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TV Review: The Sound of Music Live on NBC

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I was one of many people who watched the entire three-hour live musical on NBC called The Sound of Music Live.  The special starred Carrie Underwood as Maria.  The special did very well on NBC with over 18 million viewers tuning in.  I thought the special was done very well and I am glad NBC did something bold and something that has not been done in over 50 years.  The reason why the ratings were high is because people are looking for wholesome family entertainment.  Whenever you see a family-type show or special air on the broadcast networks, it always gets good ratings!  So what did I think about the live special?

First, lots of people were comparing this special to the movie.  There is a big difference between the movie and the Broadway musical.  This live special was more like the Broadway musical versus the Julie Andrews 1965 movie.  This live theater production is something you will never see in a regular theater.  You see, in a theater, there is usually an intermission where the cast can change clothes, get a drink of water, and get ready for the second half.  This TV special never had that long intermission.  They only had a couple of minutes during the commercial breaks to get ready for the next scene.  I applaud the cast and crew for going for three hours and doing great!

The scenes during the live special were spectacular.  The cast and crew put in a lot of time to make the church, house, backyard, bedroom, forest, and that Nazi theater look great for TV.  The church scenes with the nuns were great, all the nuns were dressed appropriately and the church looked real.

The von Trapp house looked like something you would see during World War II.  I found the whistle blowing as somewhat annoying.  The von Trapp kids were just perfect, they sang great and their acting was top-notch for their ages.  I really liked the bedroom scene where the kids loved singing and playing around the bed.

Yes, I admit the acting from the adults like Carrie Underwood was lacking in some parts.  But the singing made up for it.  We learned that Carrie can yodel really well!  The other songs were great and most of the people in the special acted pretty good.  I think the best part of this live special was the set and costume designs.  The sets were built with great detail!  And the costumes throughout the special were very accurate for a World War II time frame.  I liked the parts where the cast transitioned from one set to another in no time flat.  Seriously, the set designers deserve a standing ovation!

I also wanted to highlight Audra McDonald, I thought she blew way her performance and her singing was one of the best parts of this live special!  Enjoy her performance of Climb Ev’ry Mountain and My Favorite Things.

The live special really took the Nazi’s to the next level.  The last part of the special featured lots of Nazi Germany soldiers.  I loved the part where the family was performing a musical number surrounded by Nazi soldiers and while the entire room was decorated with Nazi propaganda.  Of course the family did not stay for the results, they were already out the door!  Watching that one solider shining the flashlight on the family and not turning them in was great.  And at the end, they are on the forest stage as they move on.

This live special worked in my opinion.  Sure, there was the occasional lighting or camera issue I noticed in the broadcast.  But Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, and the kids did a great job, no matter what the critics said surrounding the bad acting.  This was a $9 million dollar gamble by NBC and judging by the ratings and reactions on social media, it worked!  The execs must be celebrating right now!  I wonder how much of that $9 million was sponsored by Wal-Mart?  They had ads in almost every commercial break.  I hope NBC will make this a Christmas tradition by doing a live theater play every holiday season.  The other networks could do something like this too!

The Sound of Music Live soundtrack is now out.  The Sound of Music Live DVD will come out on December 17th.  To learn more about the special, go to:


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