In the immortal words of Sarah Bareilles “You’ve got opinions, man. We’re all entitled to ’em”. So surely folks can have whatever opinion they desire of last night’s musical event, The Sound of Music Live, and of Carrie Underwood’s performance in it.
What troubled me, however, is that from the twitosphere and elsewhere, so much seemed to be from folks who made up their mind long before the musical ever started. They were going to diss Ms. Underwood and the production while looking cool doing so. Pretty much no matter what. Now this isn’t discouraging genuine difference and argument – I think Carrie did a more than adequate job acting. It appears that the consensus (among those who didn’t decide ahead of time) was that she sang well but her acting was weak. Indeed, my wife is of that view and that Stephen Moyer did a good job. I found Mr. Moyer stiff and wooden even when he was supposed to be softening up; during his initial “tough Captain” role, his quick manner of speaking seemed rushed. Bottom line – to me he was noticably acting. I always saw the actor and never the Captain. Hey, I love these discussions and differences of opinion.
What I don’t love are the haters without reasonable and thoughtful responses; they merely have snide comments. Part of this is we don’t want anything new – Daniel Craig was seriously dissed by the Bond fanboys. Letterman could never take over for Johnny Carson and Carson could never fill Jack Parr’s shoes. Pick anything loved or just long lasting. We want it to stay that way.
Now, I admit, I was initially thinking – oh this will be a terrible mashup of Grand Ole Opry meets Rodgers and Hammerstein. Now there’s nothing wrong with Grand Ole Opry or Broadway musicals, I’m just not sure the mix would be pretty. As I’ve said previously, I love Julie Andrews and the 1965 movie; that doesn’t preclude me from loving this production as well. No, it was a live Broadway-like production of Sound of Music for TV. It was done well with amazing sets (so that’s what you do with an old NASA hanger). We talk about how we’re tired of formulaic TV and here’s something very different. The last live musical on TV was Cinderella in 1957 (I think it was black and white). NBC had incredible guts to not only do something different on a highly revered subject, but a musical with children, LIVE! Anything could go wrong. (The children did great, from the older not-so-child-like and the really young ones.) Overall, great cast. Audra McDonald was fabulous as always. Laura Benanti was an amazing Frau Schrader; I loved how well she handled her dress being stepped-on.
Not everyone will concur with this view, but let’s have a discussion, not jabs and stabs.