| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 5 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
"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
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.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Ken Wills)