TV Review: ‘The Sound of Music Live!’

The Sound of Music Live! review

A noble effort, NBC's telecast can't scale the mountain of making a live musical really sing

It’s a long way back to Mary Martin as Peter Pan, but the notion of a live TV musical — with all the inherent risk that entails — still contains more than a little magic. So give NBC credit for tackling the challenge, in trump-the-DVR-age fashion, with “The Sound of Music Live!,” even if the actual production too often felt as lifeless as those alpine backdrops. Part of that has to do with mounting a stage production on TV — even with the benefit of swooping camera angles — and part the casting, with Carrie Underwood handling the vocal chores more ably than the acting.

Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — who have done their all to prove musicals can thrive on screen, from “Chicago” to (less successfully) NBC’s “Smash” — the production was certainly handsome and polished, although in a sense, that worked against the live element. Sure, you might have seen a stray body through a window, but any sense of jeopardy dissipated rather quickly, leaving behind a new version of “The Sound of Music,” without the benefit of Julie Andrews or the original’s sweeping vistas.

Directors Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford certainly managed to get the most mileage and depth out of the elaborate sets, escaping any sense of claustrophobia. But for the most part they couldn’t make the story sing between the musical numbers, and the tingle one can get from a live theatrical experience didn’t materialize as filtered through the remove of TV.

That’s not to say this “Sound of Music” was without its pleasures, from “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” (as performed by Ariane Rinehart and Michael Campayno) to Audra McDonald — a truly superior Mother Abbess — belting out “Climb Every Mountain.” Laura Benanti also made the most of the relatively thankless role of Frau Schraeder, the ill-fated would-be bride of Captain Von Trapp (Stephen Moyer).

Still, the Maria-Von Trapp relationship has its problematic aspects under the best of circumstances, and Underwood and Moyer didn’t come close to threading that needle. Given the absence of chemistry, one could be forgiven for hoping he’d lapse into “True Blood” mode and simply bite her neck.

Understandably, some of the commercial breaks were awkward, and the Walmart sponsorship became slightly obnoxious — at least, for anyone not savvy enough to simply DVR the whole thing and reduce the time commitment by close to an hour.

From a wider and perhaps more generous perspective, it’s hard not to root for this earnest adaptation to enjoy a measure of success, if only to encourage networks to continue to brave such events. (One thought: To avoid the taint of snarky tweets from the East working their way toward the Pacific timezone, it might be wise to consider airing some future efforts live simultaneously.)

That macro view, however, can’t fully obscure the micro one. And in terms of feeling like this production genuinely delivered, that’s one mountain “The Sound of Music Live!” just couldn’t climb.

TV Review: 'The Sound of Music Live!'

(Live event; NBC, Thur. Dec. 5, 8 p.m.)


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

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  1. Dale Donahue says:

    And they are getting ready to broadcast it again tonight on NBC!! I can’t believe it! One of the worst trainwrecks that I have seen in theatrical production. It made Carrie Underwood look like she did not know anything about stage presentation, dancing, etc.

    • gephart2 says:

      Well, I disagree with you completely. I am a long-time fan of stage and screen, and I really enjoyed it. Sorry you didn’t—you lose. (And Ron, I am not young–but, like Peter Pan, I guess I’ll never grow up!)

      • Ron says:

        Gephart2. I agree with you. I am also not young, enjoy the stage and like to be entertained. I grew up down the street from the NBC studio in Brooklyn where Mary Martin did her Peter Pan. That is my memory but life is short and I am not about to waste my time comparing things to what it was like. I respect and appreciate the effort….whether it is professional, summer stock or civic theater.

    • Ron says:

      Give it a rest. TV networks, like any other media form, is in the business of selling news and entertainment. Those who consider themselves loyal purists are now outnumbered by a newer, younger generation who want entertainment for themselves and their kids. It’s business and NBC needs to recoup their investment. Get over it and watch something else to your liking.

  2. Mary Burnight says:

    Frankly, I thought little could top the Julie Andrews movie even though this was a worthy production BUT Audra McDonald as the Mother Superior was simply an outstanding singer. WOW!

  3. Jim Hubble says:

    I enjoyed this live production very much. I thought Carry Underwood did a superb job of the music as well as acting. After all this was a live production on a stage and naturally some of the spine shivering scenes that were in the original production with Julie Andrews were missing but none the less this came off as exciting and wonderfully acted and directed. Lets remember it was a live play on stage with wonderful back drops. Bar none it was great in my books. Hats off to everyone involved I loved it.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      Well, it took you awhile to post a comment here, Jim, but it was worth the wait. I’ve watched the show several times on my dvr since I saw the live performance, and I thoroughly enjoy it every time! See my 12/24 post about how much I am impressed by Carrie’s portrayal of Maria

  4. Karen C says:

    Well the comparisons here have been ENDLESS. Julie was a trained stage performer. She performed LIVE hundreds of times from the time she was 12 and on Broadway when she was barely 20 years old. The movie career came well after that. The idea that Julie couldn’t ‘keep up’ in a live effort is ridiculous. And take after take, I’ll bet you she gave 100%. She’s actually known for being that professional. Making movies is so much easier than one 2.5 hour performance? I don’t think so. It’s weeks and weeks of work and as many ‘takes’ as needed to get it right. The movie of Sound of Music got it all so very right!

  5. Judy says:

    And….there should be no comparison. One was a screen play with no retakes, the other was a movie with many, many retakes.

  6. Karen C says:

    Looks like last night’s annual airing of the film version had the highest rating in over 6 yrs. Could be people were anxious to see the REAL “Sound of Music” after the live version, and with good reason. Just watch the first 30 minutes of the film and you see a VAST difference in the performances of the 2 leads. Carrie is cute but Julie’s Maria is definitive. And Chris Plummer is THE Captain. There’s just no comparison.

  7. Tom Land says:

    I have to disagree with the printed reviews. In a live production the director is not afforded the luxury of retakes …you get what you got. I love the Julie Andrews movie but personally I prefer the live version over the movie. It evoked emotions the latter never did. I got choked up on more than a few occasions. Cudos to everyone involved.

    • Judy says:

      Tom, I agree with you…..I will say, however, that I think the script of the movie had a little more meat to it and would love to see that script transferred to the live performance.

  8. T D Williams says:

    “It’s a Wonderful Life” garnered 5.4 million viewers Friday night–a little less than a third of 18.5 million who watched “The Sound of Music Live!” (not to mention those who watched the December 14th reprise). It will be interesting to see what the movie “The Sound of Music” gets tonight. Even more interesting will be next year’s SOML ratings. Will there be any hat eating if SOML becomes a classic?

  9. Doreen Keenoy says:

    Disagree with critic and actually liked the TV production better than the movie. The tv production gave more substance to the other characters than the movie. The tv production also showed the ever increasing intrusion of the Nazi’s into Austria than the movie. Thought that Carrie was a better Maria as she played the role from a younger viewpoint than Julie Andrews who in reality was really too old to play the role of a 19 year old novice. Bravo Carrie on a memorable performanc.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      Totally agree with you, Doreen! I thought the live TV production was very well-produced and directed. And even though I have been a HUGE fan of Julie Andrews since the movie came out in 1965, I was stunned to see Carrie portray a much more believable Maria than even Julie did!. Carrie’s understated performance was “spot on” with regards to portraying a very naïve and confused young country girl who was torn between two very different life choices. Whether your portrayal of Maria was intentional or not, you did a great job, Carrie!

  10. Buddha.ron says:

    In response to Yvonne:

    Your thoughts are well stated and carries beyond any style of writing.

  11. YVONNE THOMAS says:


  12. Judy says:

    Sorry David….misspelled your last name….apologize.

  13. David Kutz says:

    I am enjoying the show very much on Dec. 14, first time on NBC I’ve seen it. I think it is great. I’d like to thank NBC and the cast for their hard work and investment in doing this. So refreshing after all the other crap on TV.

    • Judy says:

      I totally agree with you David Kurtz…..I watched it again last night and enjoyed it every bit as much.. And, I really watched Carried this time from a much more critical eye….yes, she made a couple of errors but who doesn’t…..can’t we just enjoy for, as you say, “good clean fun showing”….Go Carrie! You are a wonderful person who is a good role model for the youngsters you played with and those that watch you. Keep it up.

  14. Donna Buffington says:

    I thought the sound of music was great, not often do we get the opportunity of to see a live stage play. I thought Carrie Underwood was great and it was so nice to hear beautiful music that you could hear the words to. I hope they do more of these musical plays, and don’ t pay attention to reviewer that don’t know good music and are nasty enough to pan actors that did a marvelous job of putting on a stage production that was appreciated by many of use. Hurray to Carrie Underwood for undertaking this project.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      Totally agree with David and Donna. I enjoyed the live stage play very much, and really liked Carrie’s performance. Don’t know why so many have been critical about Carrie.

  15. Actually ABC does intend to repeat the movie on Dec. 22, so those of us who lconsider THE SOUND OF MUSIC one of our favorite things can really get our fill, while those who hate the show (in any of its incarnations) can have a very unmerry Christmas.
    Dec. 14 —- THE SOUND OF MUSIC (live) repeat (Carrie Underwood telecast) —– NBC
    Dec. 22 —- THE SOUND OF MUSIC (film) ABC

  16. Clara says:

    They’re showing the “The Sound of Music LIVE” show again? Guess they need to drop the “LIVE” then. “Sound of Music” is THE most popular musical of all time. It’s performed all over the world every year by professional groups, college, high school and even elementary school performers. I think I wrote many posts back that you can not KILL “The Sound of Music”. I’m sure many will tune in again, live or not. People still watch the movie every time it’s shown as well and it premiered nearly 49 years ago. I would bet that if the movie is shown this Christmas it will have it’s highest rating in year. Just a hunch.

    • another hairy kardashian sister says:

      well it was still performed live at the time so no they can still use the word live as it was performed under that pressure. As long as they dont edit it then it was still a live performance. Just like music concerts are realeased on dvd etc as being LIVE.

  17. Judy says:

    I agree with you, Mark. AND if it was SO SO bad why is NBC going to air it again on Saturday, the 14th. Makes no sense to me at all. I think too many people are being critical because they are comparing all of the actors to previous ones. Give them a break!

    • David Kutz says:

      That is a stupid and untrue comment. What’s wrong with you people? It’s good clean fun.

    • another hairy kardashian sister says:

      its being repeated as it got great ratings. which is irrelevant to how good or bad it was. If they sense decent numbers theyll use it again. Plus many who didnt watch will tune in to see if it really was as awful as all the hoo ha suggested. I love watching really bad TV sometimes…so bad its good etc

  18. Mark says:

    This site is impossible. The Captain is a very lonely man who can’t stan to be in the house he shared with his beloved wife. Carrie Underwood could not be expected to have much in the way of acting chops, having no experience, but she was VERY good with the children. Lauren Bacall was no great shakes in her first couple of movies either. I saw some flaws, but I was enchanted. And how often does one get to see good singers and actors actually perform LIVE?

  19. Mark says:

    While “The Sound of Music” Live may not have been perfect, I was charmed. I thought that the parts of Frau Shraeder and Max were much more rounded in this production that in the film version, and this was greatly aided by the performances of Laura Benanti and Christian Borle. In this version, the Mother Abess is a human being with a sense of humor, and Audra MacDonald is a Porche among performers. And I thought Stephen Moyer managed to convey pretty well the idea that the Captain is , helped along by dialogue cut from the film.

  20. Clara says:

    Yea, the site doesn’t really make it easy to reply, that’s for sure. No question NBC got the ratings. I just think it stinks that Carrie took the HEAT! I like her. I like her voice and I like her values. NOT a big Hathaway fan, but I do think she’s a better actress.

  21. buddharon says:

    This blog shows about 364 posts. By now it has deteriorated and digressed into trivialities so dumb and absurd that I am tired of this. Everyone’s a critic to some extent but some of you have taken it to an extreme.

    I look for and want to be entertained. Maybe my standards may not be as high as others, or maybe not representative of someone who enjoys the arts & culture as something to stimulate the mind, but I still enjoyed the live show, AND IT WAS FREE TO ALL VIEWERS. So why look a gift horse in the mouth?

    • Clara says:

      With all do respect, not everyone was entertained. Apparently members of the von Trapp family were pretty disappointed with the outcome. “Free” doesn’t always equate to “Good”. And not being a country person, I’m only guessing that some “horses” are better than others…. gift or no!! But I defer to the folks who have more knowledge about that than I do. ;)

      • buddharon says:

        Clara: It would be much easier to follow if folks would quote their references (cut & paste the links they read). That helps me sort facts from emotion. After further checking various references, I stand corrected. You are correct. The Von Trapps would have preferred Hathaway. I believe NBC’s choice of Underwood was a ratings strategy and they picked someone who is currently on top of the charts. And it worked as far as ratings go. The fact that this and other web blog discussions have carried on so long means there is value to NBC in doing another live show. To them, it’s a business strategy. After the dust settles, NBC will likely do an ‘after show critique’ of what to do better next time. And I hope there is a next time.

      • Clara says:

        Actually, the Trapps were all in favor of the show… until it came out and they were thoroughly unimpressed. That was out yesterday. And yes, I know of Andrews’ Broadway career. She wasn’t always THE Julie Andrews, but she more than proved herself in every media. 3 Tony nominations, 3 Oscar nominations and a win an Emmy or 2 and a couple of Grammys later, I’d say she’s ‘made it’!:)

      • buddharon says:

        Clara, you must be referring to “the film actors who played the Von Trapp children” in the only film version…..not the real life Von Trapp family, who signed away their “editorial rights” to the production many, many years ago. For the real family reaction, see

        I still think when you compare live production TV to film (where retakes & edits happen a lot), it is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are good but different. BTW…..I am an old Julie Andrews fan from ‘way back’. In her prime and definitely before her throat surgery, young Julie Andrews had a voice range of three octaves. Andrews had stage experience before doing SOM..(..My Fair Lady).

  22. Alison says:

    I personally thought the cast did a fabulous job! I loved hearing the different songs that were not in the movie. Stephen reminded me so much of Christopher Plummer and Carrie sang beautifully. I think people need to realize how hard Live entertainment is. Don’t let the critics get you down, you all gave a fantastic performance!

  23. Judy says:

    I agree with you, Richard…..people say pretty stupid things – what difference does it make what the color of our skin is….Audra was fabulous, played the part extremely well and I LOVED her voice.

  24. Clara says:

    If I may, it seems like people WEST of Broadway thought the show was just fine. But if you do frequent the Broadway theater, and even some of our local colleges, you would see FAR more polished performances than Ms. Underwood turned in last Thursday. Not being mean, just being honest. And if you paid $80 to $150 for a ticket, the performances SHOULD BE far better than what she gave. I’ve read many comments about “deer in the headlights” look, lack of intonation when speaking, meaningless gestures like standing with her hands behind her back for 90% of the show.. etc.,. I can’t argue that. It happened. But where in the heck was the director? No one worked with Carrie over these months? No one explained a few things? And I thought the Captain was equally bad; laughably bad actually. How about that odd moment when the children were warming his heart with “The Sound of Music” and he needed to open a door? Huh? What kind of directing choice was that? Someone broke wind and he had to get air?? Carrie can sing. She should keep doing it! “Sound” is not going to hurt her career one bit. And in the future I’d personally prefer trained actors to act in these shows. Laura Benanti, by comparison could even WALK like a Broadway performer. There are just things that actors know, techniques they use. Audra McDonald is a TEXTBOOK on how to give a Broadway performance. I’m glad folks who can’t get to Broadway got to see this. I hope one day you folks make your way here to NY.

  25. demelzabunny says:

    And another thing: as badly acted as it was, this production was still streets ahead of ANYTHING being presented on our boob tube, as evidenced my the millions who viewed it, the highest viewing audience since something (I forget what) in 2004! Please take note, PTB in Hollywood. We need good quality, well-written stuff like this, not the reality drivel we’re fed.

  26. demelzabunny says:

    The days of the actor who can’t sing are over. My advice to Hollywood casting directors: look no further than Broadway for your next musical casts. Talent always triumphs over name-recognition.

  27. Roberta Glucksman says:

    I thought the production was great. Surely Carrie Underwood is a superior singer whose acting skills need honing but she has no acting or broadway experience. Even though some of her scenes seemed stilted, the acting in broadway musicals is generally over emoted. Kudos to the entire cast. I loved it.

  28. Rich Sloma says:

    With all of the garbage on commercial tv today, this production was wonderful. As many have said, not the original, but an excellent production and a job well done by the cast!

  29. I think Ms. Underwood as well as the rest of the cast did a fine job. It is easy to be a critic! But then again most critics complain about a performance and never had an acting job. My guess many have tried got rejected so now they complain. My hats off to the cast and crew of the newest version of the Sound of Music! I tip my hat to you all, job well done.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I agree Wm. I wonder what broadcast the critics were watching Thursday evening. My wife and I thought that live broadcast was the best thing we have seen on TV this year!

      (But then again we don’t watch any of the “thrilling” reality shows, so what do we know about good programming….)

  30. Garrett says:

    Your article contains one small, glaring error — Thursday’s event was a live production of the original 1960 Broadway musical, upon which the 1965 Julie Andrews film was based. The film was not the original; Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote “The Sound of Music” as a vehicle for Mary Martin in 1960. It was not written for film. Their only score written specifically for a movie was 1945’s “State Fair”.

  31. Debbe says:

    As a huge fan as the Julie Andrews movie….. and I mean a huge fan, I was very excited to see and give my opinion of this production. I thought the entire cast did an exceptional job.from Carrie underwood to the dancers at the party. I really enjoyed it. Sure it had its flaws, but overall it was as much exciting as the movie and I did DVR it so that I can watch it over again

    • I think Ms. Underwood as well as the rest of the cast did a fine job. It is easy to be a critic! But then again most critics complain about a performance and never had an acting job. My guess many have tried got rejected so now they complain. My hats off to the cast and crew of the newest version of the Sound of Music! I tip my hat to you all, job well done.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I concur 100% Debbie. I loved the 1965 movie and I loved the Thursday evening production. Both shows will have a place in my video/DVD “favorite” library forever!

  32. iralarry says:

    Given the absence of chemistry, one could be forgiven for hoping he’d lapse into “True Blood” mode and simply bite her neck. Best. Line. Ever.

    • Marc Stevens says:

      Right on, sir. Bad casting.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      Sorry, but I think that line and your post were equally stupid. If anyone’s neck deserves to be bitten, it is the actor who was in the True Blood movie. He is a good actor, but his stilted performance in the live production was the reason for any lack of chemistry. Moyer is the only actor in the live performance who delivered a lot of his lines to some imaginary audience (don’t talk to me, Stephen—-talk to the Baroness and Maria!). I can’t believe the Director didn’t give him that instruction during rehearsals! Maybe Stephen should stick to vampire movies because he sucked the other night anyway :)

  33. Judy says:

    Totally agree with Sandra. It was wonderful. And….just knowing that I could watch a three hour program and not be worried that my grand children couldn’t watch with me was wonderful. We have so much trash on television that this was a refreshing piece.

    • malarson3 says:

      I agree. I kind of had to entice my 9-year-old with ‘movie treats’ and the offer to stay up past his bedtime in order for him to agree to sit down and watch it with me. He was against it until the second it started. Then we got three straight hours snuggling and singing and talking about how much the show meant to me when I was little. I have no doubt that we’ll have a very similar night watching the original movie in the very near future. I have to say a big thank you to NBC and the producers, cast, and crew for giving us such a special treat.

  34. Judy says:

    Well said! People need to get a life.

  35. iralarry says:

    I am extremely happy that NBC took the initiative to produce live television. The world of entertainment needs to take risk that are other than just risqué. My hats off to you NBC. Don’t stop now.

    As far as THIS production, much can be learned. It has become almost painfully apparent that a phenomenal score alone does not make a musical work. The people singing them, most especially the leads and most particularly Carrie Underwood, have to believe in what the clever and charming lyrics are attempting to convey through the gorgeous music. And to that end, connect the songs with the dialog to tell the story. While I did get the gist of the show through this production, I was at a loss over the sterility and flatness of the vast majority of it. I felt no connection between Maria and Gale Von Trapp. When they kissed, I actually yelled at the screen, Why are you kissing? WHY???!!!

    I wanted so much for this production to succeed because I so much want to see more live televised theatre. It will allow greater numbers of people to view great shows old and new and learn what real acting live is all about. I hope to the gods of TV they don’t allow the slew of ruthlessly critical commentary to dissuade them from trying again.

  36. My husband and I thought it was beautifully done, well done by all and a delight! We go to at least two live productions of theater and music. It can’t be compared to a movie . . . it was live on stage for our viewing enjoyment and we thought it was well the three hours we invested. Can’t complain about any of the actors or singers and the children were fantastic! This was a musical first and foremost which means the music is the most important . . . the acting second. I watched it for the music which was fantastic and the story second. If people want 100% on both counts they need to go to New York and go to a Broadway Production. Well done to ALL, including every single person in every department who were a part of this beautiful show. Kudos to the hero and heroin and all of the secondary parts (of which there were many); it would have been lacking without any one of them. We’ve recorded it and will revisit it often until the DVD comes out.
    Thank you NBC for a wonderful family evening. Keep up the great work!

    • Woops! a couple of errors in my original comments. We attend 2 professional musical productions yearly. Also we felt it was well worth the 3 hours we invested. Sorry for the lack of proofreading!

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        Don’t worry, Amanda. Any errors you may have made were overlooked by me because you had a great post. My wife and I loved the 1965 movie, and we loved Thursday’s live production. They were different in venue, but both were great!

  37. This presentation was the best on tv in many years. Thank you NBC for presenting an immaculate program free of all the immoral garbage running rampant on our media. I find the reviews ridiculous and underestimations of quality of a great performance by Carrie Underwood and every youth who participated. The sets were gorgeous, the costuming impecable, and the music was wondrous topped off with the gorgeous voice of Carrie Underwood. It was not a broken show ……….like many who bashed it ….I would love to see even one of them stand up and sing and act in front of millions. We need MORE productions of this quality. I hope NBC stands proud and enables many more shows available to our country. Culture has been put on a back shelf and needs to be brought forward.
    I will be sitting in the front row applauding ! Get a grip all who gave poor reviews. Your tastes are sour and your witts are weary………You do not know a great production when you see it !

    • mgb says:

      BIG DITTO to Sandra Sehran……it was different from the movie, but of course it would be…. I LOVED IT!

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        Right on Sandra! I hope all of the professional and amateur critics who have been dissing unfairly about this great production take some “happy pills”, have 3 night visitors, and wake up Christmas morning like Scrooge did!

      • I agree with your comments 100% and on every point.

  38. buddharon says:

    It seems from some of the comments that the movie version has taken on a life of its own and many folks feel Carrie has somehow defiled it. I hate to shatter myths born from the film version but if you are a history buff, see for the real truth about the Von Trapp Family, and how Robert Wise spun it. Modern media magic did the rest. Very hard for live theater to compete.

  39. Alex Greene says:

    Trying to keep things positive I have read no mention of the fabulous costume design. The authentic Austrian wardrobe was wonderful and helped remind you that we were in fact in Austria and not somewhere else from listening to incorrect regional accents from the leads.
    Also the sound mixing was horrible and at first I thought something was wrong with my surround sound system. How is it that a major network cant mix sound correctly? At some points it was impossible to hear the singers, which at some points might of been a good thing…….so on second thought maybe NBC did know what they were doing

  40. D.L. Jones says:

    My sister and I loved it! Carrie Underwood’s voice is fabulous and the whole cast did a marvelous job. The sets were amazing. The so-called critics should remember that this was not a movie – it was a live play.

  41. nANCY says:

    I enjoyed it. It was a pleasant tv experience. Yes Carrie doesn’t have great acting chops: but it’s all about the singing. So just enjoy!

    • iralarry says:

      nANCY, I beg to differ with you. It is not just abt the music, at least to me. The story being told holds immense wt and depicts deeply human emotions of faith and love and the reckless egotism of Nazi Germany. It’s about nationalism and pride in country. It’s about privilege and commonality. Music alone cannot convey the profound depth of the story told in, The Sound Of Music. I felt no love between the leads. I felt no warming of the Captain to Maria. I actually felt nothing. Acting is acting be it in a classic great like the movie or a live TV production. There were moments of connection within the play at various moments but few and far between. In fact, the only real feeling I had was the deep longing desire for more human warmth and connection, for lines to be delivered with passion of voice and grace of body. There was so little of that. But I hope it won’t dissuade NBC or the other gods of TV from trying again.

  42. L says:

    Carrie Underwood is now stating that people who are criticizing her are “mean people” & that she will pray for them.
    I find that funny. Not that she will pray for people, because being a Christian myself, I believe that is what you do. But she needs to learn to grow a thicker skin. It now seems she is a little spoiled because of her successes. Does she know how many actors & actresses have dealt with negative press or reviews but just sucked it up, didn’t let it get to them, & moved on? “Oh no you’re all so mean & hurt my feelings. You obviously need Jesus because you didn’t like my work.” Um no, honey. It’s called a critique for a reason. You see, learn from it, take it for what it’s worth, suck it up, & move on. Whining about just makes you look weak. How about learning from the experience, because if this many people are saying it, it may be true. So if you really want to act, get coaching, study hard, & grow a thicker skin, & come back to prove everyone wrong. She needs to learn that she’s not good at everything, that everyone will not always like what you do. That’s what real actors deal with every day. They don’t whine about it & think everyone else is bad & needs get some religion.
    The reason I’m saying this is because I am an actor & I’ve coached some people too. We all get rejected at some point. You can’t take it personally or you will never last & you will look like a whiney brat.

    • Rm says:

      It is unrealistic to expect someone with no professional experience in acting to be able to perform in front of 18+ million people on live television. Similarly to expect a professional actor to be able to sing as well as she and earn a record label. The problem with the critics and haters is that they do not like Underwood for her background and values, therefore they have singled her out and picked her performance apart, which is unfair. Her reaction is understandable and reasonable. You are the one who is whining. Just enjoy the show. If you can’t, then turn off the t.v..

      • Brian says:

        I totally disagree agree with you. We are talking twitter here. She has gotten hateful ,threatening
        And unbelievably nasty comments on there. If it was just criticism about her acting, that is one thing. She was trashed on there even before she stepped on the stage.

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        Agree with you, Rm. Many of the criticisms of Carrie’s acting (and some even criticized her beautiful singing!) were way too harsh and unfounded. I found her understated portrayal of Maria to be spot-on. If someone wants a “Nora Desmond” performance, go watch some of the pathetic old B&W movies.

        L, you may have experience as an actor, but I would hate to work with you, and I would never work for you. I’ll bet your favorite role was playing Henry Higgins, because you seem to be as harsh as he was!
        (Glad you don’t go to the church we go to also, because the Christians there are a lot more like Carrie than you!)

        Christians have feelings, too, and Carrie has every right to be hurt by all of the unreasonable criticisms of the GREAT job she did. She is the one who “made” the live presentation one which my wife and I will treasure the rest of our lives.

        (Carrie, if you happen to read this post, let me tell you thatwhoever did your makeup for the live performance did a masterful job! I always thought you were pretty, but I have never seen you as pretty as you were Thursday evening. You have natural beauty, and you don’t need all of the makeup you usually wear (especially around your eyes). Not trying to be critical, just trying to help.)

  43. "Uncle Mikey" says:

    Carrie Underwood may have an excellent singing presentation, but when it comes to acting, she should stay with the musical stage. Also, what was with the black nun, an acquiescence to the P.C. world in todays social climate?
    If anyone is going to spend the millions of dollars to produce a classic musical, then stay with what was originally presented and do not change the characters or other major changes. If the current social trend, until “he” leaves office, is to perpetuate the instillation of the black race throughout the media, all well and good, just don’t go and mess with classic’s for the sake of attempting to appease the status quo.
    Personally, I shall look forward to more theatrical reproductions by any network who is willing to take the gamble.
    Overall, I was impressed, but the ever-present commercial breaks, sort of took the wind out of that productions sails.

    • demelzabunny says:

      Hmmm…it always bothered me that, as a Jew, Ben-Hur was not played by a Jew. Now does that make sense to you, too?

    • Richard Scott says:

      God, you make me embarrassed for our species. What an incredibly ignorant and moronic; it bears repeating – ignorant and moronic – post yours was. You were obviously watching, “The [Off-key and not resounding with the liberty and humanity of modern times] Sound of Bigotry?” I can’t say much more without getting really ugly. Everyone certainly has their right to their opinion – except for you, you need to keep your racist mouth shut! Really!

    • Not racist says:

      Racist much Uncle Mikey??? I am pretty sure if you are a talented actress, you should have the part. The Mother Abbess was a great part of the production and so was the lovely women that portrayed her on Thursday night.

      Please Mikey, for the sake of everyone in the world, stay off the internet.

    • jc says:

      To clarify, there were blacks in austria and germany at the time. the fact that they arent represented in the 1965 version says much more about hollywood in 65 than about todays social climate.

  44. zsazsa says:

    I am so definitely sure that Julie Andrews is insulted by this garbage, I would. Carrie undercarriage cant act no emotion and nothing no stage presence. my advice to her is keep singing country and stay there.

  45. zsazsa says:

    OMG, the sound of music is my ole time favorite , why and who the heck decided to butcher my favorite and I am sure many can agree with me. there are people that can sing and sing Country music and that’s where it should end and there are people that can sing theater plays, I am so annoyed, im sure carrie underwent did her best to do the part justice but I have to disagree I hated the way the whole thing was changed and descrambled like a messy scrambled egg , my scrambled eggs is prettier than that bull junk. I will pretend I didn’t watch this monstrosity. Whoever thought that they can re-write and re-invent the whole epic play is out of their pathetic stupid trying hard garbage mind. please don’t try to attempt ruining anything else. I have very many good memories of the sound of music please don’t give me nightmares.

  46. Vicki Dwelley says:

    At first I thought that Carrie Underwood’s singing was great but her acting at the beginning off, much as many others did.
    However, the more I thought about it the more I remembered I always thought Julie Andrews'(who I love) very proper English was a bit off for a Austrian mountain girl. She fell into the life at the Von Trapp estate a little to easily. Carrie Underwood was more like I imagine Maria to be, a bumpkin, in Carrie’s case in comparison to seasoned Broadway actors.( these same outstanding actors who would probably be bumpkins in a large country/ pop program, I can’t imagine Audra McDonald singing Dolly Parton and I wonder if she would even try.) Maria was a mountain girl who came into the world of nuns in an elaborate cathedral and had trouble leaving the mountains. The same would be of her move to the elegant VonTrapp estate, and mingling with its inhabitants, would she not be awkward around Max and Frau Schrader or even the help? As the production progressed Maria became more comfortable in that world as Carrie Underwood did with acting. Her understated acting makes sense and I wonder if it was intended. Finally who would climb an ALP Carrie’s Maria or Laura Bonanti’s Elsa?
    I saw the original play with Florence Henderson and this production even with all the commercials that ruined the storyline (how could they develop chemistry and fall in love with commercials every ten minutes.) was as good if not better. Again Florence had a lovely voice but was too polished to play a country girl. I think the casting people got it right for once.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      So glad to hear someone else really appreciated that Carrie’s understated acting (whether intentional or by “accident”) was the most believable portrayal of Maria I have ever seen!

      (And these words come from a guy who fell in love with Julie Andrew’s Maria in 1965! My wife and I even named our first daughter Julie because of Julie Andrews! No slam intended, Ms. Andrews; we still love you, but we just saw a more realistic portrayal of Maria. Boy, that ought to stoke up some hate remarks for me, but I’m just telling it like I see it.)

  47. Janet Newquist says:

    I can only say bravo to this cast and crew. An undertaking such as this would be a daunting task, and I for one found it all extremely enjoyable. Live theater is in the moment – not done over and over until the film editor says okay. I loved Carrie Underwood in the role ( as I loved Julie Andrews in the movie adaptation) and the children were amazing. I will rewatch this on my dvr, and hope that one of my family will buy me the DVD for Christmas, who by the way, watched the whole 3 hours right along with me!!

  48. Will says:

    To me, Carrie Underwood did not disappoint She was terrible as always. I remember this being my mothers favorite movie. I know I had watched it with her at least a dozen times. I know they have done this on broadway many times also but, the tv market is a bad venue for a live musical. Or for a poor remake. Some shows should not be remade. Audra McDonald has a wonderful singing voice but I don’t understand this whole equality thing? A black nun living in the Alps 150 years ago? That would have been like Woody Harrelson starring in the remake of Shaft!

    • Garrett says:

      The Sound of Music is set in 1940s Germany — hardly 150 years ago. And the reason Audra McDonald was cast was because, well, Audra McDonald singing (and acting) the hell out of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. After witnessing that, I have no idea why you would complain.

      • Marc Stevens says:

        Actually, Garrett, it was set in 1930’s Austria. But you only got two facts wrong in your post. But the show still couldn’t touch the movie. If you want to hear “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” sung as it should be, watch the movie.

  49. Theadus Stallings says:

    This review is so…….. right on target. The Sound of Music is my favorite movie of all time. Carrie Underwood is a great singer but just didn’t cut it as an actress in a Broadway type production. The casting lacked in most areas accept for the Reverend Mother. It was a gallant effort but there are some things that you just shouldn’t touch, such as The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music.

  50. Carrie Underwood did a fabulous job. After all she is country music star and did a Broadway play live. How many other singers could have filled her shoes???????

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