|The Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood. Courtesy of NBC.|
Maybe this sounded like a good idea to someone. After all, The Sound of Music (with Julie Andrews) is a beloved film. And to many people, Carrie Underwood is a beloved singer. What could go wrong?
It would be bad enough to redo a movie of The Sound of Music, but wait! Let’s do it LIVE! on TV! With someone in the lead who has little or no stage experience, to say nothing of dramatic experience. What could go wrong?
Well, $9 MILLION later, we have this mess. Dreadful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
First most glaring were the garish sets. One cannot replicate the wonder of the Alps with cardboard and paint. The Alpine vistas were laughable. I’ve seen better, more magical views in community theatre productions. Also, the main piazza set was more suitable to Italy than Austria, where this is supposedly set.
Sure, every Alpine home has great open plazas to walk around in. (Not a drop of snow on them, either.) *eyeroll*
Second, and I admit I have a bias about this. I LOVE theatre actors. I am a firm believer that whoever originates the role on Broadway should have it in the movie. And I pretty much wish a pox on all the famous people who think they can walk the Broadway boards and it’ll be fine. Even worse, those who then scoop up Tonys for their celebrity more than their work COUGHScarlettJohannssonCOUGH.
So the idea of “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood acting in a big, splashy theatre work on TV doesn’t exactly fill me with excitement. But I gave it the old college try. I went to this show with as much of an open mind as possible.
Which was pretty much slammed shut once Ms. Underwood attempted to act. Well, I wouldn’t call it “acting,” exactly. More like rushing through a bunch of lines to get to the song parts. The dreadfulness of Ms. Underwood’s acting actually made Lindsay Lohan’s Liz Taylor look like a Tony winner.
Zero chemistry between Underwood and the poor miscast Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”). At least Moyer could sing decently. He does have some stage background, but all his TV work must’ve made that a dim memory, cause he was pretty terrible in this. His singing ok, but he should stick to TV.
It’s supremely hard to care when the lead role (Underwood) is sinking like a lead weight, right there in the middle.
Thankfully, we had glorious stage performers, who do actually know how to do this, with Tony winner Laura Benanti (who was way better than she needed to be in a small thankless role) and Tony winner Christian Borle (also late of “Smash”), both acting up a storm around the lead weights of Underwood and Moyer. And the kids were good.
Glorious (five-time) Tony winner Audra McDonald (sharing the record for most Tonys won by an actor) belted out a superb “Climb Every Mountain.” So, it wasn’t all madness and bad acting. There were real glimmers of glory here.
But the bad stuff. Wow, so bad.
The final climactic scene, when the von Trapp family is hiding in the garden, they are pretty much, sitting there as plain as day, all someone has to do is shine a light on them. Of course, stupid Nazis, only search the convent building, and don’t go in the garden. Riiiiight. Ridiculous is a good word for that scene, as portrayed.
Oh God, Carrie Underwood was so bad that in many scenes, I could barely stand to look at her. Really leaden. Really dreadful.
And there seemed to be songs added. There was one, REALLY tasteless, about happy millionaires being trapped in their capital gains, that I really don’t remember from the Julie Andrews version. Although at least Benanti and Borle were singing it, so it was OK from that aspect.
So whoever squandered $9 Million on this monstrosity instead of putting good, talented hard-working actors to work in something decent, I hope you got your money’s worth. Please, though, don’t do this again.