Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Go To The Hills (Television Review: The Sound Of Music, NBC)

"The Sound Of Music" is such a beloved thing to me that I am very protective of it. SO when NBC announced they were doing a live telecast of it, I was happy, but cautious. You see, it's success would all depend on who they will cast as Maria. When I heard their choice - Carrie Underwood - I was very disappointed. I can think of more obvious choices. But I held hope. I don't have much opinion about her pop/country music, but she could very well surprise me, in the best way.  When I saw the "making-of" special last week I was happy, mostly because I saw that she has been surrounded by Broadway veterans: Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, Cristianne Noll, just to name some. I know that perhaps they can compensate for whatever she may lack in experience. About ten minutes into the telecast tonight, I had two thoughts about Carrie Underwood: one is yes, she can sing the score. Unfortunately the other thought I had is that she is so wooden in her acting that her performance is doomed. She sings the songs eagerly, and she hits the notes. But her singing sounds so clinical, like it has been stripped of life by a real good voice teacher. I don't hear any emotion behind it, just competence. Acting wise, her uneasiness is not helped by the fact that she has no chemistry with Stephen Moyers, who plays Captain Von Trapp. At times, it even looks liek they don't want to touch each other. Thank goodness for both Laura Benanti and Christian Borle. They bring much levity to the proceedings, and when they sing "How Can Love Survive," it lifts the whole production. I joked that perhaps Benanti could midway take over the role of Maria, considering she has done the role on Broadway in the late 90s when she took over from Rebeca Luker. And of course, Audra McDonald steals every scene she is in, and when she sings "Climb Every Mountain," it is goosebump city, thoguh it looked like she was singing to driftwood. I loved how unsanitized the Nazi scenes were in the end, and that part of the telecast were the most effective, I thought. All in all, I am glad this project *exists* in this day and age. I mean, can you imagine? A live telecast celebrating one of the most well-known and beloved shows on Broadway! I sincerely hope this garnered good ratings, we need more projects like this.

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