So, let me get this right!
NBC spends 9 million dollars to bring us a free, LIVE production into our living rooms, hires a formidable cast of singers and actors of considerable fame who are not intimidated to sing LIVE over a three-hour time period, hires a LIVE orchestra, technicians, engineers and Heaven knows who or what else and the reaction is basically a whiny “I could do better” rant from the media.
Wow. Just wow!
In the age of pre-recorded, pre-fabricated, lip-synced productions which have been force fed to us, brainwashed us and made us settle for mind-numbing edited content, have we totally lost perspective here of what constitutes good or not? Or of how tremendously risky it was to create a three-hour extravaganza of one of the most-loved musicals of all time, live and unedited, free of charge, for all to enjoy? Not mention the enormous amount of planning and fortitude the production crew had to endure to make The Sound Of Music Live come together!
First and foremost, let me get this out of the way now. Carrie Underwood’s portrayal of Maria was absolutely refreshing to behold. She was sweet without being saccharine, playful without being over the top and sensitive without being too “method” in her approach. In other words, she was believable and overall she took great risks with her voice. I was absolutely thrilled to hear her singing those upper soprano notes.
My only problem was this: I wish the director had worked on refining her speaking voice. It sounded far too American for the setting of this musical. Her singing voice was fantastic, however. No – it was not Julie Andrews nor was it the original Maria’s , Mary Martin, (yes, there was another Maria before Julie Andrews).
However, her articulation of the words, her vocal tone, even her nuanced approach, was extremely admirable. And, most assuredly, she loosened her demeanor and vocal delivery as the show moved forward.
But to ban the entire production over little flaws here and there is absolutely ludicrous and downright insulting. It’s fine to have a meltdown over the casting and you need sleep aids to sleep at night to help you forget the experience but, for the love of Pete, give credit where credit is due – the production.
NBC was prepared for the backlash, as was the cast, particularly Carrie, but, c’mon, in the spirit of season, let’s congratulate NBC on a job well done. And LIVE! Did I mention it was LIVE?
One thing is certain – the ratings for this show are going to be through the roof and all the naysayers can congratulate themselves for this ratings boost.
Ask yourselves – would the viewers have tuned in if Carrie Underwood had not been cast in the role of Maria? You can bet that the majority of the viewers would have replied in the negative because the majority of the viewers most probably are not musical theatre purists like you and I.
But, look at it this way: Carrie’s fame and fan base attracted viewers who are now fully aware of musical theatre veterans such as Audra MacDonald, Christian Borle and Laura Benanti.
And, as a lover of all things musical theatre, this is a very good thing indeed. We need to somehow make the world aware of our musical theatre artists and, if this is the beginning of the process of awareness, then so be it.
And for Carrie, I congratulate her for motivating herself to move in a direction beyond country. Maybe this is the start of a new and exciting career for the country star.
What did you think? I am being too lenient? Did you enjoy it as much as I? Please share in the comments but be civil and courteous.