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

(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.

This image released by NBC shows Carrie Underwood, left, as Maria, and Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp  during preparations for The Sound of Music Live!, in Bethpage, NY.
This image released by NBC shows Carrie Underwood, left, as Maria, and Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp during preparations for "The Sound of Music Live!, in Bethpage, NY.   (AP Photo/NBC, Paul Drinkwater)
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"When Underwood spoke her lines, she was as flat as the label on a Swiss Miss package of cocoa."   (Newsy)

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