Smash, Private Practice, Go On Stars Joining Carrie Underwood in NBC's Live Sound of Music

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Audra-McDonald-Sound-of-MusicNBC’s live version of The Sound of Music — starring Carrie Underwood — is turning into quite the Tony affair.

The network announced today that TV and stage vets Audra McDonald (Private Practice), Laura Benanti (Go On) and Christian Borle (Smash) — Tony Award winners all of ‘em! — have been added to the cast of the musical, which is slated to air Dec. 5.

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Five-time Tony-winner McDonald will portray Mother Abbess, Benanti has been cast as Elsa Schrader and Borle is set to play Max Dettweiler.

Six-time Grammy Award winner Underwood was previously announced as Maria, with True Blood’s Stephen Moyer as Capt. Georg Von Trapp.

According to the network, the three-hour Sound of Music telecast will be based on the original 1959 Broadway production, with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

Excited by this casting news? Will the McDonald-Benanti-Borle trifecta make you more likely to tunr in? Sound off in the comments!



Comments (49)

  • So, given the pedigree of the second-bananas, what do you think the over/under is that Elsa and Max’s songs make the cut?

    Comment by J – September 16, 2013 02:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Both “How Can Love Survive” and “No Way to Stop It” will be included in the telecast.

      Comment by WayneInNYC – September 16, 2013 04:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t to see them,.. Audra is my favorite Broadway Gold of the bunch.

    Comment by Fernanda – September 16, 2013 02:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Those additions will up the Broadway factor. I was already in, but now I’m REALLY excited!!

    Comment by Merissa – September 16, 2013 02:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So excited! They are all amazingly talented.

    Comment by Romi – September 16, 2013 02:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Where’s Jane Krakowski? Make it happen, TV gods!

    Comment by SJ – September 16, 2013 02:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • As who, Sister Bertha?

      Comment by J – September 16, 2013 02:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was really hoping she’d be Elsa.

      Comment by Josh – September 17, 2013 06:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I need to know why this is happening. The Sound of Music is already pure movie musical perfection. I just don’t get it and I am not impressed by the idea of Carrie Underwood as Maria.

    Comment by the girl – September 16, 2013 02:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • NBC is trying out the “live musical event” format that disappeared a long time ago, now that musical entertainment is more popular.

      Personally I’m excited. Lord knows that Sound of Music has been revived thousands of times onstage since the movie, and the presence of a good movie doesn’t mean you never produce again.

      Comment by J – September 16, 2013 02:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • This is based on the Broadway version of it, and not the movie. There are several differences. So, it’s a live staging of the musical version. Similar to seeing a live Broadway show.

      Comment by Ever – September 16, 2013 04:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Carrie Underwood as Maria is underwhelming to me too. But she does have a nice voice. Not sure how she can act though. And I realize that NBC needs to cast someone well-known in that role to draw ratings. I want this live staging to succeed so that hopefully this would be the renewal of live staged shows. Carrie Underwood is a superstar, so I’m pretty sure she’ll bring in a lot of curious viewers…so, in that aspect, I think she is a great choice for Maria.

      Comment by Ann – September 17, 2013 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Carrie Underwood? Great Country star- but she doesn’t have the right voice for this. Heard her version of The Hills Are Alive. No Phrasing, the tag at the end was inappropriate, her vowels stank, etc. I am so sick of Hollywood making movies of Broadway shows and hiring a name to play a part instead of a voice. Let me think- Russle Crow and Javert? Didn’t work!! And then there was the Phantom!

        Comment by Meg Arredondo – September 22, 2013 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Are they doing a modern version of the affair? Because Audra is awesome, but I don’t imagine they had many black women in 1930s’ Austria. Seems historically innacurate.

    Comment by Barbie – September 16, 2013 02:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seriously, does it really matter? You must have also been one of the critics that called The Little Mermaid production unrealistic because mermaids don’t exist.

      Comment by Meg – September 16, 2013 02:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Not really, but when you’re doing a piece so historically charged, you should watch that

        Comment by Barbie – September 16, 2013 02:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • The convent is the *one* place where they can cast a person of color in the show. It’s not like they’re casting Elsa, Max or any of the children with a person of color.

          Comment by WayneInNYC – September 16, 2013 04:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • ^ Exactly This! Casting Audra makes sense because few, well really none right now, have her Broadway pedigree. It legitimizes the production in “certain” eyes. Also, few have the ability to do both stage and television work well, which they will need (hence all the new casting choices of broadway winners who have also had some amount of a tv career). But where do you put her? The head nun is really the only place that makes any sense at all. Plus her high soprano is going to sound GLORIOUS in the role!

            Comment by twilight123 – September 16, 2013 09:18 PM PDT  
    • They call it non-traditional casting. It’s far more prevalent in live performances like this than in anything filmed. Look at Norm Lewis in Les Misérables as another example.

      Comment by J – September 16, 2013 02:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Some of the highest calibre theatre companies have been casting actors of colour in traditionally white roles for a while now. Shakespeare is the most notable. The Stratford Festival in Canada has seen actors of colour play major leading roles. Its really a rather irrelevant point I think.
      .
      And its not “historically accurate” for people to randomly break into incredibly-catchy-well-written lyrical song either. So……

      Comment by liz – September 16, 2013 04:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Just be glad we’re getting a high quality performance of one of the greatest musical theatre songs. And please stop making plastic dolls everywhere look ignorant.

      Comment by Josh – September 17, 2013 06:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The rest of the cast seem wonderful, but I have zero desire to see Carrie Underwood as Maria.

    Comment by Alia – September 16, 2013 02:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have never seen “The Sound of Music” (I am Austrian which basically means that you never watch “TSoM” : P ) but with Audra in it I am actually considering giving in and watching this version. ^^

    Comment by S. from A. – September 16, 2013 02:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is great casting news but surely the addition of such talent in the supporting roles will just serve to highlight how wrong the casting of Carrie Underwood as Maria is? I understand the need to have a name in the lead that has appeal beyond the traditional musical theater crowd, but it damages NBC’s credibility when they’re clearly a bad fit. Guess we’ll just wait and see if they can soften her country style a bit.
    .
    I’m curious who they’re gonna have play Liesel – hopefully someone from Broadway who can use this as a showcase for their talent. And what about the rest of this kids? Fingers crossed for some real talent there and not just model kids who can barely hold a tune.
    .
    There was a brilliant production of Sound of Music in London this year so, for me, they have a (impossibly?) high bar to live up to.

    Comment by Alison Dodd – September 16, 2013 02:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The casting of Carrie Underwood was right in a way because she can actually sing. As long as her singing is good, people may forget all about the acting..

      Comment by steven – September 16, 2013 03:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • For those of you who think Carrie is just a country singer, or think that she cannot act, are dumb and ignorant, and anyone who as actually heard her sing will know that she can sing just about ANYTHING!!

        Comment by Matt – September 16, 2013 03:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How about Arianna Grande for Liesel? She can pull off a little younger has a beautiful voice and has done Broadway (13).

      Comment by CBB – September 16, 2013 08:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • When are they casting Liesel and the nuns? Since they are using all these superstars why don’t they use an unknown looking for her big break that is trained in musical theatre. What a wonderful chance for a musical theatre graduate to land the role of Liesel. And introducing…

        Comment by Pam Durst – September 25, 2013 12:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m sooooooooooo excited now!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Carl – September 16, 2013 02:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don´t even know who Carrie Underwood is? I will google her later. But I love the rest of them and I´m really excited about the whole idea.

    Comment by Viv – September 16, 2013 03:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I understand that there are some people who will not know who certain singers are, but seriously?, she is one of the most well-known people in the world!! Someone would have to be a complete idiot to not know who she is!

      Comment by Matt – September 16, 2013 03:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Idiot is g

        Comment by Thea – September 16, 2013 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Idiot is going a bit far. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in the USA listens to Country or watches American Idol. Also, not every commenter on TVLine is American.

        Comment by Thea – September 16, 2013 09:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • What is it with you? Carrie Underwood is virtually unknown in Europe. So there. I guess that makes an entire continent idiots.
        And insulting everyone who’d rather see an established performer of musical theater portray Maria won’t convince anyone that Underwood is the right choice. So maybe you could stop calling people dumb, ignorant and idiots. It just serves to reveal that you are being ignorant here.

        Comment by Lea – September 17, 2013 12:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m a little bit more excited about it, now that this casting has been added. But even Audra McDonald singing Climb Every Mountain won’t get me to like the song.

    Comment by iammusic – September 16, 2013 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I guess Audra will also sing My Favorite Things with Carrie as that how the song was used in the play. Will I have Confidence and Something Good be missing since they were written for the movie? I believe later stage versions of the musical included them. Sill at 3 hours less commercials something has to be cut.

      Comment by Gail – September 16, 2013 05:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Good question about I Have Confidence and Something Good. Are they doing a live production of the film script? Or of the Broadway set up?

        Comment by iammusic – September 16, 2013 07:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Oh, really? Shame, I like both of those!

        Comment by Alice – September 17, 2013 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it’s sad that wonderful stage singers like Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald are playing second fiddle to Carrie Underwood who has zero musical theater backgroun.

    Comment by Davey – September 16, 2013 06:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t think those actors mind. They are professionals. Besides, they understand that Carrie Underwood is a superstar and was cast for ratings…and I’m pretty sure they’re excited about the prospect that a major network is willing to take the risk of bringing live musical theater to television. Besides, Carrie Underwood isn’t that bad of a choice. She’s young and different…exactly who Maria needs to be…young and different.

      Comment by Ann – September 17, 2013 07:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Audra McDonald. It’s all you had to say. This just became appointment television for me.

    Comment by twilight123 – September 16, 2013 09:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Its interesting they are doing the Sound of Music. I am sure it was chosen because it is so well known. However the fact that this will not be the movie will leave many people only familiar with the movie disappointed at the changes that will be made. They could probably do a terrific TV version of a musical like Wonderful Town, which was never made into a movie, and no one would watch it.

    Comment by Gail – September 16, 2013 10:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I grew up watching the movie, but I have yet to have a chance to see The Sound of Music on the stage. I am really excited about this, and am interested in seeing the differences! I only hope they keep I Have Confidence…one of my faves!

      Comment by Aprilcot – September 17, 2013 08:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Talk about being overshadowed by your supporting players. What a great cast. Audra McDonald is just amazing. Carrie should quit right now and let them hire someone better for the role.

    Comment by Leo – September 17, 2013 04:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Casting Underwood reminds me of Smash season 1 when they cast Uma Thurman as Marilyn. Speaking of Smash, C.Borle was great casting.

    Comment by RichieS – September 17, 2013 07:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nice to see Christian Borle but I wish they would add Katherine McPhee – I love her voice!

    Comment by Jody – September 17, 2013 07:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And since we’re talking about great voices, let’s not forget Megan Hilty!

    Comment by K2 – September 17, 2013 08:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m not sure that you can go wrong here… except for maybe Underwood.

    Comment by Temperance – September 17, 2013 09:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Carrie sings too much with her throat. They needed to cast someone with musical theater experience/training with a voice that’s more pure like Julie Andrews was. Whoever is playing the leading man doesn’t quite look old enough for the original character either.

    Comment by big city me – November 27, 2013 06:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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