Re: Can Carrie Underwood et al compete with Julie Andrews et al?
posted at 12/8/2013 6:15 AM EST
Carrie Underwood's 'Sound of Music' a hollow remake
Friday, December 6, 2013 -- Mark Perigard
Julie Andrews – and those fans who revere the movie version of “The Sound of Music" – have nothing to worry about.
NBC’s live three-hour adaptation of the Broadway version of the classic musical was wildly uneven and, at times, arthritically arid.
Leading lady Carrie Underwood faced the toughest challenge, but the talented singer could not, as they say here, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”
She didn’t have the acting chops or the charm to pull off the role of the governess who wins over a lonely brood of children and their widower father.
Among the more egregious problems plaguing this production:
NBC’s audio feed inexplicably transmitted white noise throughout the three hours – it was if everyone in America suddenly came down with tinnitus.
Also distracting: The network’s Olympic logo in the left corner throughout the show. Was that branding really necessary?
While technically sound during the musical numbers, Underwood’s acting seemed rote and lacked warmth.
Her wardrobe did her no favors, ranging from Swiss milkmaid to ‘60s airplane stewardess chic. (And this story is set during World War II).
One actor – John Bolger as the Admiral – seemed to forget his lines and struggled for a long moment to regain his bearings in a scene in which he greeted the Captain (Stephen Moyer) after the latter returned from his honeymoon.
During a scene with the Captain, Max and Elsa, a camera came into the shot.
Such are the perils of live TV.
While Underwood just wasn’t one of my favorite things, the supporting cast was terrific.
Audra McDonald brought an operatic quality as the Mother Abbess. Laura Benanti’s Elsa oozed so much sex and confidence, you had to wonder why the Captain would ever let her go. The new Von Trapp kids were capable moppets and seemed to hit most of their marks. Some of the choreography during the musical numbers was dizzyingly complicated.
By one measure, at least, it seems the show was a success: Twitter traffic soared. NBC got its wish – an audience turned out as one to watch the "event." But the tweets ranged from unmerciful to hilarious. (One wrote, “That sound you hear is Julie Andrews shooting her TV.”) Tellingly, Andrews trended late last night – not Underwood.
NBC had hopes this production, which cost reportedly $9 million, would become a holiday tradition. It seems unlikely, unless the program is edited – and perhaps some scenes re-shot.
But everyone involved should take a bow for taking on something so ambitious when so much of network TV is relentlessly bland.
Let’s see more attempts, not fewer.