Was Sound of Music Live! Music to Your Ears?

the sound of music live nbc reviewFrom the moment that NBC announced its plans for The Sound of Music Live! fans of the Julie Andrews classic have been kicking its Alps (even though this production is based on the 1959 stage musical, not the 1965 movie). “How do you solve a problem like Carrie Underwood as Maria?” would-be critics asked as if there were no acceptable answer.

RELATED | Stephen Moyer Talks ‘Scary’ Sound of Music Live Gig, Marvels at Carrie Underwood’s ‘Fabulous’ Hair

Now that the three-hour extravaganza has aired, however, you can say with the certitude of someone who’s actually watched the show whether all the pre-snark was much a doe, a dear, about nothing or whether producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron would have been edelweiss to leave it alone.

Weigh in in our poll below, then use the comments to let us know if TSOML! has already become one of your favorite things.

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327 Comments
  1. Carol O. says:

    What a treat to watch 3 hours of prime time entertainment in which no one was stabbed, robbed, or raped. Kuddos to NBC for bringing live theater to television. Bravo to the whole cast for a job well done. The sets, the costumes, the lighting, and the singing were amazing. After all the negativity Carrie Underwood endured, I think her performance was more than courageous. Audra’s McDonald’s performance, acting and singing, was fantastic. I agree…we need more of this on television.

  2. Nancy says:

    I agree with most of the comments here. Not well acte, no chemistry. Did not really care for the casting of the children. But really what was that fakey “white noise” going on during the non singing scenes? Was it really live or memorex….

  3. I am 50 and never saw the movie or stage production. I watched all three hours and was very pleased with the musical. I can not see how anyone could compare this to a movie that can have as many retakes as possible to get it perfect. As a novice in acting she has a lot to learn but it was a very enjoyable 3 hours!

    • N says:

      How have you never seen the Sound of Music??? :( Seriously, go watch the original!! This one is ok, but the original is… well… the original :)

    • Oh come on Julie Andrews played broadway Camelot and My Fair Lady for 100’s performances, all live, no “retakes”. This is what separates the men from the boys in live performing. This played like a high school musical!

  4. Shan says:

    Loved it! Congrats to everyone involved and to NBC for producing such a phenomenal show. I’d love to see more live shows. And in the meantime, I’ll watch this again and again. I thoroughly enjoyed!

  5. Michel Filion says:

    The level of noise during the non-singing segments was so distracting. Were there not sound engineers on that project?

    • Cherokee says:

      It was a “live” production Michel, did you expect a Bose re-mix with instant surround sound editing? It’s called theatre dude. Get a clue.

      • Kent says:

        A “”live”” production with no audience dude. There was absolutely no reason for the poor sound. By the way; SNL does it every week flawlessly (and with an audience to boot).

  6. Carrie Underwood says:

    I SUCKED BIG TIME

  7. Lux says:

    This is the first time I felt sorry for Walmart in sponsoring this show. The real Broadway actors and singers were great. Audra McDonald carried the singing. I guess Carrie Underwood has some star power byt it eluded me

  8. Lux says:

    Yes the Nazis did all the stabbing robbing and raping after they took over Austria

  9. Bethany says:

    I am all for the concept of live musicals – or any musicals – on TV, but I’m not sure about the execution here. I love watching stage productions, such as the DVD releases of RENT and Jekyll and Hyde (look them up!). It’s the cast that truly makes those come alive, despite the small sets and other limitations of the stage. The problem with Sound of Music Live was that Carrie and Stephen didn’t captivate me enough to make up for the enclosed feel of stage shooting. A stellar performer can sing an aria on an empty stage and still capture the setting and emotion of a scene; tonight we had the added benefit of a multi-million dollar production, but the two leads never lit up the stage. That was a pity, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.

  10. Sk says:

    It was horrible. Carrie’s singing, of course was fantastic, but her acting was pitiful. Stiff and unnatural. Moyer wasn’t much better. Agree with others, Audra was the star of the show, but I think this was a big flop. I want my 3 hours back.

  11. N says:

    Here’s the thing – Carrie Underwood isn’t made for Broadway… She’s got a great voice, but is lacking in the rest. A Broadway trained singer wouldn’t need to take a breath every 3 words. NBC DID NOT need a big name. It’s the Sound of Music. People would have tuned in because of that alone. If there would have been more balance in the cast, it would have been much more successful. As it is, it’s kinda “Meh”……..

  12. Steve Doolittle says:

    Folks, many of you seem to miss the biggest point. We were treated to a Broadway play and did not have to pay $250 a seat. I don’t know or follow Carrie U but she entertained us as did the rest. I had a great evening at the theatre. Looking forward to the possibility of more plays and less “reality” shows that aren’t. Big hugs to cast and crew of TSOM.

  13. Scott says:

    I think Carrie did fine, she’s still really young and can only grow as an actress. Clearly Carrie is a great singer and she was amazing vocally. I remember the critics complained about Reba McEntire when she did “Annie Get Your Gun” before they even saw her and than praised her after they saw how good she was. They have been trying to get Reba back ever since. I think Carrie will only get better as she gets older and I will support her if she decides she wants to do stuff like this in the future.

  14. CptTempest says:

    Bravo to all. Everything worked. Carrie sang the role superbly, and though we could nitpick her acting, she told the story, and her moments with Audra singing “Climb Every Mountain”–as she reflected in her face and her tears what all of us were feeling at home, far exceeded that moment in the film, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the country, including the Carrie-critics. The Broadway version of The Sound of Music, which this production was, is far different than the screenplay, and very difficult, as book musicals are, to convincingly hit acting home runs in the short dialogue scenes between songs. Why I praise this production is that iit was about the music. I would have clicked the off button had they cast a “name” who couldn’t sing. I was pleasantly shocked at how superb Carrie’s Broadway chops are. Singing R and H is a long cry from country. I loved Carrie’s relationship with the kids. I certainly believed they wanted her back! I also loved Stephen Moyer’s work throughout. Again, the book version is so much more difficult to pull off in this role, then the screenplay where Christopher Plummer personally rewrote most of it because he so deplored the role’s dialogue in the Broadway version. I particularly loved the Captain “softening” moment when he hears his children singing for the first time since his wife died. In fact, all the important moments were home runs in the production–I include the first duet between Carrie and Audra :when has “My Favorite Things” been better?! We may never see that scene done as well again. Huge congratulations to NBC and the creative team for a terrific cast, wonderful production values (the sound mixing problems i forgive as so much of the mix was just stunning as it played on
    my 5.1 set up at high volume!) I hope it was a massive ratings success, and please keep them coming if they can be this superb. Remember, with one of the great scores–music and singing is the thing–and you have my standing ovation on both tonight.

    • mark3000 says:

      Thank you CptTempest…your review was spot on. I have seen a great deal of live Bway musical theatre in my life and usually within the first few rows. It is rare when there are “moments” in a live performance (or in a movie for that matter) when the actor/actress is so engaged in the role that the sensitivity and vulnerability shines through. That happened tonight on more than one occasion in a way that surprised me; I genuinely believed the sincerity of the performances which actually caused me to look at the show with a fresh perspective. For example, I thought that the “Climb Every Mountain” scene brought a depth to the Mother Superior as a woman who was begging Maria not to turn her back on a dream without truly exploring the possibilities; that maybe she had some regrets in her own life and was helping her to not make the same mistake. The same goes for the Captain who I initially thought was too stiff but then grew to see him as someone who had been a sensitive guy who was so broken and hopeless after losing his wife that he had taken on this new “role” as captain/father that was just himself being an actor hiding from having to deal with his loss. I will admit that I didn’t go into watching this with great expectations but felt that we were all fortunate to have witnessed many talented people laying it all out there for us tonight with the pressure that comes from tens of millions of people who are rooting for failure. This was not an Olympic event that is practiced for four years and over in 4 minutes; it was an Olympic sized performance that was sustained for three hours and all of us open minded viewers are better off for having had a chance to be entertained tonight by a truly giving cast. Well done.

      • Penny says:

        Well said! Thank you!!! This was a BEAUTIFUL performance. I’m SO PROUD of each and every performer!!! Carrie, you were AMAZING!!! Hold your head up high. Dismiss the negativity … the darkness dismisses the light … the negative comments aren’t about you but rather a reflection of their brokenness. Bless their hearts. My daughters and I LOVED the performance. I’m grateful the opportunity was presented to spend some quality time together as a family. I couldn’t stop singing all day long. Consequently, we watched the movie tonight. Thanks again for your courage. We love you in TEXAS : )

    • HTGR says:

      yeah a lot of good points

  15. Walmart über alles says:

    So much white

  16. Zachary Levi should have been the Captain, but alas, he’s still on Broadway in First Date.

  17. Lucy says:

    Audra McDonald, Christian Borle and Laura Bernanti were great and the best parts of the show. Some of the kids were good, too. Carrie Underwood can sing, but is a wooden actress. Stephen Moyer was okay, but nothing special. NBC wants this to be an annual holiday special, but I don’t ever need to see it again. Not worth another 3 hours of my time.

  18. Jonsey says:

    I believe the producers of this show, at the very least, insulted every performer who ever graced the B’way stage. I hope that says it all.

  19. Shayla says:

    Audra McDonald…fantastic! that is all. Theater is a whole different beast and some of the actors just had a rude awakening.

  20. kristi says:

    As I began watching, all I could think was, “If they can do this, THEY CAN DO WICKED!!! I WANT THEM TO DO WICKED AND BRING IT TO TV!!!!”

  21. Heather says:

    Carrie can sing and I’m a fan of her music, but a Broadway actress she is not. There were many Broadway actresses who can both sing and act they could have chosen. When Audra was on stage she totally over shadowed and stole the limelight and Carrie had no chemistry with the Captain. I wanted to like it…but it just didn’t do it for me

  22. I kept waiting for a credit to pop up that this was spoof produced by Mel Brooks and what’s with Maria arriving at the Von Trapp house for the first time wearing a cocktail dress and high heels??? She just left a convent in 1930’s Austria,,,NOT FOREVER 21 circa 2013

    Carrie was limp rag in every line reading she had!

    TEAM BARONESS SCHRADER!!

  23. MSDowns says:

    Not that my two cents mean much, but here goes. While it may have been a little flawed I thought it was great to bring The Sound of Music to a younger audience. Not in a million years would our kids sit through the movie, but because of CU they watched and enjoyed it. Bringing a true classic back IMO is awesome. It was nowhere near as horrible as some of you would have us believe.

  24. Jj says:

    Carrie was beyond awful. I cringed as she belted those notes.
    The kids, however, were awesome! The nuns were wonderful!!!
    Even SM was good as the Captain.
    Carrie tanked this one, just as I predicted.
    If she was the only option for Maria, they never should have done it.
    Too bad for the rest of the cast.

    • Mary says:

      In your opinion. Stephen wasn’t much better than Carrie and he was the professional. I will agree Carrie acting needs improvement but the music was great.

      • Jj says:

        It’s not that Carrie is awful. She is a good COUNTRY singer. She just doesn’t have the voice for Maria. It was way out of her range.

        Also SM was more natural than she was on stage, and that is saying something. At least he didn’t speak in monotone.

        My opinion seems severe, but that is because I am a singer, and I can sing the role of Maria, so perhaps my expectations are higher than most.

        The rest of the cast was great.

  25. potus says:

    I’m a huge fan of the movie, but I took it for granted. This morning, I was talking with someone about the role of Maria and I remember saying that Carrie would probably be OK because it’s not like the role was particularly challenging. Tonight I know what a stupid dumbass thing that was to have said. Tonight made me appreciate what absolute perfection Julie Andrews was in the role, and how she apparently made it seem effortless, both in the singing and in bringing actual life to Maria. So Julie, God love you, you were brilliant and I never knew just how much until tonight!

    That said, props to NBC for giving this a try, the actual production was good (although there were some intermittent sound issues). And while Carrie has a long way to go in terms of acting, I do have to give her props as well for having the guts to do this thing live. That took great courage and I can admire that.

    • Tess Herself says:

      Big diff between the multi takes and lip syncing of a movie and the one try live singing of this show. Julie Andrews had months of rehearsals and months of filming to get her role down pat and she sang in a studio without distraction….and I can’t remember her being overly awesome in Cinderella when it was live on TV.

      • YeahSure says:

        It’s not the singing, it’s the acting. It’s true that Underwood can’t hold a candle to Andrews at her prime, Carrie’s vocals were perfectly fine and lovely. But it was her acting that was subpar, despite months of rehearsals. With only a few exceptions, she was completely unnatural in any dialog scene.

        And that’s just something that comes with experience. By the time Andrews did sound of music she had many many years of musical threater, broadway, and live TV behind her. She was well prepared to take on such a roll. Underwood was not. Concerts are a completely different thing than musical theater. I like Carrie, but theater just isn’t about the ability to belt out a song.

  26. Who knew Austrian women had Southern drawls? Couldn’t they get that poor girl a dialog coach to work with her on her line readings???

  27. lame says:

    There is no way in hell anyone should have expected this production to exceed Julie Andrews’ rendition. It was better than ok, and a nice effort. Gotta give Carrie props to have the guts to follow Ms. Andrews, who owns that show. For all those bashing the production, you watched it didn’t you? Now lets’ see what the numbers were.

    • Jj says:

      No I didn’t watch all of it. It was too painful to listen to Carrie butcher the role. I watched just enough to hear everyone else sing, and then I changed the channel!

  28. RolfwasHot says:

    This was so bad I found myself rooting for the Nazis.

  29. Kent says:

    Between Captain Von Vamp and Carrie Underwhelmed I was rooting for the Nazis.

  30. vi says:

    I love the music in the show! The singing was amazing! I just wish Carrie’s acting was better because it hurt the flow of the show. Love her to death still though!

  31. Razzy says:

    Audra was AMAZING! Enjoyed it over all but Carrie was just…no bueno. Which shouldn’t surprise me, even when she sings she doesn’t emote.

  32. hcwhy says:

    I thought it was enjoyable enough, but I was disappointed with the ending…from the time Von Trapp gets his orders on….there wasn’t enough time or emphisis put on the interaction between the family and the Nazis and the escape. The breakup betweeen Von Trapp and the baroness was different and didn’t work for me….same for the boyfriend (who was much to old looking) giving the family a pass unlike the movie where he exposed them after thinking about it for a while. The most outstanding thing for me was the staging….the front room and staircase was magnificent…in the movie lt looked more like a prison.

  33. Janet says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I thought the production of the play was marvelous. Audra McDonald’s performance of “Climb Every Mountain” brought me to tears. I object to all the harsh criticisms of Carrie Underwood. Her singing was flawless. Come now, we all knew coming into this that she was a singer, not an actor per se. Lay off the poor girl. She did an amazing job considering everything. The production was marvelous, especially considering it was live TV! I am grateful to NBC for giving America this lovely treat!

  34. Richard Scire says:

    I thought it was awesome! People are so harsh. This was live and their opening night! Too bad they won’t have more performances so they can really shine. Stephen Moyer made a great Capt. I thought Carrie Underwood got better and better as the show went on. She had the natural innocence of Maria. The Reverend Mother stole the show and deserves an Emmy. The sets were amazing and the camera angles were stellar! All the angles and directions captured in one take were brilliant!

  35. Libby says:

    I watched, for as long as I could stand it. Nothing against Carrie or Stephen, but just the complete lack of chemistry. Carrie’s singing was fine, her acting, not so much. I thought most of the children were a bit wooden.
    Basically I think NBC wasted a ton of money.

  36. John says:

    The show was excellent. The negative reviews are a sad commentary on American society where nay saying is a sport played by so many sad, wish they had a life “wanna be’s”

  37. Ellenz says:

    I love ur comments pros and cons
    I’m deaf and watch it anyway becuz of my curiously of Stephen Moyer and Carrie if they can act it not
    Stephen still looks like vampire even though He has captin uniform on as for Carrie I agree she looked like barmaid in Oktoberfest

    I wouldn’t blame them I would blame the director
    The production team and costume designers and stage production
    They shuld done it better and done it in 3-d
    Not 2-d

  38. Bobby Newman says:

    I think this show was pulled off outstanding, because of being done on television. Yes some of the actors were better then others, but that is found in any production. Very rare do you see everyone being great. The bottom line it was entertaining. I thought the music was outstanding, and yes some actors might of been stronger then others, but as a whole they should be proud of the production.

  39. I “listened” to the first 30 minutes while I was getting ready for work. what I heard was HORRIBLE! I equated it to a bad high school production. the julie andrews original was magical. this remake should have been magical. I had high expectations and was immediately disappointed.

    • Mary says:

      I wish people would remember when comparing that Julie Andrews was a movie not a stage production. Yes she was fantastic and personally I liked the movie better, flow nicer and had more details. This was a live stage production, which is not like the movie. You cannot compare the two in my opinion and if you thought it would be like the movie I am sure you were disappointed.

  40. Kathy Habstritt says:

    I really enjoyed the “Live for TV play. Do not compare this to the Julie Andrews movie! It is based on the original Broadway play starring Mary Martin! No matter how familiar you are with the movie, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, I agree Carrie was a bit stiff at times, but let’s give her creds for not only stepping out of her comfort zone musically but for even attempting a live for TV play—-seasoned actors may not want to try this! I was far more disappointed with Stephen Moyer’s performance. He has great acting creds, yet he did nothing to enhance his live interactions with Carrie. He is the professional actor after all. I thought Carrie was actually pretty amazing for carrying far more of the acting load than her co-lead counterpart! Stephen Moyer was charming with the children, where was his professionalism with Carrie! The children were absolutely STELLAR! Carrie, you were very brave to tackle this and your vocals in a new genre were STELLAR!

    • Nell on Wheels says:

      Seasoned actors do this every day, not only on Broadway, but all over the country and the world. Not just once–8 live shows a week, twice on matinee days. Ask Laura Benanti, Christian Borle and especially Audra McDonald. Carrie Underwood has a decent voice, but she should stick to concerts until she spends some serious time with a good acting coach. I’ve seen better acting high school Marias.

  41. Harriet Withstandley says:

    everyone– this was a production of the show, not the movie–hence, songs that weren’t in the movie, and some that were written for the movie not in the show (although there was a brief segment of the song between Maria and the Captain when they realize they are in love that was not in the show). I give Carrie Underwood high marks for courage, and i was very impressed with her vocal range. The contrast between Broadway veterans–McDonald, Benanti, the actor who played Max, and everyone else was noticeable. I liked Stephen Moyer as the Captain, although there was no chemistry with Maria. And, Ms. Underwood’s acting was the biggest negative–overall, let’s see more Broadway musicals on TV. if it takes a name like Carrie Underwood to get them made, so be it. Amanda Seyfried would have been great. Sutton Foster, Kristin Chenoweth are too old for Maria, and I think that Kelli O’Hara is preparing a new Broadway show.

  42. Carolyn says:

    I enjoyed the show very much. Carrie has a beautiful voice, and while she was never on Broadway and is not an actress, she held her own. Audra McDonald was a stroke of genius as the Mother Superior. Although a bit older but still looking great, I would have loved to see Reba McEntire in the role of Maria. She was on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun and she probably would have nailed the acting part. But, I still enjoyed the live version!

  43. Marissa says:

    When I first heard about this a year ago, the first name that popped into my head for Maria was Laura Benanti. Honestly, this was only after seeing her performances on Eli Stone. I did some reading up on her and learned about her Broadway career, but my only personal experience watching her perform was as a minor character in a very short-lived tv show. That’s how memorable she is. She is phenomenal, and I was internally freaking out every time she did anything.

    As for Carrie Underwood, as I mentioned above, she obviously was not my first choice for the role of Maria. But you know what? Beggars can’t be choosers. Anyone who expects a major network to put on an ambitious production like this one with exclusively musical theater veterans is crazy. Talented as they are, very few of them have the name recognition necessary to lessen the risk. Musical theater fans would have tuned in for someone like LB, but who else would have? Carrie gave them the opportunity to advertise to a broader base than the Broadway crowd could have.

    Having said that, of course her acting was underwhelming. But she still did a great job, overall. Her singing was superb, and that was something I was very concerned with going into this. She deserves more praise than she is being given by the armchair tv critics.

    (Sidenote: Audra McDonald should always be singing. All of the time. That voice could slay dragons.)

  44. I guess I am just too picky. I wasn’t that crazy about the original which Julie Andrews carried on her own. Other than the music by R&H, the story was stilted, contrived and saccharine. The REAL Von Trapp family was not that pretty, talented or goody-goody in and their musical talent was restricted to eastern European folk music. Their “heroic” escape from the Nazis was not that arduous. I don’t mean to be a curmudgeon, but I wish that R&H had used their considerable talents on more worthy subject material. There was good talent and so-so talent in the production last night, but the story remained the same and it felt sort of stiff to me.

  45. Kim R says:

    I loved the “live on stage” feel of it all and the singing was beautiful. It is hard not to hear Ms. Andrew’s voice in your head but I think Carrie did a really good job…..singing. The only major negative I would say was to do with Carrie’s acting abilities. It was not good. She is not an actress so that made it less then stellar. The rest of the cast I really enjoyed. The kids were great! Audra made me cry. :)

  46. Pixie says:

    Loved it! I haven’t seen a musical since High School. It may not have been filled with the lights of Broadway, but I watched it from beginning to end. I was even teary several times and loved the sets and singing. Perhaps that is what NBC was after having popular artists/actors in the main roles. Viewing a live Musical is a unique experience for most of us out here in the big world and I’ll be watching for more opportunities.

  47. Jason says:

    For those arguing about previous “live” TV productions, you’re forgetting ON GOLDEN POND.

  48. Gale says:

    Carrie can convey emotion when she sings, but not when she speaks. Her performance reminded me of someone in a high school musical.

  49. Amanda says:

    If they had to make a new version instead of airing the Julie Andrews movie they should have cast a few big named stars in secondary roles but left Maria to someone with a background in musical theater.

  50. barbara says:

    i no julie andrews the real deal sound of music but i thought carrie did great. she really belted out those songs with that beautiful voice. at first i didn’t no that was stephen moyer i didn’t no he could sing. i thought the kids were good too and the scenery beautiful. good job!!!!!!

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