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

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 402

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. James Le says:

    Thank you NBC for making me appriciate more of the original “sound of music”. I passed forward to so many scene yet still can not finish this musical.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I guess , even though it is new, I must have a lousy TV, because I did not hear anything like some of you are describing (and I recently passed a hearing test with flying colors!).

      Guess I’m glad I bought the TV I did, because I really enjoyed the program.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I loved almost the entire production, but it lost both my husband and myself with the boring first long scene on the patio. This is supposed to be enjoyed by children. There is no way that any child could understand what was going on in that scene. It was just way too boring for any age group.

    As for the rest of the production, we enjoyed every moment! It was a sheer delight. At last a show that brought smiles, music and laughter into the home.

  3. barb says:

    Really really enjoyed it. Great for whole family to watch together. Thank you!

  4. John Downs, Sr. says:

    How does something that is good and worthwhile get even better if it not subject to critique? As long as the criticism is well intentioned, I think it is fair. The two leads, Stephen Moyer and Carrie Underwood, gave their best effort I am sure, but were woefully miscast and had little personal chemistry. Stiff acting was definitely a reflection of their inexperience on the legitimate stage. Audra McDonald possesses a good singing voice but was a little too lively for a Mother Superior. “Climb Every Mountain” was supposed to be, in my opinion, a moment of personal reflection by the Mother Superior, not the exuberant exhortation portrayed by McDonald. All in all it was great family fare and hopefully more will come. Let’s just hope that future efforts will be left in the hands of musical stage professionals.

  5. Anne Thompson says:

    Though I applaud NBC for attempting this production I was very disappointed in the “modern” aspects of it. The littlest child throwing herself into Maria’s arms and wrapping her legs around her. The sloppy kiss at the end of 16 going on 17. More like the kiss of a well experienced man and woman then young adults of that time period who kissed for the first time. Rolling down the hill????!!!! Really?
    The slight ‘Modern” way of Maria speaking to the captain……….more like a girl of “today” with immaturity then a women who has maturity enough to consider entering the convent.

    There are times when a classic should remain untouched. This is one of them.

    • Mary Carlson says:

      Once again, is it lost on you that this is a modern and new version of a classic? Do you also dislike every version of Wuthering Heights that is not the Olivier one?
      This is for a new and younger audience. How many different versions of Romeo and Juliet are there?
      Allow a new generation to discover musical theatre on more familiar ground!
      The film is not an original version, and it was definitely different from Mary Martins take, she was ,after all around 40 when she played the role!
      I,for one , am just glad to have people discover live theatre. Not pretaped , with special effects.

      • Why this need to remake all of the classics anyway? Romeo and Juliet does not need to be remade a hundred times and I like the original Wuthering Heights. I was in my late teens when Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo and Juliet came out and I thought that it was stupid. Why shouldn’t kids appreciate and understand older movies and concepts the way that they were? If you want them to appreciate live theater, take them to a high school musical or a local college production.

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        I’m with you, Mary!

  6. Eric Andrist says:

    I’d give it a C+. Carrie Underwood sounded fine in her singing, but the acting was very poor. Stephen Moyer just was wrong in almost every way; too young, too accent-y, too can’t sing. I loathe non-traditional casting in a show full of traditional casting. Audra stuck out like a sore thumb. Her acting was a little over the top, but you can’t fault her singing, if you like that operatic warbly kind of voice. None of the kids stuck out for me. I can’t believe that was the best of all they auditioned. We had better kids in a local regional production of the show in San Bernardino California.

    Most of all, I thought the stage direction was unacceptably poor. He doesn’t know how to let people just stand still. The traffic patterns in the Max & Elsa songs were among the worst. Then he had Frau Schmidt do that odd crossover while Maria and the kids were singing (Do Re Mi?) and later she acts startled when she sees Maria’s guitar in her bedroom and tells her she won’t be needing that. If that were the case, she would have told her to stop singing and put it away earlier!

    Have you ever wondered why “bright copper kettles” would be a favorite thing?

    And finally, what was the purpose of doing it “live?” The only people who saw it live were on the east coast. When you sat there watching it, were we supposed to be on the edge of our seats watching for mistakes because it was live? I’d rather they just took their time and filmed it properly without all the mistakes.

  7. Kathy says:

    Thank you, NBC, for an engrossing, entertaining production of The Sound of Music. Carrie Underwood was wonderful and the rest of the cast was perfect, especially Audra McDonald. It was great to see family entertainment that was not afraid to be kind, or good or refer to honest values. Please give us more!! I am sick of foul-mouthed shows that are so violent you can’t watch them or tasteless so-called humor. I was never a fan of Carrie Underwood but I am now and I am so happy to see Audra McDonald in a singing performance on TV. BRAVO NBC!! MORE…MORE. MORE!

  8. Tony says:

    I knew there was a reason I didn’t read Variety .. this “review” just told me why.
    This production of “The Sound of Music” was wonderfully done and a pleasure to watch. I will purchase the DVD when able, and our family will watch it again and again.

    • Eric Andrist says:

      Then clearly you have no knowledge of what a real and good stage theatrical production should be. “Enjoyable” is fine, but not enough to warrant a $9 million production that could have been outstanding.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      Spot on, Tony! Raspberries to the reviewer, and to all of the other critics on this site. Sorry that some peoples’ evening was not nearly as enjoyable as ours was last night!

  9. joyce bunce says:


  10. Loretta Reese says:

    I grew up with the original Sound of Music. It is a tradition in my home every Christmas to watch the movie. The original movie is a classic. It was a great effort to try to reproduce this classic movie on live TV. The mother nun stole the show. She was great in both singing and acting. She was believable. Carrie Underwood has a beautiful voice! Her acting for me was not believable, I did not see the emotion from her to believe she loved him. I just did not see it in her expressions and eyes,but that does not alter me being a fan of her music. It was a nice try by NBC, but the original wins hands down. I know its not fair to compare a movie to TV live on stage version, but for me certain expectations in the live version were just not met for me to like this version. I love Broadway productions and understand how there will be differences from a movie to Broadway but I just feel something was missing from the LIve version.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I thought I would let you know that I was so curious that I did a Google search about Maria Von Trapp today. I was shocked to read that she readily admitted that she did not love the Captain when she married him. She married him because she loved his children! Later, as often happens, she grew to love him deeply. Those kinds of marriages often work better than the “lovestruck” Romeo and Juliet type of marriages (and look how the latter turned out btw. :) )

      So Carrie did a much better acted job than any of us realized! Check out the real Maria’s biography. Very interesting reading. Also, the real Maria was pretty homely and had a pretty bad temper, and she said the movie portrayal of her husband was very unfair and inaccurate. He was a very disciplined, but kind, and always a music-loving person (as were his children, even before Maria arrived). So, there you go, Hollywood’s version got us again. When will we ever learn?

      • Eric Andrist says:

        I read it very carefully the first time. One doesn’t have to have experienced “romantic love,” in order to love someone, nor is that what Loretta above appeared to be talking about. She mentioned not seeing any emotion in Carrie’s face, and I agree with her. Most of the time she was stone-faced. She most certainly didn’t show ANY amount of love for the captain at any point, nor did he to her. So their words became meaningless.

        This is not a documentary about the Von Trapp Family. How they felt in real life is irrelevant.

        If you’re that weak that you succumb to Hollywood telling you how to think, then you have other problems. And yes, by all means go to a bible-preaching school that teaches people how to hate and despise and kill all in the name of God.

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        Eric, please read what I wrote above, what you replied, and think about it. Maria had no experience with “real” romantic love, and she was justifiably confused about her feelings. I think many people don’t know what true love mean. For example, just watch almost every TV show which is on today. No wonder young people today mistake infatuation, lust, friendship, for true love.

        I see no problem with the dialogue you quoted. Notice what I said previously about Hollywood distorting real-life stories, I think that’s why all lot of us get confused. I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize my own life after Hollywood would get finished re-writing it to fit their goals, their audience target, their ratings, their sponsors. You may think I am not a fan of Hollywood today. And you would be correct. It is helping to ruin our society today and tell us how we should be thinking. I’ll go elsewhere to find out how to live—like to a good Bible-preaching church.

      • Eric Andrist says:

        Biut that makes no sense in the context of the show. When Maria returns to the Abbey and is speaking to the Reverend Mother, this is the dialogue:

        Brigitta said that I was—and that her father was in love with me–and then there he was–and we were looking at each other–and i could hardly breathe. Then I knew I couldn’t stay.

        Mother Abbess
        But you do like him, Maria?

        I like the kindness in his eyes. I like the way he speaks–even when he’s stern. I like the way he smiles at little Gretl.

        Mother Abbess
        Did you let him see how you felt?

        If I did I didn’t know that I did. That’s what’s been torturing me. I was there on God’s errand. To have asked for his love would have been wrong.

        Then later…
        Mother Abbess
        And My child, you have a great capacity to love. What you must find out is–how does God want you to spend your love.

        That would be an awful lot of love talk if she wasn’t supposed to love him within the context of the show.

  11. Pamela Maren says:

    To those who make the mistake: please spell genius composer Richard Rodgers name correctly. It is not Rogers, but Rodgers. Incidently, in addition to his fabulous music, he also sometimes wrote lyrics, as in last night’s Sound of Music’s “Something Good.” Give brilliance its due.

  12. Andy Youpel says:

    show was “boffo”!!!

    let’s keep “LIVE” productions going!!!

    enjoyed it greatly!!!

  13. Lori says:

    Well I loved it!

  14. You have to give Carry a break as it was her first acting role and to play a role Julie Andrews was perfection in…well that’s hard to do…and Carrie sang well..the acting was stiff and the real Maria is full of energy, falling over yourself sense of humor with so much emotion that Carrie just did not have…Audra was perfection and the kids did great and Captain Von Trapp did an awesome job he had to work really hard and there was no chemistry between him and Carrie. Carrie needs to get more acting experience..the most I saw her open up was when Audra sang Climb Every Mountain to her.

    • Eric Andrist says:

      I don’t have to give “CARRIE” a break. It was a $9 million television production that made NBC a small fortune. Would you give a novice haircutter a break if they didn’t do a great job on your hair just because it was their first time? I doubt it.

  15. Mark miller says:

    I found that theistic at the very beginning was drowning out the singing and to compensate Carrie along with others began to try and get louder and then were running out of breath. I did not like the change in song placement and events. There was no need to have mother superior and Maria sing these are a few of my favorite things. I understand that the woman who played mother superior has a great voice. But this change in the arrangement adel me turn the channel.

    • Seth says:

      This was a remount of the stage version, not the film classic. The film took some liberties with the original material.

  16. curlytop says:

    If you think a stage musical can’t make it on TV, see Hugh Jackman in Oklahoma!’ on “Great Performances.” That was THE best Oklahoma! ever.

  17. E L Gore says:

    I grew up in the nineteen fifties when live drama and live musical productions were common, so I was excited about seeing a live NBC musical with the benefit of a modern high definition wide screen picture and stereo surround sound. My hat is off to NBC for making the effort, but it seems that studio technicians no longer have the skills for a live TV production of this type. The sets were beautiful and the singers were excellent, but the sound and lighting were horrible and did not do justice to either. The orchestra and singing voices sounded shrill at times and between the lines of dialogue there was an annoying hiss that grew in intensity. This was probably due to the automatic gain control of microphones on the set being set much too high. The lighting was also terrible, the interiors of the Von Trapp mansion were dark and murky with so little contrast that the picture looked dull and washed out. I know they were trying to distinguish between the indoor scenes and the outdoor scenes, but this could have been with color balance alone by making the indoor scenes warm (yellowish) and outdoor scenes cool (bluish). It was not necessary to make the indoor scenes dark and washed out just to tell us we were indoors. This is a light musical and I was looking forward to seeing the bright saturated colors and fine detail that high definition provides in all the scenes.

  18. elsa viva says:

    Was a nice experience for the whole family. Even with some faults, was a nice change to all the violence and sex programs on TV. We wish that things on television will be more family oriented like this show. Great music and Carrie sang beautiful, a star is born!.

  19. Dave Schafer says:

    I was a kid when the original came out….When I watched this, I had an open mind and I realized that this was a stage production, not a movie…It is good to hear this marvelous music rerecorded with todays technology to make the orchestra sound amazing…I thought at times the voices were too soft and the music overwhelmed the singers at times. There was also this annoying hissing sound in the background..Being an audio technician I am probably more aware of this than others would be. I think Carrie Underwood is amazing as a singer and person…I didn’t not expect her to be like Julie Andrews, but I think she did an amazing job….The acting was not great, but a lot of stage shows have that problem….I think the commercials kinda messed it up and the show kinda lost the flow

  20. Neenee says:

    I loved it…it was can’t miss TV and they nailed it. Who cares if it wasn’t perfect. It was live theater on TV! Hooray! It brought some much needed holiday spirit.

    • Stephanie says:

      I am another one who agrees with these comments. We knew it was a stage production. Carrie Underwood was fabulous. She is NOT an actress, but did a great job for her first attempt. All these critics definitely need that ‘happy pill’ suggested. Can we not just enjoy something without having to always find fault????

  21. Marcia Murphy says:

    Totally enjoyed it! And the few issues that may have occurred made it more real. Get over the perfection part and enjoy the reality.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I absolutely agree with Neenee and Marcia here. I feel sorry that there were so many hyper-critics who “missed” a great show last night.

      Do some of you need a “happy pill” this morning?

  22. Seth says:

    I’m reminded of Joe Jonas being completely miscast as Marius in a concert version of Les Miz that aired on PBS a couple of years ago. He was so overshadowed by the stage veterans and their presence, vocal and acting chops, that I actually felt uncomfortable FOR him. Why didn’t NBC choose Legally Blonde: the Musical as a vehicle for Miss Underwood instead? She would have soared. Expecting her to fill the shoes of such legends as Martin and Andrews is about as realistic as expecting Miley Cyrus to fill Garland’s ruby slippers. Cast the true talent, however unfamilar to TV audiences they may be, and the ratings will come.

    • L says:

      DITTO! So true. Just because someone is “relevant”, or as I believe, has a great management team, doesn’t mean they need to be in a production. The real talents totally overshadowed her. They should have just stayed in that vein with casting. It would’ve been a much better production. I also remember when they cast Sebastian Back as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. That got terrible reviews as well. Um he was a washed up 80’s hair metal singer. What’d you expect? And I was a fan of Skid Row back in the day! The machine needs to learn that putting someone already making a name for themselves in some other capacity doesn’t usually work. Just because someone can sing, doesn’t mean they can act. And it is usually the case. Um Beyoncé in a movie? THat was a stinker. A couple of rappers have done ok -Andre 3000, Ice T, hell even LLCoolJ, & of course Will Smith- he has been the incredible exception to the rule!

  23. chris says:

    Very noble effort, especially in the times we are living in. I applaud NBC for trying something like this, and I couldn’t stop watching it. Carrie was amazing especially for not being a broadway star. It gave me the holiday spirit I was missing. Thank you NBC and everyone involved, I can’t even imagine how much work went into that. Do we have to criticize everything, some things should just be enjoyed. Happy Holidays

  24. Cathy Jo says:

    I thought it was excellent. The sets were amazing and the singing top notch. It wasn’t based on the movie, it was based on the play! I hope NBC does this again. Carrie Underwood would be wonderful in South Pacific!

  25. Mary Carlson says:

    Its always so easy to cast stones,isn’t it?
    Stephen Moyers sang as well as Christopher Plummer . Period.
    Carrie Underwood was fine , and the supporting cast sparkled.
    Remember, for young viewers this may well be their only experience of this show, not one of my favorites BTW, but their first chance to develop an interest in live theatre, even by proxy!
    All these gripers put me in mind of the people who watched Smash every week, and then ripped it to shreds.
    That type of person thinks its clever to be critical. You think its easy ? Give it a try ,amateurs!

  26. Vicki Sestok says:

    I thought that comparing a stage production to a movie is so wrong they hit their marks and remembered their lines and a lot of the shots were pretty close I think it was great and I think that if the west coast didn’t want to watch because some haters didn’t like it on the east coast it’s their loss— sheep

    • Mary Carlson says:

      Wow! That was the best they could find to dub Plummer? Terrible!
      At least they dubbed Natalie Wood , Debra Kerr and Audrey Hepburn with Marni Nixon! Now that woman could singl

    • L says:

      acting is more than hitting your mark & remembering your lines. There are trained dogs that can do that. Acting is about what’s not being said, the moment to moment meanings in between the lines. It’s about reacting to the moments & waiting to feel something that makes you say your line. Not just spitting them out because you have line there to say. .Not “hey I can memorize stuff & read lines. I should act.” She is a talented pop/country singer & beautiful young woman, but an actor she is not. Maybe with coaching, she will progress.

  27. Bruce Gephart says:

    I totally DISAGREE with this review! I was the biggest fan of the !965 movie, and loved Julie Andrews in the role of Maria. So I approached last night’s live presentation with much skepticism.

    Well, I received the shock of my life!!!! I gave the live presentation an A+++++ rating—–especially Carrie Underwood’s performance!!!!!! I knew from watching previews that her singing would be EXCELLENT, but I was very wary of her acting talents. Did she (and EVERYONE else in the cast) surprise me…… Carrie’s “Maria” was more believable and better-acted (in a fetchingly sweet and understated way) than– —-are you ready for this (I was so enamored by Julie Andrews in the 1965 movie that I convinced my wife that we should name of firstborn daughter , “Julie”)????—-Julie Andrews herself!!! I can’t believe I just said that! But it’s true.

    Thankfully I recorded last night’s show on our DVR. I guarantee you that it will become a permanent part of our “TV favorites library”.

    My highest kudos go out to the whole cast, the casting department, the musical and drama coaches, the choreographers, the set designers, the director, etc., etc., etc. The kids who portrayed the Von Trapp children were better than the 1965 cast, also. I especially loved the job that the actress who played the oldest daughter, Liesel (Sp?), did. I was shocked to find out that the actress who played this 16-year-old so believably is actually a college junior—who had little or no prior acting experience. She reminded me of a young—and more attractive—Anne Hathaway! That is indeed high praise! I saw an interview with this actress today. She is even more vivacious, engaging, charming, enthusiastic than the character she portrayed.

    Kudos also to the makeup crew. I honestly wouldn’t have recognized Carrie Underwood if I did not know ahead of time that she played the part of Maria! Carrie is a beautiful young woman, but I always thought she way overdid her makeup, especially her eye makeup. And I was right! I was greatly attracted to “Maria” with understated makeup!

    • L says:

      Ummm….no. Julie Andrews should knock on your door & ask for your copy of The Sound of Music for this. Your opinion is of course, your opinion, but Ms. Underwood is far from the caliber of Julie Andrews. It’s like saying Pam Anderson is better than Meryl Streep.

      • Bruce Gephart says:

        Sorry, but Julie and I are still friends; and I will never give up my 1965 album, nor my purchased copy of that wonderful movie. And I’m sorry that you disagree with me.

        But I refuse to let anyone try to make me compare “calibers” of performers or performances. I started watching last night to see a “Julie Andrews” as Maria last night. How happy I was to watch Carrie Underwood do an excellent job of playing a very believable Maria. And you will NOT change my mind because Carrie has no acting pedigree. But we all have to start sometime, somewhere in order to get a pedigree. And Carrie got a running, leaping start on her pedigree last night.
        If Pam Anderson EVER does a good acting job (which I cannot honestly foresee) I will acknowledge that. And there is only one Meryl Streep; she absolutely blew me away in “Sophie’s Choice”, and I couldn’t eat for two hours after watching her gut-wrenching performance in that movie. But, boy am I glad I did not get to see her try to display her “caliber” of acting in last night’s show. She would have made a terrible Leisel :).

        Btw, I got so disgusted with so many critical comments on this site that I decided to make one more long post at about 9:30 this morning. Please feel free to read and criticize that post also. Have a good day.

  28. Nancy says:

    I Thank NBC for bring us a wonderful evening of Sound of Music last night. It was delightful!

  29. Katherine Jeter says:

    Maybe it’s our age and stage but we were enchanted. It was a joyful production. It’s too easy to be critical when the network, producers and cast deserve unreserved accolades.

  30. Jan hatfield says:

    I loved every moment of it! I really wanted them to come out for a bow but they would have needed a live audience.

  31. L says:

    The review is spot on to me. Carrie Underwood is a fine singer, although at times she could have felt the intimacy of the scene more & put that into her singing. Which leads to her acting…mechanical, line readings (typical greenhorn acting- I say a line, then you a say line, then I say my next line type of memorization. No feeling the moment. Being in the moment). If great acting were just memorizing lines & spitting them out, then I think most of the general populous could have done this show. They would just have to learn to sing. No chemistry between her & Moyer. He’s a good actor, something to be desired in the singing dept., but not terrible. The real stars were Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti (gorgeous & talented in every sense), & Christian Borle- all veterans of Broadway & the small screen. And the children were fantastic. I especially like the young lady who played Leisel & the 2 boys. My favorite to watch though had to be Laura Benanti! Superior to all in the production.
    Let’s hope if Ms. Underwood decides to act again, she gets training/coaching. It became hard to watch. It made the whole production seem like just like publicity for her. She apparently has a great manager for her to beat out so many talented Broadway actors & singers or even TV/film actors with great voices. I give her team more credit for this, than her performance.

  32. john says:

    thought it was really bad. carrie is great singer but no actress. turned it off after 20 minutes. i was really looking forward to it too. so disappointing!!! so disappointing!!!

    • DS says:

      Exactly!!!! Carrie Underwood does have a great management team as she has been MC at the CMAs as well as got the part in the movie Soul Surfer. I was truly bummed as she brought down the movie. She has this ice princess energy about her as she presents her face with full make-up at every moment and expensive dress/ironed to prefection no matter what she is doing. She has zero acting skills and completely had me running to my TV Guide to see when the Famly Channel was showing Julie Andrew’s Sound of Music. I loved the child actors, Audra McDonald and laura Benanti and all the supporting cast (nuns/house help)….they were FANTASTIC!!!

  33. Clair says:

    Last night’s production of The Sound of Music was outstanding! It was a pleasure for my eyes and ears and such a break from the awful shows on TV these days! More productions like the sound of music just might save our children and our souls! Thank You Carrie Underwood awesome job! Thank You NBC

    • Seth says:

      I’m reminded of Joe Jonas being completely miscast as Marius in a concert version of Les Miz that aired on PBS a couple of years ago. He was so overshadowed by the stage veterans and their presence, vocal and acting chops, that I actually felt uncomfortable FOR him. Why didn’t NBC choose Legally Blonde: the Musical as a vehicle for Miss Underwood instead? She would have soared. Expecting her to fill the shoes of such legends as Martin and Andrews is about as realistic as expecting Miley Cyrus to fill Garland’s ruby slippers. Cast the true talent, however unfamilar to TV audiences they may be, and the ratings will come.

  34. Jake Westine says:

    I love Carrie Underwood she is a great musician. I gave the production a B because I thought it got better as time passed. I agree that it would have been better filmed. I give Carrie an A for effort, NBC should have known that Carrie ia talented but doesn’t have the acting experience need to get past the critics. Bottom line I bet it was about money…after all progressive love their wealth. Love the cd. And the Walmart comment was just a jab by a progressive…they would not say the same thing if Starbucks was ghe sponsor and did the same commercials. Everyone has an agenda…

  35. Isaac says:

    They needed Louis J. Horvitz and George Silva

  36. Lil'Bit says:

    Did anyone else catch Captain von Trapp say that he was an Australian, instead of an Austrian? a little slip…

  37. Ed Kloos, PhD says:

    Carrie Underwood did a great job vocally. However the way she delivered her lines were almost robotic. I believe that if this was a movie verson she would have been coached better on delivering her lines. Stephen Moyer was too young looking to play the Captain. His delivery also left something to be desired. His accent didn’t help portray an Austrian Captain. Christian Borle was poor casting. Did they think that by putting glasses on someone it would help carry the part? The four actors who were true to their roles were; Audra McDonald, Ariane Rinehart, Michael Campayno and Laura Benanti. Ms. Underwood,bravo on your singing but if you are going to do live theater, please find and acting coach.

  38. debic says:

    Carrie Underwood needs to stick to her singing roots. Her performance reminded me of a High School production not a major tv event. Mr . Moyer needs to work on his acting chops as well. Granted I was neither expecting Mary Martin or Julie Andrews nor was I expecting a juvenile Maria. Thank goodness for the Mother Abbeys and Max!

  39. MommaLisa says:

    I thought the kissing scene was very awkward. It looked like they were trying to chew on the same piece of bacon between them.

    All in all, through warts and all, I still got goosebumps. I’m not sure what caused them, the ‘split screen imagery’ in my mind with the movie and the play going simultaneously, me singing along or what, but I still cried in the same places as the movie.

    I agree that with the television cameras, it make the play look stilted, but I appreciate NBC for taking a risk and doing it. Mamma Mia anyone?

  40. Martin Henley says:

    WOW, Thanks, NBC, we have forgotten what live TV is all about. This was a spectacular performance. I did see a couple of glitches in the performances, but I feel as though that is what gives LIVE TV its character. Great Job, we will be talking about this for years. Bold to use the beautiful Carrie Underwood in her first acting performance. The story line from the Von-Trapp family was not lost in this production. Overall 9 out of 10. Let’s see more of this type of entertainment. We could watch this Live TV with our children and grand children and not worry about the content or language. Thank you So Much!

  41. I thought it was a wonderful production. I love “The Sound of Music” I thought everyone did a wonderful job. While the movie version is so awesome, TV live cannot be easy, there are no retakes. All the music was wonderful, I thought Carrie Underwood did a very good job in the acting. As others stated it got much better as she went. You have to remember this was new to Carrie, but boy could she sing the other songs, I don’t think anyone better chosen could have done it justice other than Julie Andrews. The children and the Mother superior (oh my goodness) didn’t she sing her solo “majestic”. I very much enjoyed this and hope that the TV shows will do more of this kind of shows. I very much enjoyed watching it.

  42. Donna says:

    Loved it! Great job by all.



  44. Sue says:

    American Idol does live theater. So what were the expectations and did they achieve mediocrity? It was boffo in those terms. By any other standard it was a bore.

  45. Pauly Geas says:

    The only problem was when she (Maria ) was in reverend mothers office she was singing raindrops on roses, and she shouldn’t have been singing at that point. That was supposed to be reverend mother singing climb every mountain. She wasn’t supposed to sing raindrops on roses until all the kids were in her bed because they were scared of the thunder and lightening storm. She sang beautifully as well as all the cast members maybe I am just partial to the original well job to all the cast.

  46. Bill Worden says:

    As a veteran of 40 years in television, I have to say that for a generation of broadcasters that knows little of live TV production, they pulled this off admirably. Any comparison to the film version is foolhardy. The film was shot over MONTHS with plenty of opportunity for retakes and re-edits. No such deal with a live broadcast. It’s three hours, warts and all. Given that, I say give it what it’s worth. Out of five stars…three.

    • Bruce Gephart says:

      I haven’t had your TV experience, but I’d give this live production 4 3/4 stars out of 5. Have done some live acting, and I thought the cast was great (especially Carrie—she was nor Julie Andrews—and I LOVE JULIE—but I fell in love with Carrie’s understated performance. Perhaps we should give more “novices” (play on words here–wake up, folks) an opportunity to get into a story and make us forget we are watching acting. Think about it.

  47. Sharon says:

    Yet another person who refers to the movie as the original!! Really? The original was the Broadway stage production with Mary Martin. Come on, check your facts!

  48. Bob says:

    I agree with Brian Lowry that NBC deserves credit for taking the risk on a live production. While Carrie Underwood as the lead was at times outshone in acting ability by the young woman playing Liesel, this was the first time I know of that Underwood had an acting role, not something that, as a highly successful singer, she had to do and also deserves credit for taking on. At first Underwood’s acting lacked any emotion but it seemed that she got better as the show progressed. While there are many criticisms that could be made of the show, one of the benefits, of providing younger generations watching it at least a small window onto the perils one family faced to escape Nazism, was invaluable.

    If nothing else, this production this production may have opened those and other minds to look more closely at how freedom can be threatened and at some of the sacrifices made to hold onto it.

  49. Julie says:

    I thought Carrie assumed Maria’s sweet personality well. She really does have a wonderfully rich voice! All the kids were wonderful. The leading man was disappointing. It was an enjoyable show apart from a lot of sound interference which was extremely irritating.

  50. anniefannie1234 says:

    I thought Carried Underwood was wonderful …her innocence was what was needed for the role and totally believable….”nobody likes change:” a psychologist once told me…..and I give NBC a “ten” for putting this on ….Brava!! to you Carrie …and Bravo!! to NBC….

More TV News from Variety