A Review of The Sound of Music LIVE! (or undead, as the case may be . . .)

When I saw Carrie Underwood was going to be headlining a live production of The Sound of Music, I was immediately intrigued. I liked Carrie back from the days when I watched American Idol, and the idea of another live musical production was interesting. How would they stage it? How long would it be? I decided to tune in–even put it on my calendar so I didn’t miss it. Last night was the night, and . . . 

It was kind of a wreck.

There were small pools of good in it, but some of the decisions they made just left me scratching my head. First up? Did Carrie have to do anything like . . . I don’t know . . . audition? Because while the girl did great with the singing, when it came to acting, let’s put it this way. She made the girl from Small Wonder look like Oscar winning material.

She got most of the lines right, but there was just no feeling in them at all. It didn’t help that Stephen Moyer was Captain Von Trapp–although it might have if they’d chosen to go the awesome route and made a Sound of Music/True Blood crossover musical.

But alas, it was not to be. No fangs at all. Just lots of blank looks and words from Carrie Underwood. Moyer did an okay singing job and a better acting job–put the two of them together, and you might have a decent performance for the night!

It wasn’t all bad, though. The other roles–the ones filled by actual Broadway stars–were admirable. The kids were on the whole quite good. The staging? Um . . . strange. The “woodland” set looked very fake, and the convent was pretty darn dark and broody. The house was solid. But what I kept noticing more than anything was the lack of an audience. No one to laugh at the parts that are funny, or applaud when someone performs well. That’s kind of a big part of live performance, in my opinion–and by not having it for this production, it hampered them. You didn’t have the polish of a movie adaptation, and you lacked the immediacy and response of a stage version. I kept thinking they would have been better served just performing the whole thing on a stage and filming that, ala the taped versions of Into the Woods or Sweeney Todd.

Was I entertained? Yes. But not always in a good way. Some of it was more like watching a train wreck LIVE. That said, there were still numbers I found moving. Climb Ev’ry Mountain was superb, for example. It’s just that every time a scene without Underwood came up, things got so much better–and then she showed up to ruin the acting again.

I’d tune in for another one of these, but I really hope if they do one, they use some people with solid acting and voice talent for the lead roles, not just the supporting ones.

How about any of you? Anyone else out there catch it? What did you think?

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