Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why I Loved "The Sound Of Music Live!"

I am a big fan of musicals (Bye Bye Birdie is my favorite). I love plays and movies and TV shows (with the exception of Grey's Anatomy) where they break out in song. I think it's fun and joyful and damnit, it makes me so happy.

When I first heard that they were going to do a live version of The Sound Of Music (based on the original Broadway musical, not the 1965 movie) on NBC, I was thrilled. Absolutely thrilled. One of my favorite stories, brought to life on stage, in my living room, on my TV?! Heck yes! It never. Not once. Occurred to me to get upset over Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's (the dudes who did Smash, Hairspray and Chicago) casting choices. Given her voice, I thought "well hey, why not Carrie Underwood??" I'm not her biggest fan or anything. I enjoy her music and she's beautiful so why not her? Then when they announced that Stephen Moyer would be playing Captain Von Trapp, I was excited to see him play someone other than Vampire Bill for a change and I couldn't wait to hear him sing.

So, last night when I sat down with Charley and we had our popcorn and drinks (Coca Cola for me, water for him) and started to watch the show, I was so happy. I continued being happy throughout the entire broadcast. It has been 50 years since they aired a live event like this on network TV. I just felt like it was something really special. They spent an estimated 9 million dollars on this project (note: that is double the amount it cost to make the Veronica Mars movie that comes out in March).

An iconic story. A classic movie. A phenomenal play by Rodger's and Hammerstein. Big, big, big shoes to fill with the likes of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Tons of pressure on the cast, crew, everyone involved. As I said, this hasn't been done in years. Years. It was a big deal and I loved everything about it.

I loved it.

"But Sarah!! Carrie Underwood is no Julie Andrews!!". No, she's not. You're right. She's Carrie Underwood. She has her own style, her own (freaking amazing) voice and very little acting experience. Very little. She knows that. The producers know that. The entire world knows that (no one will let her forget it either). And you know what? She went out and did it anyway. They trusted her to head the whole operation and I thought she did a great job. She sang the shit (sorry, she did) out of every single one of those songs. And while she's not Julie Andrews and she won't be winning any Tony Awards any time soon, she did a really wonderful job for her first acting gig. Her first acting gig that involved getting on stage, in front of millions of people and singing iconic songs that a lot of people know every word to and would be judging her every single solitary step of the way. I say bravo to her! And to Stephen Moyer. I think they both did a great job.

Their performances, while not as emotionally charged as Andrews' and Plummer's, took nothing away from that original movie. It was simply a different take. ON LIVE TV. I get that people love Julie Andrews. *I* love Julie Andrews but I am not going to diminish Carrie's performance because she wasn't on par with her. She was on par with herself because they are two completely different performances. I'm going to applaud her for being brave enough to say yes to such a daunting role in the first place. Kudos to her for giving it a go. She performed her ass off for 3 straight hours on live television. She was fantastic with the Von Trapp kids and I was smiling from ear to ear during "Do Re Mi". And you know what? No one. Not one single other actress out there would have been able to pull off what Julie Andrews pulled off in that movie but there is nothing wrong with paying homage to the story. It's a great story of heartbreak, war, country and love. A great story that should be told and retold, no matter who is doing the telling.

I'm really happy NBC took the gamble and decided to do this. I do think it would have flowed a little better without all the commercials. Obviously it's network TV, so that can't happen, but they could have done a 15-20 minute intermission in the the middle of the broadcast like a regular theater performance (I'm sure Walmart wouldn't have minded that). I hope they do more things like this in the future. It's so much better than all the reality TV crap that's out there right now. Introduce kids to stuff that we loved when we were kids! Give them a fresh take on it. I see nothing wrong with that in this instance. 

Anyway, all this rambling boils down to this: I loved it. I loved that it was live, I loved Carrie's singing, I loved seeing Stephen Moyer looking dapper in his suit and playing guitar. I loved his voice and every time he hugged one of the kids it gave me the warm and fuzzies. I loved the girl who played Elsa (Laura Benanti) and thought she was fantastic. I loved the sets and I love that it soared in the ratings and got 18.5 million viewers.

Also, here is a fun fact for any As The World Turns  fans out there (I used to love, love ATWT. Especially the characters Carly and Jack): The boy who played Kurt Von Trapp is Joe West, who is Maura West's son (who played Carly on ATWT). Also, Michael Park, who played Jack on ATWT and was married to Maura West's character, Carly had a small part in the show last night as well. So I thought that was super neat.

I'm all done droning on and on now. Enjoy these two fantastic numbers!