Sound of Music Live Not One of Critics' Favorite Things
Carrie Underwood no Julie Andrews, reviewers agree
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2013 6:55 AM CST
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(Newser) – Before last night's live production of The Sound of Music on NBC, Emma Brockes summed up everything that was certainly going to be wrong with it in the Guardian: The original, beloved though it may be, "is basically terrible: too long, too pious, too labored in its point-making." But Julie Andrews managed to find "a little quietness and subtlety in the score," whereas "Underwood, judging by the teasers, will go at it with the pop-eyed mania of someone performing for Simon Cowell," Brockes writes. "There are certain things one doesn't look to winners of American Idol to deliver and guilelessness is one of them."

So how did it actually end up? Most reviewers seem to agree Brockes was right:

  • In Time, Charlotte Alter sums things up with her headline: "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Carrie Underwood?" She deems the show "so cringe-worthy that it was at least fun to watch" and rounds up nine things that went wrong, including Stephen Moyer, who played Captain Von Trapp: His "accent was sometimes German and sometimes English, which was weird because Underwood’s accent was always Southern." She also offers up suggestions for actors who would have done a better job than Underwood, including Morgan Freeman.
  • On the Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon feels basically the same way: "Was Carrie Underwood a good Maria? No. Was NBC's decision to do a live staging of The Sound of Music a good one? Maybe not. Was it fun anyway? Actually, kinda," he writes. "To say that Underwood was no Julie Andrews is one of life's greatest certainties, and maybe it's not fair to compare the two stars. But the truth is that millions of people tuned in Thursday night to do just that, compare Underwood to Andrews ... and then throw her off an Alps cliff when she didn't measure up."
  • As for the production itself, it "came off without a hitch," writes Marc Bernardin at the Hollywood Reporter. That's "no easy feat with so many moving parts and opportunities for blown lines or staircase stumbles (oh, how I wished for a staircase stumble to lighten the three hours)." And the non-Underwood cast, with the exception of a constipated-looking Moyer, was very strong.

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Dec 7, 2013 12:12 AM CST
As one of the "arrogant, uneducated, uninformed rank amateur critics," I must say that this production was mostly underwhelming. The stage version is outdated and belabored, and this just didn't work on television. Unfair to compare it to the vastly film version. Carrie Underwood cannot act and her singing was merely serviceable. Constipated and one-note Moyer should stick to playing vampires. Supporting actors McDonald, Benanti (who played Maria on Broadway) and Borle were outstanding. Kids OK, but way too American and brunette. Too many camera cuts and edits. Please, let us take in a scene without all the cutting back and forth. A noble effort, but try another show with musical theater actors, please.
Dec 6, 2013 9:37 PM CST
It was a live production people. You try to do that. I loved it. It is what it is- a stage play. Once again i repeat, you try to do that. And I'd like to see it again.
Dec 6, 2013 8:51 PM CST
I watched five minutes then wanted to puke. It's as bad as the remake of Willy Wonka. Don't touch the classics no one today can act like they did then. Without CGI and elaborate effects today's actors and film industry would be non-existant.