Via the science of DVRs, I finally got around to watching NBC’s presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final collaboration, “The Sound of Music“, and I must say that I rather enjoyed it. Eight stars out of ten.
Now “The Sound of Music” is not one of my favorite things (all those nuns and children, so much godly stuff), but it does have a tuneful score, and since they performed (mostly) the original stage play rather than the bowdlerized movie version, they included two of the best songs, the cynical “How Can Love Survive” and “No Way To Stop It” about the inevitable Nazi take-over of the world. OK, that’s overstating it a bit; that song is also about Elsa’s realization that she can’t marry a “dewy-eyed idealist” like Captain von Trapp.
I must give a nod to NBC, not just for airing the show, but for (mostly) avoiding extraneous and distracting overlays; they even played the ending credits without an annoying voice over. Though I could have done with fewer commercial interruptions; thank goodness for the skip-ahead button.
The cast was (mostly) up to the task of presenting a musical on live TV. It’s always great to see Christian Borle and Audra McDonald, and they were classy as Max and the Mother Abbess. Carrie Underwood, while she didn’t erase memories of Mary Martin (and why should she?), proved herself to be an accomplished musical actress in the role of Maria. Only Stephen Moyer, as an overly stiff von Trapp, was somewhat disappointing. Even the children were (mostly) not overly cute.
The main problem with this production, however (as distinct from the material itself), was the off-kilter sound; the orchestra often overwhelmed the voices, sometimes even during the underscoring.
But enough quibbles. I enjoyed it. I hope NBC (or some other network) does more like it. That’s all that needs to be said.