By Meg Miller
If you had the vision of Thursday night’s Live “Sound of Music” Event as being comparable to the original 1965 Julie Andrew’s version, let’s be honest, you were sorely disappointed.
However, if you had realized that it was not the film version, but rather the original Rogers and Hammerstein version that NBC was going to put on, it may have softened the blow.
This past Thursday night NBC did something that hasn’t been done since 1957: they aired a live musical event, specifically “The Sound of Music.”
Months ago it was released that “American Idol” alum and country music star, Carrie Underwood would be playing the iconic role of Maria. This news received much controversy; as great as Underwood’s vocal chops are, it was seriously questioned as to whether she would be able to handle the lead role.
They are big shoes to fill for anyone, let alone someone that has only experimented in acting. They littered the cast with other Broadway vets including Tony Award winners Laura Benanti as the Baroness and Audra Mcdonald as the Mother Superior.
Though both stars have much experience in the television world, they are most known for their incredible talent on the stage.
The cast also included “True Blood” star, Stephen Moyer, “SMASH” alum, Christian Borle, and newbies like Ariane Rinehart to play the Von Trapp children.
Even though Underwood’s underwhelming acting is getting criticism for her chilly demeanor, her vocal performance was incredible. She belted the classic songs that we have grown to love, but her country twang brought a needed twist instead of trying to mimic Andrews’ flawless performance.
Both Benanti and Mcdonald blew audiences away with their performances, primarily Mcdonald’s inspiring rendition of “Climb Every Mountain.”
Audiences were surprised it was a different version from the 1965 film version. However it was intended to be interpreted as a viewing of a play from home rather than a movie and thus they used a different script. This also corresponded to the simple sets as opposed to the movie magic we are used to.
What NBC proved with this event was that they can still create successful family–friendly television. With 18.5 million viewers tuning into the live broadcast, they proved that some things are DVR-proof if there is a great enough draw.
It was the perfect time of year that NBC chose to broadcast this, as many of our favorite shows are going to holiday hiatus, school work is winding down —-unfortunately not for us—-and family time is in full swing.
With the holidays coming, it was a great opportunity for families to come together, enjoy a show and not have to feel uncomfortable with the subject material while being in the same room as their other family members, which is becoming rarer.
Though it may not have been a flawless rendition of this classic, it still managed to bring a warm feeling to viewers as they were reminded of childhood memories of the play as well as the inspiring story of how music can inspire hope, togetherness and family.