Sound of Music
Still of Carrie Underwood as Maria in "The Sound of Music, Live!" (Photo by Will Hart, NBC)

by Jillian Torre

The hills are live with the sound of mixed feelings. A day after the Sound of Music Live aired on NBC people were sharing their opinions all over social media and it seems America is split just as much on this as they are on politics.

Those criticizing the performance are being criticized for having an opinion. To me this is wrong. Yes, critics’ words could be a little nicer, but they are still entitled to their opinions. And no, just because someone thinks Carrie Underwood can’t act doesn’t mean they believe they can do better. Do you think the gymnastics judges at the Olympics can do better back tucks and one and a half twists than Gabby Douglas?

As someone who would love to one day be on the teams of professional theatre productions, whether it be a producer, casting agent, or public relations representative I am very critical of any and all shows I may see. But never do I think I could do a better job than them because I know I can’t. For what I want to do in the future, being critical is a good thing. It means I have something to bring to the table. If I thought projects are perfect and nothing could be changed to make them better, than why would anyone hire me to contribute to making something the best it can be.

But my inability to act, sing, or dance doesn’t mean I can’t tell if someone else can or can’t.

Anyways I’ll end my rant about critics and share my thoughts on the production.

  1.  Carrie can’t act. And I don’t blame her for this, I blame the casting and production company. I would never sacrifice the quality of a production for a big name, especially when there’s many other young actresses with big names who can sing and act. I was thinking of Catherine McPhee (possibly), but my friend brought up Amanda Seyfried and Emmy Rossum who I think would both have done an amazing job. Not to mention the dozens of Broadway actresses who could have done the part. Everyone was saying it’s not fair to compare her to Julie Andrews, but even without comparison her acting was just not there. There also wasn’t much chemistry between her and the Captain.
  2. Carrie’s belt. Maria is not a powerhouse role she should not have belted the majority of the songs. Carrie Underwood has such a good voice but the musical director should have told her to use head voice or at least mix. Her best songs were “Lonely Goatherd” and “Something Good”, both of which she sang in head voice. Again, this was not her fault but how she was directed.
  3. Laura Benanti (Baroness) and Christian Borle (Uncle Max) were amazing. I usually HATE the two songs they sang…so much so I don’t even know the names, and for a Sound of Music fanatic this is saying something. Both of their characters were flawless and done magnificently. Benanti’s Baroness made a forgettable and unliked character one of the best in the show.
  4. Ariane Rinehart’s (Liesel) breakout performance. Her voice is so beautifully classic and pure. She could easily fit in the 1965 movie version with that voice. I expect to be seeing a lot more of her.
  5. Their accents/voices. Everyone other than the Broadway veterans (Borle, Benanti, and Audra McDonald) spoke as if they were in 2013, not 1938. There should of been a dialect coach teaching Carrie and the children how how to talk as if they belonged in 1930’s Austria. It just wasn’t believable that Gretl had a modern-day New York accent (even though she was precious).
  6. Audra (Mother Abbess) stole the show. Jesse Tyler Ferguson even tweeted that she “basically dropped the mic after ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain.’” My mom jokingly texted me, “even Carrie felt something.” Audra’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” was the only part of last night that I enjoyed more than the movie.
  7. The costumes were excellent, especially the play clothes. The only costume I wasn’t fond of was the wedding dress. It looked cheaply made…pretty much a slip with lace sleeves. It also was not at all appropriate for the time period.
  8. Not really relevant but did anyone else catch Liesel mess up and say “no” instead of “yes?” during “So Long, Farewell”? I wonder if they will fix that for the DVD.

Overall I try to look at the big picture and I did enjoy it. It is great seeing musicals get so much attention and I am thrilled so many people tuned in. I hope last night made children all over America as excited as I would get (and still do) when I watched this movie as a kid. I hope more producers take on projects like this in the future.