Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer in NBC’s “The Sound Of Music Live”
Produced by Storyline Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television and Universal Television.
Executive producers, Neil Meron, Craig Zadan; producer, Priscilla Taussig; directors, Beth McCarthy-Miller, Rob Ashford; music/lyrics, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein; book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse; adapted for television by Austin Winsberg; production designer, Derek McLane; music director, David Chase. 3 HOURS
Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, Ariane Rinehart, Michael Nigro, Ella Watts-Gorman, Joe West, Sophia Caruso, Grace Rundhaug, Peyton Ella
From the zombified acting on Carrie Underwood‘s part to the high school production feel of the whole mess, The Sound Of Music Live was an unmitigated disaster! It was so bad that I wish I could have surgery to remove the part of my brain housing the memory of it! The mistakes are so numerous as to make the whole idea a bad one. Can you even imagine the pitch meeting where some fool thought this would be a good idea?
First, the casting. Other than Audra McDonald as the Mother Superior and Ariane Rinehart, as Liesl, every other casting was dreadful including the littlest Von Trapp! I love Laura Benanti but she was not glamorous enough to play the bitchy countess. And though the vocal performances were strong, Moyer and Underwood had the least amount of chemistry of any screen couple in radio, TV, Film, Video, community theatre, dinner theatre, or high school production history! He was badly misscast, she was even more so.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Carrie Underwood is a major VOCAL talent. I remember calling my late Mom after her audition commercial and saying with certainty, “She’s the next American Idol.” But Broadway shows demand singing, dancing, AND acting! Unlike Jennifer Hudson, Constantine Maroulis, and Fantasia, who are all triple threats, Underwood should stick to her day job. In the words of Dorothy Parker, “her performance ran the gamut of emotions from A to B!” I wanted to look away every time Underwood had to do anything other than sing, which was tough since she was the star. I’ve seen better acting in children at play! What was NBC thinking? If they needed to go with an Idol competitor, there was one right under their noses – Katherine McPhee from NBC’s “Smash” would’ve been a better choice!
And I’m sorry, but someone needs to tell Stephen Moyer that he will never be able to shake his vampire persona! Unlike Christopher Plummer in the screen version, who was sizzlingly sexy with both the countess and the nanny/nun, Moyer lacked chemistry with both of his female leads. If I didn’t know Moyer was married to Anna Paquin with kids, I would think he was gay based on the lack of chemistry in this pairing.
The decision to change the songs around and base this, on the stage play not the movie, was also a bad one. “My Favorite Things” just works better as the song that Maria uses to soothe the kids nerves during the storm.
And then there were the amateurish sets, lighting, and oh, those costumes! Carrie’s wig was so awful it looked Hasidic, the dress for the party, where she realizes she loves the Captain, made me think of those milk maiden costumes for Halloween, the wedding dress was DREADFUL, and what was with that Pan Am stewardess outfit she wore when returning from the Abbey?
Throwing this together as a live performance, in such a short span of time, gave the whole thing, a low budget high school musical feel. I had originally lamented that this should’ve run on Thanksgiving night. But it’s another thing to give thanks for that it didn’t ruin our holiday. I pray ABC is running the Julie Andrews film soon, so I can get this hot mess outta my head! Jesus was definitely not at the wheel!