The Sound Of Music – Live!

The Sound Of Music – Live!
Music: Richard Rodgers. Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. Additional Lyrics: Richard Rodgers. Book: Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse adapted for television by Austin Winsberg. Executive Producers: Neil Meron, Craig Zadan. Directors: Rob Ashford, Beth McCarthy-Miller. Musical Director: David Chase. The Shows Must Go On YouTube Free Stream 26-27 June 2020

Repeating The Sound of Music Live! on The Shows Must Go On was a good idea. Pulling 10 million viewers, this NBC production once again proved it was a winner.

In the role of Maria, five-time Grammy winner and theatre virgin Carrie Underwood brought warmth and grit to the part and sang the heart out of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic score. Particularly nice was “Something Good”, a song interpolated from the movie.

Opposite her as Capt. Georg von Trapp, Stephen Moyer, better known as vampire Bill Compton in HBOs True Blood, surprised with a pleasant tenor vocal on “Edelweiss”. He made the character’s transition from stern and bullying to likeable very believable.

Audra McDonald’s Mother Abbess was a touch too theatrical but her “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” couldn’t be faulted and even brought tears to the eyes of co-star Underwood.

Laura Benanti’s Elsa Schrader was truthful, with Christian Borle as the opportunist Max Detweiller appropriately hammy. Together their songs “How Can Love Survive” and “No Way To Stop It”, omitted from the film, helped put some bite back into the score.

Liesl is supposed to be sixteen but Ariane Rinehart looked ten years older, likewise Michael Campayno as Rolf, but they sang and moved well.

Despite a couple of out-of-focus shots and boom shadows and an obvious mountain backcloth, this landmark production was a massively entertaining version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most popular show. The Nazi story-strand is what gives the musical its spine and the songs are what keep it alive.

Peter Pinne      

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