‘The Sound of Music Live!’ was charming, if a little underwhelming

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.

Sound Of Music

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.


  1. Trys

    The songs were “out of order” because this showing was based on the, I believe, 1959 play version by Rogers and Hammerstein, and not on the movie version. And, I could not agree more- Carrie Underwood has a voice for the ages. She is not Julie Andrews, but is not meant to be.

  2. Emily

    This version was a staging of the Broadway musical, not the theatrical film. The songs and their order reflect the original musical (with the exception of “Something Good,” which was written specifically for the film but has been substituted since then for the original “An Ordinary Couple,” which isn’t very good). That’s also why we got to hear “How Can Love Survive” (which you hear the melody of as a waltz at the ball) and “There’s No Way to Stop It,” which were cut from the film.

  3. Renae

    This show was not based on the movie, it was based on the broadway play done prior, so this is what is should be compared to. There were also a couple of songs not in the movie but in the play. I’m in the minority since I thought Carrie Underwood did a decent job. I thought Audra McDonald was a horrible Mother Abbess and Stephen Moyer a very boring bland Captain. The children were trying too hard to do the lines correctly and enunciate which was a distraction.

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