because she's not an actor AT ALL.

  • HighWireSquire posted at 11:00 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    HighWireSquire Posts: 1

    Um, the entire point was that this was the stage version.

  • doccoch posted at 10:46 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    doccoch Posts: 1

    Regardless, of your opinion of Underwood's acting skills (yes I noticed her southern drawl was a bit unconvincing as an Austrian), tonight's television showing was a remake of the 1959 Broadway show and NOT the 1965 film. The film, no matter how dear to our hearts, was not the original. Tonight's script, presentation, and order of songs were how originally intended by Rodgers and Hammerstein II.

  • rabblais posted at 10:42 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    rabblais Posts: 1

    Your problem, amigo, is that you don't know the history at all. Sound of Music was originally a Broadway show (starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bickel). The order of the songs is from the show...it's a revival of THAT show, not the movie.
    A lot of that makes sense. They moved the title song in the movie so they could get that great opening shot, swooping down on Julie Andrews. But, again, this is the show and should be judged on that.
    I agree that the movie is iconic but I've seen revivals of a lot of shows that have been made into movies. That's show biz.
    As for the cast, keep in mind that this is a live presentation just like the theater. No going back and doing a half dozen more shots to make it perfect. No opening up and going all over the place for DoReMi. That's the way a show is done. So there were imperfections but that happens in the theater.
    Another point: yes, the Captain is known for True Blood. So what? Should Julie Andrews have stopped performing after Mary Poppins? We wouldn't have had the Sound of Music movie quite the same. The guy wasn't bad. Not a great singer but, frankly, neither was Christopher Plummer.
    Also, remember that Lonely Goatherd was a huge setup for the movie. Not useful for a stage presentation. And getting an extra song for Audra McDonald (I saw the original show and that was more than 50 years ago, remember that Mary Martin was J.R. Ewing's mom (well, Larry Hagman's mom, anyway) so it is possible the original Mother Superior didn't do it. But McDonald has that voice on her...and Climb Every Mountain was incredible. I think the voice of the Mother Superior in the movie was dubbed...Peggy Wood was never known for a great voice.
    Yes, it is not up the movie. But it was still a nice show and I hope it did well. I wouldn't mind seeing other shows done.

  • MizzTricia posted at 10:09 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    MizzTricia Posts: 1

    Sooooooooo true. The acting was horrible! I grew up with the Broadway soundtrack (Mary Martin was Maria) and being live TV, I get why they based this on the show not the movie. But either way, ya gotta act! Awful.

  • Wilhelmina posted at 9:48 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    Wilhelmina Posts: 1

    The review was almost word for word of what I said during this horrible performance the leading nun has an incredible voice but we already knew that so did the almost wife carry underwood is a great singer but that is where it stops ,I have to admit that I laugh't a lot at the bizarre acting

  • Bbirkline posted at 9:35 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    Bbirkline Posts: 1

    I was very disappointed. I expected a decent remake, but what i saw was at best a college stage play with only 4 or 5 sets for background. The actor that played the Captain looked mean and hateful instead of stern, as he should have.

  • BostonTodd posted at 9:21 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    BostonTodd Posts: 1

    Nice Review...after it had been on for only 45 minutes! Couldn't wait until it was even half over to crap all over it??? Whatever...

  • Alexander posted at 9:08 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    Alexander Posts: 1

    The "someone who actually thought it was ok" to sing "Favorite things" in the abbey was (were) Rogers and Hammerstein. They wrote the original play. The producers of the live show tonight made it very clear that they were basing it off the play, and not the movie (in interviews and promos). I like the movie best like many because it was the first (and until now, only) version I saw; but please research a bit before writing it off as "a sub-par version nobody asked for". I am no connesuir of theater, but once in a while maybe turn off the TV and at least read wikipedia.

  • MotherSuperior posted at 9:05 pm on Thu, Dec 5, 2013.

    MotherSuperior Posts: 1

    How dare you "review" the musical only 1.5 hours into it.

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