Carrie Underwood starred in “The Sound of Music Live!” Thursday night. It was a “modern” live take on the original 1965 film starring Julie Andrews.
I thought the presentation was charming, if a little lack-luster at times. The sets and costumes were stunning. I loved the way they created the Von Trapp home, how grand and sprawling it seemed.
As far as vocalists go, the cast was spectacularly chosen. Carrie Underwood’s voice is a force of nature, practically flawless. I didn’t mind her slightly country take on classic songs, although she did work to refine her instrument a bit. Her vocal ability is absolutely top-notch.
But acting wise, Underwood was a little underwhelming. I think she did a great job, and I think she is an amazingly talented woman, but acting was clearly brand new to her and didn’t seem to come as easily or effortlessly as it did other members of the cast.
Tony and Grammy award-winning vocalist Audra McDonald plays the role of Mother Abbess, and did a great job at both the acting and singing parts. I think she was a perfect fit.
Cpatain Von Trapp, played by Stephen Moyer, was a fine choice, although he didn’t seem to warm up to the role as quickly as did the other cast members. I feel it took awhile for the whole cast to get used to the idea that this is live, filmed in one take, for the whole world to see.
The children were a highlight for me. I loved them all! I thought each did a great job at their individual roles and as newly formed “brothers and sisters.”
Laura Benanti (as Baroness Elsa Schrader) was also stunning in her role. In fact, I think she was one of the strongest actresses in the cast.
Which begs the question: Is it better to have amazing singers and mediocre actors? Or incredible actors and average singers? “The Sound of Music Live!” decided to focus more on the singing, while the movie version of “Les Miserables” focused more on the acting. I’m not sure which is best. I guess the best of both worlds would be to hire relatively “unknown” Broadway stars to take the leads, but then ratings-wise, it wouldn’t be nearly as big of a draw.
I was a bit confused at some of the sequence of events and was thrown with the order of songs (Maria sings the yodeling song on the bed with the children during the thunderstorm, instead of “My Favorite Things.”)
While the show was fun to watch, almost just because of the familiarity, I must admit I enjoyed “The Making of ‘The Sound of Music’” more than the film itself. It seemed more magical, somehow, like the anticipation of the show was almost better than the real thing.