When I was in elementary school I had my first encounter with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. It was an all-school production put on by a tiny, rural school in Ohio. My cousin played the coquettish Liesl, and sang the flirtatious duet “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” with a classmate. Looking back, I’m sure the acting, singing, and set design were hardly up to snuff when compared to the many professional versions of this famous musical, but I was enraptured. Not long after this, the movie version starring Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp showed on network TV and my mom recorded it onto videotape for me. I watched it over and over again, learning every song by heart, and imagining myself as a von Trapp child.
Like many, I found myself with mixed feelings when I heard that this Thursday NBC will be airing a live version of the stage musical starring country superstar Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. On one hand, I always love seeing a production of The Sound of Music. On the other hand, airing an entire musical live on network TV is a gutsy move, and expecting anyone to fill the shoes of the enormously talented, utterly charming, and endlessly adored Julie Andrews is tough. Carrie Underwood is undoubtedly a fabulous singer, but she’s a bit of a wild card when it comes to her acting ability and, well, she’s simply not Julie Andrews.
Of course, all the hype around this new version of The Sound of Music had me wondering about the real von Trapp family and I had to do some research. Rodgers and Hammerstein took quite a few liberties with the von Trapps’ story. For example, the von Trapp children expressed great distress with how their father was portrayed. Rather than a harsh disciplinarian who forbade music in the home, the children all claimed that he was gentle, caring, and a great music lover. To learn more about the family, you might enjoy reading one of Maria von Trapp’s two autobiographies, which, interestingly, are quite contradictory in places. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers was published in 1949 and Maria in 1972.
So, what do you think? Will you be tuning in on December 5? Do you think Carrie Underwood can hold her own in a role so closely associated with the famous Julie Andrews? Will there be a major flub during the live broadcast? Tell us what you think!