Fug the Fromage: The Sound of Music Live recap


fug-the-fromage

There’s not much point in recapping the plot of The Sound of Music, but we can DEFINITELY take a gander at the NBC costumes, which ended in some divinely cracked-out headgear that had Jessica and I dropping more unsavory language over Instant Messenger than we have in a long, long time.

They look like background players for an as-yet-nonexistent Katy Perry tour called Oktoberfest. We live-tweeted it, and I’m embedding a couple of those tweets, especially where I think we pretty much said it better the first time.

As for the show: It’s clear that Carrie Underwood took it extremely seriously. She did not shirk anything, she sang her heart out, and she tried really hard to carry the show even though in the end it was beyond her capabilities at this point in her career. NBC probably chose its Sunday Night Football cover girl for ratings reasons, rather than, say, trying to work it out so that in-house Broadway vet Megan Hilty could do it on a break from Sean Saves The World (which is probably not as good a use of her time and talents). But again, Carrie Underwood obviously worked crazy-hard on this, and when you’re not used to a live show that demands singing AND so much choreography AND acting between it all, choosing to put yourself on a live network broadcast — in the company of performers like Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti — is a brave, bold move, and just because I didn’t applaud the overall end result doesn’t mean I don’t applaud her for doing it. I absolutely do.

My overriding issue is that Fraulein Maria is all spirit. She’s charm and sass and a little insanity, all rolled into one. Either nobody bothered to help Carrie Underwood find that in the material, or it was too big a job for her in her first major role. Carrie’s Maria does not climb a tree and scrape her knee; her dress does not have a tear. She does not waltz on her way to Mass, nor whistle on the stair. (And underneath her wimple, she doesn’t have curlers in her hair, because she’s got a big ol’ braid jammed up in there.) These qualities are essential to believing in her frenzied charisma, and it wasn’t there. Julie Andrews did it immaculately, and beyond her vocals, that made her a tough act to follow. (Also, somebody went INSANE making Carrie enunciate. A little is fine, but we don’t need to hear EVERY SINGLE “T” in EVERY SINGLE WORD.)

Watching this version of the stage show, I was struck with how much livelier the movie dialogue is, and it lent Maria some of the spunk she lacked here, which would’ve helped. The comparisons have all been to Julie Andrews anyway, because her Maria is more iconic than any that appeared on stage; ergo, might as well just accept that and then do the better version of the material, or a hybrid.

Basically, it was not a very enjoyable telecast. However, I loved the ambition of what it was trying to do, and I hope NBC keeps trying to do it. It’s also why, as much as I do not enjoy Glee and haven’t for a long time (and on some levels, possibly ever), I am so glad it’s out there because, much like JK Rowling reminded kids that it’s cool to read and Tina Fey that it’s cool to be smart, this stuff emphasizes the benefits of actual god-given talent.

Okay, let’s get silly:

They stuck Carrie behind a tree and made her spin around and duck out from behind it like she was popping out to say cuckoo, and her facial expression was so farcically cheery that it did nobody any good.

And then she spent the rest of her ‘The hills are ALIVE” sequence acting more like she was afraid they were alive in a Frankenstein kind of way. There was no tangible joy; just occasional bouts of pleasantness. Then again, this outdoor set was so horrible that I don’t blame her for being unable to summon any wonder at the splendor of nature. It was more like trying very hard to summon tolerance for the experience of nature-themed air fresheners.

The first moment where Carrie actually seemed to be having fun was at the end of “My Favorite Things” where Mother Superior lets her sit on her desk and they kick their feet and have a gay old time, Flintstones-style. Carrie Underwood was actually serviceable in the scenes where she had to get emotional with her scene partners, and I think it’s because they were all giving her more to play with (even Stephen Moyer at least gave her… I don’t know, flint and some cheekbones); comparatively, in the ones where she had to drive the bus with Maria’s personality, she ran it off the road. A live audience might have given her energy to feed off of; I’m sure any Broadway performer, like say the one in this scene with her, would vouch that it’s an amazing boon.

All the nuns looked like nuns, which is great, because if they’d looked like strippers, Twitter might have exploded in a more real way.  I REALLY missed the movie line where Maria notes that she’s supposed to kiss the floor whenever she upsets one particular nun, and “lately I’ve taken to kissing the floor when I see her coming, just to save time.”

Mother Superior’s office looked nice enough, albeit ripped out of Murder By Death, which is now just making me wish Young Maggie Smith had wandered through here in a satin gown. This whole set looked like a daytime soap opera, and here I kept thinking of Wildwind on All My Children. If ONLY Old-School Pre-Drug Bust Post-Dex Dexter Michael Nader (Dimitri Marick) had played the Captain. Can we time travel?

Lest you think I would forget Franz and Frau Schmidt, here they are. Franz is very excited about his work apron.

Stephen Moyer, a.k.a. Compton Von Trapp, was… unsuccessful, and looked super short and stocky in all the suit-pants they gave him. I know he is not a giant of a man, and Captain Von Trapp would never have worn skinny jeans, but… wait, now I am doomed to be unsatisfied by never getting to see Young Christopher Plummer in skinny jeans.

He also lacked charm, and the two of them together was like watching two plastic trees try to ignite a campfire by themselves.

Even Carrie gave him some delightful side-eye, and although that was relevant and in character, I like to think it was also therapeutic. We also need to discuss how that dress is not nearly ugly enough for the line, “The poor didn’t want this one.” The poor MIGHT want that one. The poor might be annoyed that they didn’t get a crack at that one.

The Von Trapp Family Uniforms were fairly standard nautical outfits. The knee-length culottes on Friedrich and Kurt were amazing and relentless.

“I’m Friedrich, and I’M A BOY,” was the line, which is something a two-year old would say.

Kurt is not impressed. Kurt has all the feelings in this production, and here, he basically wants to punch Friedrich for making the Von Trapp Family Bros sound so lame.

“Who wears short-shorts? This telegram dude wears short-shorts.”

I went on the Sound of Music tour when I did some backpacking around Europe — I was by myself the whole time, so the ONLY photo from these cities in which I feature is one where I’m skipping through the tunnel of flowers where they staged part of “Do Re Mi” because I MADE some random person take my photo, and it is awesome — and the gazebo from “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” is closed to the public because some octogenarian lady tried to do the dance where she leapt around the benches, and fell and hurt her hip. I applaud that lady’s instinct, and HECKLE HER FOREVER for ruining it for the rest of us.  Also, I miss both the gazebo and Charmian Carr’s pink dress, but Liesl does at least read much younger in her uniform. You know, “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” already has a lot of creepy, archaic messaging about how she is too stupid and young and needs a boy to to tell her what to do. So don’t make him sing, “Totally unprepared are you to face the world of men,” while giving him rapey choreography where he advances on her, hand pre-cupped to about breast-size, while she is backed up against a tree. Even she seems terrified. If anyone wants to cut the horror-movie trailer version of this special, here is one of the lynchpins. We’re not supposed to KNOW yet that Rolfe is a whacked-out Nazi sympathizer jackhole. In an awkward bit of staging, they had Rolfe “carve” R + L and a heart into a tree. Obviously, it was already carved there, but the camera stayed fixed here before, during, and after, so that we could SEE it was already carved there (he did it in two laps around the tree), and all he did was highlight it. Very strange staging choice. Frau Schmidt is wondering why a young nun who gave all her worldly goods to the poor has such an elaborate dressing gown. Lanz of Salzburg wasn’t making sleepwear yet, y’all. “Check it out! The poor TOTALLY wanted this one, but I said, ‘SCREW IT, mama wants to sleep like a queen.’” “Nobody understands how HARD these loops are. And I DON’T like brown paper packages tied up with string. NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME AT ALL.” As Kurt circled his prey, he thought, “I’m the one you forgot? LET’S SEE HOW REGRET TASTES.” But then Friedrich screwed up and ruined Kurt’s attack plan, all because he wanted to smell Maria’s hair, and maybe steal some. This was the “Lonely Goatherd” song, and it is impossible. Even Julie Andrews had the benefit of farming some of it out to the kids, and being on film; anyone who voluntarily belts this out life is made of bravery. Carrie clearly struggled with the breath amid all the movement, but she hung in there through a relatively rocky second half of the song and finished it out and didn’t let it screw her up, and even a rocky Carrie Underwood still has a really lovely singing voice. This is an honest question: Might they have been able to stage this for TV so that the actors weren’t doing the theatre thing of addressing all their lines out to the crowd? It really hurt that Compton Von Trapp stood like this, ignoring everyone, THE WHOLE TIME. You can’t have chemistry with your co-stars if you’re spending all your time macking on the lighting rigs.

It quickly went from “SAVE US, LAURA BENANTI” to “SAVE LAURA BENANTI.” Uncle Max had on a lively tie (I think Christian Borle, and their more controversial satirical Nazi numbers, would have also benefited from a live audience), and Laura Benanti, as the Baroness, looked wonderful. I miss Eleanor Parker’s more gut-punching opulence, and she was less grasping, but that’s just a difference in the material. Benanti was great, and she didn’t even have to draw on her own eyebrows. I didn’t like the shoes, at all, but at least they’re more relatable to the time period than what they had Carrie Underwood wearing in the promotional stills.

I do not believe this Maria has sewn an outfit in her life, much less made ones with this much HAPPENING. Also, this is the beginning of her dressing like a milkmaid, also in clothes allegedly of her own design. I guess if she grew up on the mountain, maybe that’s what she figured she should wear. Julie Andrews at least was costumed with some sense of being older than the kids; Carrie Underwood looks like the adopted eighth older sibling, which I guess makes her this production’s Soon-Yi Previn. I just wanted to share Laura Benanti’s awesome expression of, “Oh, isn’t all this adorable, except BORING.” She also gave SUBLIME bitchface to Maria while holding her edelweiss. And then we got the dullest party ever thrown in all of Austria, featuring about eight people being forced to orbit a giant fountain, because they didn’t/couldn’t bother with a ballroom set. In real life someone would’ve banged up against the steps of the fountain and been incapacitated. Soap fans: Michael Park (As The World Turns) showed up to play. He only had two lines, as one of Georg’s pro-Austria friends, but he looked very dapper. And the fact that he’s a silver fox now makes me feel terribly old. Maria went all-out on her sleeves for her Fancy-Dress Governess outfit. It is probably hard to dance The Ländler with those things smacking around everywhere. Dear producers: Fraulein Maria and Anne Shirley did not have the same sleeve preferences. I needed to show you this, because Kurt stood there on the stairs doing partial imitations of every dance move, as if trying to commit it to memory — exactly the way Kurt probably would have, and an awesome little bit of background stage business. Watch for his new dance video, Kurt Ländlers You A Hand. I don’t buy that she’d have worn black, and I REALLY don’t buy that she’d have a quasi-peplum gown. The Baroness would’ve va-va-voomed it up, to be the gleaming center of attention, not looked like a widow being introduced back into society. (Check out this black-and-white from an old production. It feels so much more right.) I also don’t care for Brigitta being the one who tells Maria that she and her father are in love; the Baroness pushing her out the door with it is so much more delightful, and isn’t that psychological manipulation half the fun of the part, and also the whole reason we see the Baroness — as we did here — notice Maria and Von Trapp dancing together so warmly? What’s the point of having her notice, if she’s not the one who does anything about it? She needs to REVENGE that fraulein and cross out her face with a red WWII-era Sharpie. I THINK Michael Park’s date stepped on the Baroness’s train here, which is why she picked it up. She recovered gracefully; sadly, an impromptu scandal with a torn skirt and some saucy leg was not to be. The Von Trapp children wish to say goodnight to you. Kurt’s eyebrow is just DARING you to say something about his and Friedrich’s skorts.

I have never understood why the Captain was so vehemently against them singing in public at the Festival, when they’d already done it at his party, to great acclaim and to his own delight. Be consistent, Georg. Take out your irritation on some Nazi flags and let your children sing about tasting their first Champagne. AND THEN GIVE THEM SOME. The Anschluss is coming, Captain. EVERYONE should be drinking while they can.

 

Okay: Audra McDonald singing “Climb Every Mountain was worth the price of admission. It’s a beautiful song that is my least favorite part of the movie, because I am unmoved by the delivery. I got goosebumps watching this the first time, and when I went back to get grabs, I opted to watch it again instead of skipping through it, and I actually got misty. She was WONDERFUL, and look at Underwood: Those are real tears.

I tease. I think those are genuine tears, and I think it’s because she couldn’t freaking HELP IT, because it’s really easy to get into the moment when Audra McDonald is delivering an immaculate Get-A-Grip Song. Franz is like, “I don’t approve of blindfolds outside the bedroom.” Uncle Max REALLY likes red ties with loud patterns on them. He also loves a pin-stripe. He also loves not standing up to Nazis, which I think is casting unfair aspersions on pin-stripes and loud ties. Friedrich is glaring off camera, thinking, “SHE gets to wear big-boy pants and I’M STUCK IN A UNIFORM SKORT?” Compton Von Trapp is wearing a suit as green as the hills that are alive. It’s fine. But they’re all moping about Maria, and Kurt is also brimming with feelings about his over-the-knee socks, which he feels are terribly Cher Horowitz in a way that he’s not ready for until he’s older, and he just HATES that nobody is considering his needs.

I don’t have much more to add than that, except that these are some VERY sincere pleats. Compton Von Trapp, stop standing like that. Your house is not a ship that’s rocking, and if it were, I would still come a-knocking to tell you that you look ridiculous.

This is where Compton Von Trapp gets all angry about Germany — understandably, as it was full of douchewads back then — and then dumps the Baroness because he’s not into the same kind of appeasement that she is. Jessica and I both lamented that “THERE ISN’T GOING TO BE ANY BARONESS” isn’t a line in the stage version, because when Plummer intones it at Julie Andrews by the gazebo, it sounds like he’s having the Baroness killed and disposed of hastily. But he definitely can’t marry her, because he’s in love with the baker’s daughter. Peeta Mellark WISHES he’d had this outfit.

They are not rocking down to electric avenue. Also, the producers replaced “An Ordinary Couple” with the song written for the movie, “Something Good.” If they were going to cross streams like that, you’d think they’d have made other judicious choices as well, no? Indeed: NO. And then the wedding happens, and the Von Trapp girls walk down the aisle in getups that I can only assume Maria made herself from napkins. They look like Reign crossed with Semi-Homemade By Sandra Lee. Her Pre-Anschluss Austria tablescape is a marvel. And yet she beams. Marta, sweetheart, you are a better actress than anyone knew. That may ALSO be true of Underwood, who did not vomit when she got a load of her costume, although she came close: I realize they needed a dress that would be easy to change into, but let’s feast our eyes on what Julie Andrews got to wear. This feels like a discount-bin mash-up of that dress and Kate Middleton’s.

 

You can sort of see the crinkled wig tape in the above photo; it was more noticeable in motion somehow.

And then they put a crown made of old lollipop sticks around her head, because Sister Margaretta has bad hearing and thought the song went, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; debris from old candies that look like hot shitten.”

And over THAT they plonk some Frankly Fake flowers and make her walk down the aisle in a dress that legitimately looks like it is made of old shoulderpads and was sewn on a fit model who had marbles glued to her breasts.

Jessica pointed out that this Church set looks like the one from Passions where Ivy Crane drove her car through the wall to stop Ethan’s wedding to Theresa. I wish Ivy Crane had crashed this wedding. This entire production could have used more Passions, especially Precious the Helpful Medically Certified Orangutan, or the times Julian and Rebecca dressed up for elaborate sex games, or that time he was castrated and then re-penised incorrectly so that if he got excited it would KILL HIM. And you KNOW Compton Von Trapp has a Shed of Secrets. The Baroness is probably dying in there right now.

Anyway, the wedding happens:

“Oh, hey, dudes, you didn’t happen to bring any shnitzel or strudel up the aisle with you…? No? Look, can someone do a church leader a solid and ferry up some snacks before they close this thing again?”

The Nazi skull-cracker ALSO likes loud ties. I think The American Association Of Loud Ties should sue for slander.

Friedrich would like to get up and punch that Nazi in the throat, but his joints are now frozen in that kneeling position and it will take twenty minutes to get upright again. And Kurt is too busy having feelings about his sweatervest and the continued presence of knee socks that are stunting the growth of his manly leg hair.

They give Underwood a lid, at least, for her return from her honeymoon, and Liesl’s dress is REALLY cute on her.

Compton Von Trapp would rather stand over here and spread ‘em and make people talk to his back.

But Maria’s outfit…

… no. It’s MATURE, finally, but it’s also so immensely unflattering, much like the hair they have glued to her head.

Rolfe is still wearing his tiny pants, this time with a lot more cranky pro-Nazi ranting.

More daytime faces, I think: I could swear that is John Bolger, (Another World, OLTL, GH) popping by to play An Even Bigger Nazi Than The Other Dude Who Was Just Here, and Compton Von Trapp tries to give him some lip. The Comp’n does look nice in what you can’t really tell is a forest green vest.

And the family looks fetching in its matching performance ensembles, one of which was thoughtfully ordered in Maria’s size, and which they have donned despite saying that they’re singing in the Festival “on Friday.” And then they tromp out of the house to work their shifts at their tourist-trap novelty family restaurant, Jam and Bread.

Just kidding, they roll right into the song contest, which is staged in somebody’s old barn.

“Sorry, we were under the impression that this was a music festival, not Open Mic Night at the Salzburg Country Hoedown.”

And then things went mental in a CAPSY way:

Some questions don’t have answers. Let’s just look at that again, also in case someday that Twitter thing stops working.

You can flap their head-wings by pulling on their mic cords.

And THIS woman is supposed to be the one from the movie who wins THIRD prize, and comes out and can’t stop bowing awkwardly with Max. I LOVE that frumpy, beaming woman. THEY SEXPOTTED HER.

There is also an implication missing from the movie that Max got hauled off by the Nazis. I guarantee you the Baroness did not bail him out, and not just because she might be trapped under something heavy in Compton Von Trapp’s Hate Shed.

The staging of this is made even more awkward by the fact that earlier, two nuns pass by with some Nazis and STARE RIGHT AT THE VON TRAPPS. Very subtle, ladies. This eviller Rolfe ends up being a hero — he lets them get away — whereas the whinier Rolfe from the movie blows the whistle. LITERALLY, actually, which is a nifty piece of full-circle that I just noticed: The Captain, who used to make people respond to whistle calls, almost got busted by one. Snap, filmmakers. HOWEVER.

I reject this ending with my entire being. Don’t take the moxie out of my nuns, bitches.

And then they all tromp over this very unimposing fake hillside, straight to freedom.

I mean, prioritize, y’all. Maybe wear boots and don’t bring your musical instrument, unless they are planning to stuff Gretl in there when her legs get too tired.

And that was that: A totally unengrossing rendition of a classic, with only one moment that struck an emotional chord; in fact, most of the conflict felt unearned, as did the love story. Despite her lackluster acting, I did applaud Carrie Underwood’s beautiful voice — the theatre training she clearly did with it paid off in context better than in the promos, although in the end, she still felt very much like a girl playing a Broadway actress playing Maria. It was a lot to bite off for a first-time actress, though, and I respect the guts she displayed. I think Stephen Moyer might wake up with a little more of a migraine.

It’s tough to grade this the way we normally would, because it’s The Sound of Music, and LOVE BEAT THE NAZIS, and whatnot. I will say this:

Fuggery: 8 out of 10. Maria looked ridiculous most of the way through, but THE HEADGEAR MY GOD THE HEADGEAR. It’s like the entire wedding scene happened after someone mistook the hot glue gun for nasal spray and got a good, hard whiff.

 

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Comments (114):

  1. kickassmomnyc
    +3

    The most I can say about the costumes is that her wedding dress looked home-sewn, which is probably accurate.

    I must take exception, ladies, to your recommendation of Megan Hilty as Maria. I can’t imagine a wronger casting. She’s a little powerhouse belter a la Ethel Merman, not at all a Maria type. She’s not the only Broadway star who can sing and act — there are lots of others, e.g. Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara (and not, not Kristen Chenowth, who would also have been wrong). Just my 2 cents.

    • Heather
      +9

      Yes, but she is the only one currently working for NBC, which is the only reason I brought her up.

      I was just saying, of all the people NBC has in its grasp, Hilty (SMASH, SEAN SAVES THE WORLD, both NBC) is a more experienced option versus Underwood (Sunday Night Football).

      • Maya
        +3

        I think Hilty could have carried it off very well. That’s what a real actress does–plays against type convincingly. And she sure looks Austrian.

    • Eli
      +2

      She would have been awesome as the Baroness, if the Baroness had had the personality of the movie one and the opportunity to sing of the stage one.

  2. Gine
    +61

    The thing that makes Sixteen Going On Seventeen non-barfy in the movie is that Liesl is so sarcastic. She’s clearly the one whose hormones are raging, and she sings everything like she’s thinking “oh yeah, I need you to show me what to do ifyouknowwhatImean, Rolf” while he’s trying to cover up his nerves by trying to act authoritative. When it’s not played that way, it’s super icky.

  3. Sarah
    +5

    The amazing thing is that people on my Facebook were actually watching this because they were genuinely excited. I thought it would only be people hate-watching it to make snarky comments on twitter, but it seems as if there actually were families gathered around TVs to watch a family TV program that would most certainly not include any twerking. My Facebook wall had many comments about how lovely and charming it was and how people were excited to hear their kids singing “my favouirite things” and I didn’t sense any irony behind those comments.

    • Kristin
      +3

      I can understand why people would gather to watch it with their kids (though it went on awfully late for the little ones). I still treasure memories of watching Rudolph, Frosty, and the Grinch with my family. The problem I had with this production was that it was just kind of dull and low-budget looking – not terrible enough to hate-watch – so I gave up early. Thanks for the recap – WAY more entertaining than the show itself!

    •  Lurker
      +12

      Those people know that they can buy the Sound of Music featuring Julie Andrews on DVD and watch it anytime they want at home, right?

      • name
        +4

        But NBC is free.
        And I think there’s something to be said of the novelty of a live broadcast, knowing that what you just watched is something you can discuss at work/school the next day.

      • Claire1
        +4

        And AUDRA!
        I watched it specifically for Audra.
        I’d watch her do an episode of Two and a Half Men if she had to.

        • jj
          +3

          Ditto. I’d watch Audra recite the Lotto numbers. I am really glad they keep trying live musicals.

  4. Alicia
    +25

    “debris from old candies that look like hot shitten” bahahahahaha!

    • Marti
      +5

      I KNOW….I’m totally stealing that. “Hot shitten” is now in my vocabulary forever.

  5. Cat
    +7

    I agree with pretty much everything here. Carrie did a great job vocally, but the acting was extremely wooden and there was absolutely no chemistry between Maria and Capt Von Trapp– I wish they had gone with musical theater people and not big name stars, because Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle were definitely the gems of the show.

    Glad you girls noticed the nightgown… Carrie as Maria sure got short shrift in the costume department, yikes. The nightgown was the best thing she wore (IMO). Everything else was unflattering or ridiculous. Even Liesl faired better. (The Baroness for the win, of course!)

    Can I just say that if I had gotten married in winter, I totally would have worn movie Maria’s wedding dress. Soooooo gorgeous.

    • Cat
      +2

      In summary: I want to watch the movie now, and eventually see the stage version with real musical theater actors.

  6. Tar Heel Gal
    +18

    What a hoot, thank you, Girls! I did not watch, the movie is too dear to my heart and I’m not an Underwood fan, but this recap is just delicious! I have a stitch in my side from laughing all the way through, seriously. “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; debris from old candies that look like hot shitten.” BEST SONG REWRITE EVER! (and Anne Shirley sleeves shoutout, squee!!)

    THANK YOU!!!

  7. Mindy
    +7

    Love that you gave shout-outs to Michael Park and John Bolger. Forgive me if you rmentioned this and I somehow missed it,but little Kurt was played by Luke West, Maura West (ATWT and now GH) and Scott Defrietas (from AtWT)’s son. I remember her being pregnant with him, so I now feel very old.

    Spot on review. I’m glad NBC produced this kind of programming, but I wonder where all that time and money went.

    • GFY Heather
      +1

      I HAD NO IDEA! And now I can TOTALLY see it.

    •  Lilywise
      +2

      I totally agree — I think it’s great to feature live musical theater and give people like Audra McDonald a national audience — but why did it all look so cheesy? I’ve seen college musical theater shows that looked like they had better production values. And Compton von Trapp was an enormous disappointment.

  8. Maria L.
    +46

    My husband was flipping through the channels before going to bed and stopped on this for a few minutes and then asked me if it was a Saturday Night Live skit.

    • Jenz
      +1

      SNL actually did a send up of it the next night… including Dooneese of the baby doll hands as one of the children. Hysterical.

  9. Megan
    +2

    Spot on! Poor Carrie Underwood. Her singing was, of course, lovely, but watching this just made me desperately want to look up a video interview with her to see if she is actually capable of talking like a regular person rather than in the wholly unemotional wooden way she had going on in this. I mean, her voice never showed us anything that she was thinking or feeling!

    I thought the kids were pretty good, and Rolf was great, despite the fact that the costumer hated him. I looked him up on IMDB and IBDB (for Broadway shows) and he’s got no credits anywhere. He was quite a find for NBC. Vampire Bill was a disappointment just because there’s no reason with his acting experience he should have been so stiff.

    But yeah, overall, it was a disappointment. I just couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful and fun Julie Andrews’s Maria was, and nothing in this production was good enough to make me stop thinking about that (except Audra McDonald, for a minute or two).

    • sacchrainkiss
      0

      It seems like Paxton was playing “Bill Compton – as – Captain von Trapp”

      • sacchrainkiss
        0

        ….. omg, I just realized I wrote Paxton and not Stephen Moyer. I have NO IDEA where I pulled Paxton from. Lack of sleep combined with snow/ice induced cabin fever perhaps.

  10. Mary Sue MacGuffin
    +4

    I honestly enjoyed it because it reminded me so much of shows that were on when I was a kid in the 80s — first and foremost, the version of Alice in Wonderland that starred Natalie Gregory. Yeah, the acting was iffy. Yeah, the costumes were iffier. But I loved it because it reminded me of a time when there were television *events*.

    (That said, I may possibly be the only person in America who’s never seen the movie, so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. And yes, judging from reactions by my friends and coworkers, I do understand that it’s unfathomable to have never seen the movie.)

    • Claire1
      +2

      Oh please PLEASE see the movie!
      The movie version is so much better than the stage. They really cleaned/tightened it up.
      ( and we are a family that have theater day jobs)

      • jj
        +1

        Was just thinking. The only TV version that POSSIBLY topped Julie Andrews in anything was Cinderella with Leslie Ann Warren. Probably because Julie’s did the first one LIVE TV and we never got to see at ALL it til, like, NOW Leslie’s version was on TV every year which made it a ritual.

  11. mue
    +5

    If these are photographs from the actual production, it looks like Sound State Hell.

  12. Stefanie
    +9

    I had an animal issue come up (yay for saving homeless kitties from -30 degree weather) so I missed all but about 5 mins of it. I saw the part where Compton and Underwood were dancing by the stairs and I had to walk away. Ill probably hate watch it someday.

  13. Ruth
    +3

    Brava, Girls. This was an amazing recap and I laughed so hard I cried. You have saved me from watching this on Hulu+.

  14.  Kristabelle
    +4

    Fug Girls, you nailed it again! Laughed my ass off reading this!

    Hopefully, Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald, being consummate professionals, reserved their seizure inducing eye-rolling for the privacy of their own dressing rooms!!! I did, in fact, well up for Climb Every Mountain.

    I applaud Carrie for her effort and earnest desire to do well in this role. Sadly, I think she was dreadfully miscast. And the costumers did her NO favors.

  15.  Kristabelle
    +11

    P.S. The entire time Max was onstage, all I could see was Rooster from Annie. I kept waiting for Miss Hannigan to show up!

  16. What what
    +6

    Your overriding issue is so spot on and exactly what I pointed out to my husband about halfway through. You don’t have to solve any problem like Underwood’s Maria, because there is no problem or personality whatsoever.

  17. Karen
    +11

    All I could think about when they were in the Mother Abbess’ office was “they stole that set from Church Lady”! Isn’t that special?!

  18. fritanga
    +8

    This recap is one of your finest.. Truly hilarious and totally spot-on.

    And in light of Underwood upbraiding everyone who did not like her performance by tweeting petulantly that they should “find Jesus,” I think you guys were waaaay too kind to her, her performance, her clothes, and her funky-ass wig.

    I watched five minutes of it (TSoM is my least, LEAST favorite R&H musical) and after I stopped laughing hysterically at the $12 production values, I was bored out of my mind. If NBC decides to do this again next year, I hope to god they spend a little money and actually use REAL Broadway actors (such as Benanti and MacDonald) as the leads and do a far less saccharine musical. Sheesh.

    • Heather
      +5

      I didn’t know she tweeted that; that’s pretty obnoxious. But from NBC’s standpoint, Underwood was the right choice, I think, because I think the curiosity and train-wreck potential are why people tuned in.

      I really respect her for doing it, though. It couldn’t have been easy, and I bet it was devastating to wake up and see how much everyone hated it.

      • Melissa
        +4

        I’m not sure I really respect her for doing it, myself. I agree that she surely worked her butt off in preparation, but at the same time shouldn’t performers know their limitations and maybe have the humility to realize that jumping straight into a huge, show-carrying role on live national TV was not the best first acting role to take? I’d have had a lot more respect for her if she’d realized she needed to build up to something like that by taking small parts and working her way up. Yes, she’s a big singing star, but that doesn’t automatically make her an actress. The contrast between her and the others onstage with her who had worked for years to get that good at musical theater was jarring.

        • Fritanga
          +1

          Yes, she’s a big singing star, but that doesn’t automatically make her an actress.

          Call it “The Timberlake Effect.” At least Bowie, Sting and even freaking BRITNEY knew when to stop. Only Frank Sinatra and Cher had any real sustained success (Oscars, great reviews, acclaim) at film acting and even they petered out at the end.

      • jj
        +1

        “curiosity trainwreck potential” — band name. Agreed. I always thought Carrie was sort of the stiffest – talented sure – but most STEPFORD American Idol winner.

  19. TonyG
    +16

    This could have been an extraordinary event, but the casting of Underwood made it merely mediocre. Carrie Underwood will be remembered more for her stiffness and lack of range than for her prowess as an actress or the dulcet tone quality of her voice. To put it mildly, Ms. Underwood’s performance did not compare favorably to that of Julie Andrews in the film version, and, having seen the film many times, I found it difficult NOT to draw comparisons between the two.

    But this was not a contest to determine who could portray Von Trapp more accurately. Neither actress was intended as a perfect representation of the real Maria. Neither attempted to approximate the sound of her voice, and the real Maria did not possess the frail features or delicate figure of either Underwood or Andrews. (In fact, had she been wearing a flannel shirt and sporting a tad more facial hair as she roamed the countryside, singing, she could easily have been mistaken for a lumberjack.)

    I am also aware that when the original film was released, it received many negative reviews. However, one should never base their own opinion on reviews, but on one’s own observations.

    So… are there any appropriate criteria by which NBC’s broadcast can be evaluated?

    Here are the reasons why, in my humble opinion, Underwood’s performance, IN AND OF ITSELF, was disastrous:

    1. Lack of vocal prowess…

    The poor thing strained her throat to the point where the veins in her neck looked like overinflated inner tubes. After several of her musical numbers, she was visibly winded, huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf (but, sadly, lacking the same entertainment value). She did better on songs she sang as part of a group, but songs that she had to carry were so very hit and miss. On songs with softer undertones and mid-range notes, she was okay. Anything requiring power, she strained on.

    2. Lack of acting skill/emotional depth…

    Despite her vocal woes, THIS was her ultimate downfall. Ms. Underwood was so stiff and emotionless that, at times, I feared she wouldn’t be able to recite her lines before rigor mortis set in. The only time she appeared to show any genuine emotion was during McDonald’s stellar rendition of “Climb Every Mountain,” and THAT was probably unintentional.

    3. Style inappropriate to the material…

    “The Sound of Music” is a classic Broadway musical. I’m only guessing, but I don’t think Rodgers and Hammerstein envisioned their lead female as a throaty country singer with a Southern drawl.

    4. Breaking of the “fourth wall”…

    Underwood simply could not ignore the camera, and peered directly into it on innumerable occasions. This can be attributed to her lack of experience as an actress.

    5. Voice incompatible with those of other cast members…

    Not only was Underwood’s voice weaker than her costars’; the DIFFERENCE between her singing style and those of the other cast members was JARRING at times. With the exception of the Moyer (Captain Von Trapp), who was obviously not a singer, most of the cast comprised trained professionals, well-versed in this style of singing. Among so many well-trained voices, Underwood closer to a trained seal barking onstage during “The Marriage of Figaro.”

    Heather has pointed to Megan Hilty as a better choice as Maria. I agree. Even HIlty’s co-star in Smash, Katherine McPhee, could have handled the Broadway style better. A bolder choice would have included Anne Hathaway (clearly with as much star power as Underwood), and, apparently, a choice of at least one of the Von Trapp descendants, who were not fond of Underwood (http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/von-trapps-wish-could-replace-carrie-underwood-39-212057999–abc-news-celebrities.html).

    Despite my critique, I hope more live theater, especially musical theater, is brought back to television. If that could be the legacy of this production with Carrie Underwood, then I take back everything I just said. ;)

    • Annie S.
      +2

      Ugh, thank you for this treatise on what went wrong with SOML. I was aghast when Underwood was announced as Maria (and Moyer as the Captain) – such stunt-casting is ridiculous when there are insanely talented, telegenic, and attractive actresses and actors TRAINED for this type of production. I think just as many people would’ve tuned in for a quality entertainment experience as to snark on CU’s wooden performance and Compton von Trapp’s indigestion.

      Yes, here’s hoping this dismal cloud has a silver lining of renewed interest in musical theater. And theater in general.

    • Gigi
      +4

      I’ve always love you, TonyG…even more today! Yes, yes, yes.

      Underwood has pipes, but she was horribly out of breath early on, so she’s not used to all of the physicality of musical theatre. Plus, she was on the verge of going all Mariah/Aguilera on us with more Idol-appropriate melisma.

      Why can’t NBC do this as PBS does: an actual live theatre production, with an audience, and really good lighting and all of the amazing cast and crew members available in theatre. The feel was of a soap opera: leaden, dry, and cheesy.

      Huge marks against CU’s gross post-show Jeebus tweets. Way to hide behind bigotry. DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THE STORYLINE?

      In sum, thank goodness for Audra McDonald, and as a FB friend said, “Julie Andrews Take the Wheel!”

  20. karen
    +13

    Has everyone read this?

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-regret-to-inform-you-that-my-wedding-to-captain-von-trapp-has-been-canceled

    “Please, friends, don’t worry about me. While I was a bit startled to be thrown aside for someone who flunked out of nun school, I assure you that I will be fine, and my main pursuits in life shall continue to be martinis, bon mots, and looking fabulous. You’ll also be glad to know I have retained custody of the Captain’s hard-drinking gay friend, Max. Anyone who gets tired of sing-a-longs should feel free to look us up.”

    The whole thing is hilarious & totally worth reading!

  21. celia
    +5

    This was fun to read, I could not watch because I love Julie Andrews and NO. NO. Julie ONLY. So basically thank you because my life is vastly improved having seen those insane lacy Flock of Seagulls headthings. Sweet mercy.

  22. Bee Rachael Greenberg
    +4

    I enjoyed it but I’m deaf, so I realize my opinion may not be as valid. My biggest concern was Rolfe’s hair. Why wasn’t it blond?! (And for that matter, why is Rolfe’s name spelt with an E? That always bothered me, as every syllable in the German language is spoken; it would be pronounced Rolf-UH). I didn’t realize Carrie was wearing a wig the whole time but now that it’s been pointed out, I wonder if I’m going blind, too. It’s so obvious. Stephen Moyer was handsome as the Captain but had NO chemistry with Carrie Underwood.

    By the way, Fug Girls, “shit” in German is “Scheisse” :) This message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood German speaker

    • GFY Heather
      +10

      Oh, ha, I actually wasn’t trying to make the German word for “shit.” I was just trying to make an obviously fake word that rhymes with “kittens.”

  23. Amanda
    +8

    I made the same comment about whoever let her Costner this thing. I think it drew more attention to her weaker acting. Also, it’s maybe bad news for them that it started snowing on the way up the mountain. Which one do you suppose they ate first? I’m going with Kurt.

  24.  mcbee28
    +1

    I live abroad and wasn’t able to witness this spectacle. Therefore, Girls, thank you for this magnificent recap. I saw an outdoor production of the stage version a few months ago and felt more personality from the actors (about 100ft from the stage) than it seems any of these actors on TV had. Thank goodness for Sister Audra.

    (I’ve been on the Sound of Music tour too, by myself on a solo backpacking trip, and you better believe I sang and jumped on the steps by the Pegasus fountain.)

  25. Comrade Beckles
    +22

    It hasn’t aired in Australia so I can’t comment on this particular performance (despite my own Definite Opinions about Bill Compton as Georg. I’m sure he’s a very nice man, but… um) BUT I thought you would appreciate this:

    I live in Tasmania which has a gay pride week each year called TasPride that is a combination of politics, parties and celebration of gay culture/icons. A friend of mine was on the committee this year and let me know they were holding a Sound of Music singalong night. I shrieked down the phone to my brother and mother, as SoM is our familial I Ching, and we all agreed to go along

    Well. For $10 entry, we received a brown paper package tied up with string containing our props: curtain material, a sprig of white edelweiss-y flowers and a sign to hold up during “Do Re Mi” with one of the notes. People came in costumes. It was so gloriously silly

    FGs, it was AMAZING. All of us in the theatre sang our hearts out at the screen, we booed when the Nazis came on screen, wolf-whistled at the Captain, hissed at the Baroness (not me. I LOVE her), laughed at the outRAGeous soft focus during Something Good (did they put Vaseline on the lens??), danced in our seats during My Favourite Things and generally threw ourselves around like we weren’t all proper grown ups with jobs and responsibilities and a general sense of dignity

    That is the power of the Sound of Music. That and Christopher Plummer’s ridiculous scrumminess

    •  Kristabelle
      +4

      That sounds like THE most fun thing EVER. I would have loved to have been there!!!!

      • GFY Heather
        +7

        They do that here too! I’ve been to the one at the Hollywood Bowl. They do a costume contest beforehand until it’s dark enough to show the movie, then show a print that has the lyrics on it. It’s fantastic.

        •  Kristabelle
          +1

          I must find one on the east coast. Surely, Baltimore has SOMETHING like this. If not, it MUST be organized!!!

          • Lori
            +1

            They had one at Wolf Trap in VA this summer. Not exactly the Baltimore region, but not impossibly far :)

    • Anne B
      +5

      We went to the first one on the West Coast, here at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, years ago. Capacity crowd, people in costumes, and Charmian Carr herself was our host!

      I couldn’t watch this thing after that.

  26. Mara
    +8

    “that time he was castrated and then re-penised incorrectly so that if he got excited it would KILL HIM.”

    What? I mean, what? What? I… what?

  27. Moira
    +3

    For what it’s worth, those headdress wing-things are at least inspired by headgear that is part of actual traditional costumes, such as those of the Swiss canton Appenzell: http://www.swissinfo.ch/media/cms/images/keystone_archive/2006/11/keyimg20061130_7304854_5.jpg
    (I don’t think the Austrians have something similar, but I wouldn’t vouch for that – and anyway, according to Google, Vorarlberg has these glorious things that absolutely should have been used: http://www.austriatourism.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/kurzreise500x297-500×297.jpg)

    • Annie E
      +7

      Half of this production mistook something Swiss for something Austrian.

  28. Betsie
    +3

    There is no substitute for Eleanor Parker’s inimitable Baroness, but Laura Benanti made Elsa her own: a “kinder, gentler,” brunette Baroness, w/her wit, charm, humor & real eyebrows. But I wish that line from the movie that she says to Maria like, “I think there’s a girl who will never be a nun!” was in the show. As well as Cap’n saying to Rolf in the abbey, “You’ll never be one of THEM!” before he literally blows the whistle. (Maybe only when you’re a full-fledged Nazi do they let you wear full-length pants.Any drafts may have given Rolf a shrunken schnitzel.) We love you, FugGirls! ;)

    • Annie E
      +2

      WHAT was the deal with the shorts? What season was it at the end? The Von Trapps were wearing scarves and coats, the one Nazi guy was wearing a leather jacket, and yet Rolf is running around in shorts and short sleeves.

      • Heather
        0

        I’m not sure about the sleeves, but the short pants are a definite thing of the time period. My dad was a boy in NE Europe during this same time period and I know all the pictures of he and his older brother have them in short pants at least until age 12. That said, my understanding is that Rolfe is waaaay to old for short pants. Unless they were making a statement that Rolfe only thinks he is grown up, but he’s really not recognized as such (since he’s not allowed to wear long pants yet). Too subtle?

    • Eli
      +6

      I hated the way the breakup happened in this movie because it robbed the Baroness of some of her awesomeness. Part of why she was awesome in the movie was that she fought for her man (and Christopher Plummer was a lot more worth fighting for than Vampire Beyill) and when the writing was on the wall, she gracefully retreated. Eleanor Parker really shone in being both strong and vulnerable. And in this version…they broke up because of politics in a seriously anticlimatic way.

      • Eli
        +2

        …And I just saw that Eleanor Parker passed away today. Sad :( And of course the Internet is already exploding with “Thanks a lot, Carrie Underwood” snark. Oy.

  29. gigi
    +2

    Heather,
    I laughed so hard @ the re-penised & hot shitten that it just dawned on me that I won’t be able to look at gofugyourself after Dec 16 when I will have 2 hernia repair!
    You guys rock!
    Thanks.

  30.  Lurker
    +8

    1. I was rooting for the Nazis this time.

    2. This was hysterical: “Jessica pointed out that this Church set looks like the one from Passions where Ivy Crane drove her car through the wall to stop Ethan’s wedding to Theresa. I wish Ivy Crane had crashed this wedding. This entire production could have used more Passions, especially Precious the Helpful Medically Certified Orangutan, or the times Julian and Rebecca dressed up for elaborate sex games, or that time he was castrated and then re-penised incorrectly so that if he got excited it would KILL HIM. And you KNOW Compton Von Trapp has a Shed of Secrets.”

    3. WTFFFFFFFFF why did Maria look like a stand-in for Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched?!

    4. I actually did not care for Carrie’s singing voice (and of course her “acting” was beyond atrocious). She sounds like she sings from her mouth/throat, and her range is extremely limited.

    5. That guy they got for the Captain is not a good actor, and he actually seemed SCARED of the Nazis? Chris Plummer treated them like the cowardly POS’ they were.

    6. This production was absolutely painful to endure.

    • Sarann
      +4

      I am so glad I’m not the only one that didn’t care for Carrie’s singing! I thought I was just crazy when everyone was saying that the acting was bad, but her sing was amazing, and I was feeling so meh about it.

      I’m fine with her singing on a pop/country level, but I didn’t enjoy it in this show.

  31. Sandra
    +4

    The costume designers might have had some funky things going on, but I can guarantee that the handwork on the uniforms, girls’ nightgowns, and girls’ day dresses was superb. My super-talented SIL is a stitcher at the workshop where these were made; she says she had a ton of fun working on them.

  32. TheMamster
    +5

    Brought to you by WALMART, need I say more?

    • Claire1
      +3

      THANK YOU!
      I think I was more offended by Walmart peeing all over it than I was by Bill Von Compton’s performance.

  33. Bella
    +3

    Didn’t watch this for two reasons: 1. TSOM should never be remade; the original was perfection, and 2. Carrie really doesn’t have the chops for this music. I might be alone in my opinion, but I really don’t care for her voice.

    • Heather
      +7

      In fairness, they weren’t trying to remake it — this was the stage show, not the movie, and there are big differences.

  34. Anne B
    +1

    Fug Girls, I can’t thank you enough for this. I couldn’t watch SOML, not with Carrie Underwood in the lead. I also wish they’d gone with a Captain who can do creepy-hot at least somewhat as well as Christopher Plummer did. Why not Vampire Eric, for gosh sakes??

    BTW, in case you haven’t seen this: Audra McDonald sang at a recent wedding on The Colbert Report. She is amazing. Amazing. http://ultimateclassicrock.com/audra-mcdonald-white-wedding/

    Thanks again!

  35. Kate K
    +1

    Heather, I went on the same Sound of Music tour! I heard the same story about the woman and her hip, and my lone picture from the tour is one where I’m standing in front of the gazebo, looking grumpy because I can’t go in.

    I agree with everything–the set was so very daytime soap-esque. I kept wondering. And the blocking for the Liesel-Rolf “16 going on 17″ was very, very predatory, especially when you throw that blocking into a dark, weird forest.

  36. Sarann
    +1

    My biggest problem was obviously the lead casting, which really wasn’t Carrie’s fault and more the director’s. This is a stage show so it should be something that can be remade a lot of times, but when you have a version that is so iconic in people’s minds you have to aware of that. You have to deal with your issues.

    But instead of dealing with that and casting a strong Maria would could create who own version of the role, they just denied and ignored. So people continued to complain that it wasn’t Julie Andrews because it wasn’t good enough or different enough to avoid the comparisons.

    • Heather
      +3

      Yeah, I think… I totally get he casting, but I think they needed an unknown as Maria, or just a massive talent, and gone for better stunt casting with the other roles.

      • Heather
        0

        Er, BIGGER, not better — as in bigger names. I thought Benanti was great, and Borle was fine.

  37. Maya
    +4

    I don’t know, I think I might have respected Underwood more if she had just realized she wasn’t up to the task and rejected the job. I think it’s kind of arrogant to assume you can do everything–isn’t being a great country singer enough?

    • Heather
      +7

      So she should just never try? I do not appreciate her reaction to the negative criticism — which was to tell us all we need to “find Jesus” or something equally obnoxious — but I admire her for never abandoning the production that had already planned itself around her. Giving this a go isn’t arrogance; can’t she just want to challenge herself? She wasn’t a one-woman ship here — she didn’t conceive of, produce, direct, and fund it just as a vanity project. I don’t think she deserves to be told she was arrogant for wanting to try this.

  38. Esme
    0

    “And then she spent the rest of her ‘The hills are ALIVE” sequence acting more like she was afraid they were alive in a Frankenstein kind of way.” HA HA HA HA HA! Exactly.

  39.  Brenna
    +4

    I actually cried laughing at the part about 16 Going on 17, especially at “. So don’t make him sing, “Totally unprepared are you to face the world of men,” while giving him rapey choreography where he advances on her, hand pre-cupped to about breast-size, while she is backed up against a tree.”

    •  Annie E
      0

      He also looks about 35, which made the whole thing feel even more wrong.

  40. Jenz
    +2

    Fug Girls – you guys are awesome. This was hysterical… I didn’t watch and didn’t want to BUT I really wanted to read y’all’s account of it. Thank you for starting my week off so wonderfully!

  41.  Annie E
    +1

    If the poor didn’t want Maria’s impeccably tailored dusty rose dress, I’ll take it.

  42. Kimberly
    +1

    So glad to see this recap because I missed the show. I chose to go to a Justin Timberlake concert instead. Based on these pictures, I think Timberlake spent more on his stage than NBC spent on the whole of this performance. I would also be willing to bet my three hours were more enjoyably spent and better sung!

    I did manage to make it through some video clips of the most iconic songs and your recap seems pretty spot on. Aside from Audra McDonald (who is AMAZING), everything I watched was weak. Even Carrie. (Although I admit to not liking her much on a regular basis. She has a nice country voice, but it’s not my cup of tea.)

    Perhaps next time NBC will pick a less iconic musical and cast for talent instead of star power…

    Thanks for the hilarious recap!

  43. Talley Lach
    +1

    I actually think the headpieces at the music festival are amazeballs! I watched with my 6 y.o. daughter. I assumed she’d fall asleep at some point and I’d carry her into bed, but she was wide awake until the last second. Grumpy as all get out Friday morning, but she enjoyed it immensely! I on the other hand. . . didn’t hate it. I thought Carrie did a good job with the songs and was somehow able to emote while singing. When she wasn’t singing it was like watching a piece of wood come to life. I didn’t hate Captain Von Vampire. He seemed adequate, and I really don’t like him in True Blood, so that’s saying something. I have to disagree with you about the Baroness’s black dress. When she was coming down the stairs in that number while Maria was twirling around in her ridiculous peach dirndl, I just couldn’t help but think, “What man in his right mind would pick that little flake over THAT!?’ I thought she looked gorgeous! EVERYTHING Maria wore was ridiculous for one reason or another. The costumers on this show were clearly Team Julie Andrews!

  44. Meredith
    0

    Oh man, that wedding dress was hideous. I was watching with my roommate, and we were worried that Captain Von Trapp would change his mind about marrying Maria when he saw how ugly the dress was. After all, he spent a lot of time insulting her first dress, and it was much less ugly.

  45. Amy
    +2

    I feel bad, I really wanted to like this! I think it’s great that NBC staged a live musical! They used to do it a lot-Amahl and the Night visitors was actually written for an NBC live broadcast.
    It just seemed so amateurish, and CU was so out of her depth. I hope they try again with another show, and rethink the whole idea of stunt casting!

    • MelissaW
      +2

      I think someone on Twitter suggested that they do Oklahoma with country music stars, which might actually turn out good.

  46. Heather
    +1

    I love the Sound of Music movie. I own it on DVD, my family (with kids) watches it whenever it airs on tv and we usually break out the DVD’s twice per year just for fun. I’m a fan.

    I think Carrie Underwood went out there and gave it her all. She didn’t knock it out of the park, but I wouldn’t say she embarrassed herself, either. She’s not a trained actress. She’s not a Broadway professional with a voice and projection to match. But she is a star, and I think her name brought a large portion of the viewers to the tv. I love Megan Hilty, but I’m not sure how many people would tune in to watch her headline SOM? (I would–but I don’t think most Americans could put a face to her name.) There are millions of people who don’t even realize SOM was a play, first.

    The big winner of the night was Laura Benanti, I think. I love live theater, live in NJ and go to shows in NYC fairly freqently but I was not familiar with her work and she was tremendous!

    I hope Carrie Underwood, Vampire Bill, and the kids had a blast doing this, and learned a lot. I hope singing with Audra McDonald was an intimidating dream come true for all of them. I hope they do more live musicals on TV because I love the whole “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” vibe. I don’t expect them to measure or match up to the movies, it’s a different creature.

    •  glee
      +6

      “She didn’t knock it out of the park, but I wouldn’t say she embarrassed herself, either. She’s not a trained actress. She’s not a Broadway professional with a voice and projection to match” – that’s the huge problem with the show, and it is not meant to be someone’s art school theses project.

      There are huge faces (Anne Hathaway was mentioned, but there are many others that can dance, sing – Anna Kendrick, Amanda Seyfried, Amy Adams, Mia Wasikowska) from the big screen who would have loved to tackle this project and brought huge audiences with them! Not to mention the many men who could do same for Cpt. Von Trapp. Geez, even Gwyneth…

      So, no slack cut – not everybody should get a trophy just for showing up!

      • Heather
        0

        I thought her voice was just fine, though — she didn’t need to project much more than she did. Anne Hathaway would hve been horible; Kendrick doesn’t have powerhouse pipes, Seyfried was arguably the most annoying vocals of Les Mis… I’m not sure there IS a perfect solution.

  47. Eli
    0

    I LOL’d pretty loudly at the part about their combustible chemistry of water + water. Between that and the fact that this version of the stage show cut out basically any interaction between the two characters before they decide they love one another, I was actually surprised they got together even though I know what happens. Like seriously, I think they had two conversations in this version.

    Someone in the Twitterverse made a comment about how they should have cast one of the marionettes from the movie as Maria because they would have been less wooden than Carrie Underwood. Truer words were never spoken.

    Anne of Green Gables FTW.

  48. Bob Stanley
    +1

    They should have had Todd Haynes direct.

  49. Crystal
    0

    Julie Andrews is incomparable, but I think whoever plays Maria should take advantage of a pixie cut. It really does make one spunkier, as the Fug Girls noted in one of the many things that lacked in the performance. If Carrie chopped her hair off, it MAY have helped her stage presence some. Just imagine Julie Andrews with long hair as Maria or Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell w/long hair.

    • Robyn
      +2

      Actually, Carrie was on board with that. She told the producers they could cut her hair, but they wanted that stupid Heidi braid.

      And I can’t believe I haven’t seen anything about Benanti’s glorious red pants with a PINK shirt.

      • Crystal
        0

        Thanks for the info, Robyn! Just goes to show that the producers weren’t the best in executing this event.

        Ugh, the braid makes her whole character look silly and more like Carrie Bradshaw (when Charlotte married Harry) than Maria.

  50. jj
    0

    BRAVO FUGLEINS! That was hilarious. I LOVE the idea of Captain Von Trapp as a vampire. Now THERES a musical waiting in the wings. And RIP to THE Baroness. The one and only Eleanor Parker. Sniff. I didn’t think this was THAT bad, singing wise. And I kind of prefer the more rapey Rolf to the nazi metrosexual rolf of yore. Just sayin. Leiderhosen’s hot.

  51. Sarah
    0

    On the bright side, at least Introducing Katharine McPhee didn’t play Maria. Or wait, would that have been better? WHO KNOWS ANYMORE.

  52. MelissaW
    0

    I have a tag in my letterboxd profile for films with “bad wigs” (which could also be bad hair in general) and two of those are due to Stephen Moyer being stuck with an atrocious head-suit (Prince Valiant and Princess of Thieves, both awful in other ways as well). Since I have thought Vampire Bill’s haircut has always been less-than-desirable, it was nice to see him use some pomade (though I think it was wearing off in the end).

    This got the “bad wig” tag for both Carrie’s wigs but especially the second. They should have just left the milkmaid braids and been done with it.

  53. Melissa Wyatt
    0

    Not skinny jeans, but how about a loin cloth?

    • Melissa Wyatt
      0

      Crap. My html didn’t work. Okay. Just google “Christopher Plummer as Atahualpa” or “Christopher Plummer loincloth” and you’ll see what I mean.

  54. Judy Claverie
    0

    I am a trained singer with decades of stage productions under my belt…..i have a mixed review..Carrie was shout singing…pushing too hard most of the time ..a little training would have benefited singer and audience…the costumes she had to wear were unfortunate and her wigs an abomination …but not her call and fun to mock!..the wedding dress was sssooo unfortunate…NBC could have used a little theater folk help…we are willing and able!….the production looked like a dress rehearsal….when there is a live,,.one shot performance.. put seasoned performers together and watch the magic…….Carrie got an opening night…a scathing review and the professionals shone in comparison…..i rank this with asking Rossanne Barr to sing the star spangled banner and then complaining she was vulger and obscene…..i had to sing at an Angels game two weeks later and people were still reeling at how bad she was!….ask a vulger commediane to sing and be surprised…..ask a country singer to sing a treasured musical and be surprised?? ….i love singing and dancing and i watched the whole thing…i watched it like my singing student was in it and i wanted it to go well!…..keep trying NBC…..there are lots of theater folks willing to show TV how its done!!…..j

  55.  Janice
    0

    What puzzles me is why anyone thinks it should matter to the audience that Carrie is stretching herself, or that NBC wanted a marketable name. The only thing we should care about is the final result. We’re not watching a t-ball tournament, or an amateur production of H.M.S Pinafore. The majority of people involved are highly paid, adult professionals; and the reason why they are highly paid is because they supposedly have both talent and good judgement.

    Carrie and Stephen weren’t the best bets going in, but say they wanted to try. When it became obvious they were not up to the job, they should have been replaced and/or bowed out gracefully. This happens all the time. Since it was a one-time TV production, I suppose they thought they could get away with it, but I can’t imagine this production having a long theatrical run.