U.S. television, Twitter, alive with new version of 'Sound of Music'

NEW YORK Fri Dec 6, 2013 12:40am EST

Actress and singer Carrie Underwood from ABC's series ''Nashville'' arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in this September 22, 2013, file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files

Actress and singer Carrie Underwood from ABC's series ''Nashville'' arrives at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles in this September 22, 2013, file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni/Files


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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. television was alive with "The Sound of Music" on Thursday as country singer Carrie Underwood and "True Blood" actor Stephen Moyer starred in a live version of the classic musical about an aspiring nun who falls in love with an Austrian captain.

Filmed on vast movie sets and with lavish costumes but without an audience, the NBC television broadcast harked back to the traditions of the 1950s and 1960s when live musicals were often shown on American television.

Thursday's three-hour show was based on the 1959 stage version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show rather than the Oscar-winning 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews.

After heavy promotion for weeks, the live broadcast was the No. 2 topic on Twitter on Thursday, behind the death of South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

But not everyone found the new version one of their favorite things, with many viewers taking to social media to snipe over the quality of Underwood's acting and bemoan a lack of atmosphere and chemistry between some of the key characters.

"Don't get me wrong. I love me some Carrie Underwood but I am not digging this version," tweeted TV viewer Heather Whitford.

"Nothing will beat an original, but doing this live on TV is amazing!" countered Lonz on the micro-blogging website.

Underwood, 30, who has become one of America's biggest county stars since winning "American Idol" in 2005, has scant experience as an actress.

"I just want to say before the craziness starts...I am truly honored to be in #TheSoundofMusicLive. This is an exciting/moving moment," Underwood tweeted before the broadcast from New York got under way.

Moyer, 44, is best known as the star of HBO's quirky vampire drama "True Blood." While not known as a singer, he performed in a musical version of "Chicago" at the Hollywood Bowl earlier this year.

Moyer played the strict widower with seven children who falls in love with aspiring nun Maria, played by Underwood, on the cusp of World War Two.

Veteran Broadway stars Audra McDonald (Mother Abbess), Laura Benanti (Elsa Schrader) and Christian Borle (Max Detweiler) rounded out the cast.

More than a year ago, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron came up with the idea of doing a live version of "The Sound of Music" - whose hit songs "My Favorite Things" and "Edelweiss" have made it a beloved musical for several generations.

They told Reuters earlier that they hoped it would spark a resumption of the tradition of showing live musicals on U.S. television.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Ken Wills)

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Comments (5)
max1952 wrote:
not too bad a show…for a high school production

Dec 06, 2013 1:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
max1952 wrote:
not too bad a show…for a high school production.

Dec 06, 2013 1:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
crowleykirk wrote:
I love the original so much. This one was painful and I had to keep changing the channel. Then I’d come back to see if it was any better. Nope. Maybe a shortened version would of been better. I love CU but an actress she is not. Even her singing seemed off.
On a positive note that must be really hard to do Live and trying to bring back that novalty is wonderful. Just don’t think this generation has the patience for it though. Must be dumbed down and fast for them to have a clue.

Dec 06, 2013 11:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
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