The Sound of Music - Live!

by Steven Bergman
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Dec 16, 2013
The Sound of Music - Live!

Country-pop star Carrie Underwood in the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "The Sound of Music"? At first, I thought the idea was intriguing: The multi-award winning artist has managed to portray a public, positive image that seemed to make her perfect for the role. Maria is young and earnest, and her journey from confused novice to matriarch of the family of seven children and their military father, seemed to be a good fit for the down-home Underwood.

However, the new Sony Masterworks recording of "The Sound of Music," recorded in advance of the live television broadcast of the musical on NBC, shows a pandering by the producers to bring audiences a saccharine version of this wonderful score, with a lead female that has no passion to cause us to care about her progression throughout the story.

NBC does their best to surround Underwood with Broadway veterans accustomed to performing before live audiences, and of singing with the emotion necessary to create caring from their audiences. Five-time Tony Award winner, Audra McDonald, is cast as Mother Abbess, which gives her the opportunity to record a gorgeous rendition of the climactic, "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"; Christian Borle and Laura Benanti are cast as Max and Elsa, and their versions of "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way To Stop It" (neither of which made it into the original Julie Andrews movie), are delightful and allow us to enjoy moments of true Broadway storytelling.

But the play's about Maria, and so we hear Underwood perform the staples, "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Something Good" (with "True Blood" hunk, Stephen Moyer, giving a yeoman's effort) and the title track with a tone that shows adequate technique, but lacks the fervor and enjoyment that a good stage actress must employ in order to make us follow through three hours of adventures from the von Trapps. NBC does deserve credit for making this project; it has been way too long since a musical has been made for television broadcast, and this show choice proves a good starting point to improve upon in future production options.

"The Sound of Music: Music from the NBC Television Event"
Rodgers and Hammerstein / Carrie Underwood
CD and Digital formats
Sony Masterworks

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.


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