NBC’s The Sound of Music Review

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Meghan Winter, Writer

As a young girl, my mother and I used to watch The Sound of Music together on our television as I gawked at Julie Andrew’s beautiful voice and lively portrayal of Maria Rainer, the main character.  I’d imagine myself as Liesl , dancing around the gazebo singing, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”  It was one of my absolute favorite films, and to hear NBC was in the process of making its own live rendition of the movie, including Carrie Underwood, both horrified and excited me.  Could Underwood live up to the standard that Julie Andrews has set so incredibly high?  Would NBC make it more modern?  Would they include every song?  A million questions rushed through my mind as soon as I heard the announcement.  After it aired on December 5th, I searched “The Sound of Music NBC” on Google to find that 95 percent of the reviews were negative, including titles such as, “Sound of Music?  More like A Bit Off” and “Disaster of Music.”  However, I must admit that the performance did have its upsides, as well.  So, after reading through these commentaries, I decided to write my own based on the knowledge I had acquired.

It is evident that Carrie Underwood should not have received hate mail via Twitter and Facebook from the many “Sound of Music” fans around the globe. Underwood stated she was not trying to impersonate Julie Andrews in any way, and in return, Andrews commented that she supported the endeavor.  While Underwood’s ability to sing beautifully without going off-pitch was obvious, the lack of emotion and facial expression while doing so was also evident.  There was practically no expression on her face when she was singing.  This also ties into her sub-par acting job.  While reciting the lines, her eyes were blank and her voice flat, as if she were reading directly off  a paper.  Given she has no real acting experience, except a couple lines in the hit movie “Soul Surfer,” this was no surprise.  She lacked chemistry with her Captain, portrayed by Stephen Moyer, who was shaky himself.  Without chemistry, how does the romance that drives the storyline even make sense?

Although her acting ability is very poor, she did not go off-pitch once throughout the show.  Yes, she ran out of breath often while speaking after singing and while what some would call dancing, but it was impressive she was able to perform live for three hours without a retake net.  However, is it really considered live acting when Underwood has cue cards strategically placed around the set for her to read off during some scenes?  Some of the songs were out of order, and the set was reused in different scenes as well. Apparently the set did not allow for certain places, such as the gazebo where Liesl sings, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” and the nature scenery where Maria teaches the children to sing.   Despite these differences in the scenery used, the set was beautifully done.

There were many different aspects between NBC’s rendition and the most well-known version of “The Sound of Music” with Julie Andrews.  Despite these differences, Carrie Underwood stayed on-pitch in every song throughout the performance, and I applaud NBC and the actors/actresses on their rendition of “The Sound of Music.”  I’m sure some people appreciated their attempt at a successful version of this wonderful musical, while others certainly did not; however, we should appreciate the effort put into such a production.