Be aware (as we are): this show is not a remake of the classic movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. This is a live television event starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer, and we’re excited about what they have in store.
But let’s be realistic. We’re going to compare this to the movie, aren’t we? We can’t help it. The movie is burned in our collective consciousness. But we promise to be open-minded. We already like the pictures with Carrie’s braids.
So, get your apple strudel and schnitzel with noodles (or popcorn,) set your DVR so you can watch it again later, and settle in for the three-hour production!
8:00 p.m. – Here we go! I can’t imagine how nervous everyone is. I’m nervous for them. From the moment the scene opens, Audra McDonald is giving us the GOOSEBUMPS.
8:04 p.m. – OK, goosebumps over, but silly grin. Carrie Underwood is adorable. And she’s singing “The Hills Are Alive” with a quiet joy that is making me happy.
8:05 p.m. – Carrie DON’T FALL DOWN. We saw that tiny bump. Set designers! Get rid of that rock!
8:10 p.m. – “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” feels like we’re sitting in the front row on Broadway. This is awesome so far.
8:15 p.m. – Carrie’s Maria is from the… southern side… of Austria.
8:20 p.m. – I can’t say I’m comparing the Marias at this point. This Maria is younger and more timid. The only point I’d say is that where Julie Andrews is a singer/actress who is incredibly strong on both points, Carrie Underwood obviously shines when she’s singing. And she’s a force of nature at that point, commanding attention. I think Carrie’s nerves on the acting side are making her an endearing Maria.
8:28 p.m. – Our first glimpse of Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp confirms what we figured: hot. Like way too hot for adorable little Maria. Oh boy. But the kids. The kids are adorable. And Stephen Moyer is very good with that whistle.
8:42 p.m. – “Do-Re-Mi” definitely felt like the stage show, and it was fun! The kids are great. Carrie is working hard here, and had some serious breath control going on. Interesting she attempted the classic high note at the end. Julie still wins that high Bb though.
8:50 p.m. – Ariane Rinehart as Lisle is a nice mix of teenage angst and grownup woman. She and Rolf have a nice dance number in the woods (and first kiss roll on the ground, awww.) And you could lose a nickle in that man-boy-Nazi’s chin. And Michael Campayno is definitely not a teenager.
8:57 p.m. – Carrie Underwood was made to yodel “The Lonely Goatherd.” And that was heartwarming. The arrangement with the kids was great. Everyone, jump on the bed. But man, we were all ready for her to teach the kids “My Favorite Things.” It just feels best with the thunderstorm. Yes, yes, stage show not movie STAGE SHOW NOT MOVIE.
One hour down, two more to go.
9:10 p.m. – They need to tone the makeup down on Stephen’s Captain. And he needs to slow it down a bit. But he’s still hot. Laura Benanti’s Elsa and Christian Boyle’s Max are again bringing us back to Broadway. One of the best things about introducing the stage show to a large television audience is so many people are getting introduced to songs that were cut from the movie.
9:15 p.m. – We admit, we’re not gigantic “True Blood” fans, but we’ve seen enough episodes to know Stephen Moyer’s dangerous smoldery vibe. And his anger at Rolf and the kids was, truthfully, a little scary. Carrie even seemed scared of him. But good job on the speech, Maria! You TAKE that Captain down.
9:20 p.m. – Stephen Moyer singing! Swoon.
9:24 p.m. – Confession: first childhood crush was on Christopher Plummer. And we still carry that torch. It burns brightly. And while Stephen Moyer’s Captain is good, so far, he’s no Christopher Plummer. But we’ll see how “Edelweiss” and “Something Good” work out together.
Side note: at 9:25 p.m., both “Julie Andrews” and “Christopher Plummer” are trending on Twitter. A big shout out to both of them. Our growing love for this show in no way diminishes our love for you two.
9:29 p.m. – Smoldery Ländler dancing Captain works. Shy Maria does too.
9:41 p.m. – We’re over halfway through. Maria is back at the convent, and the kids realized that Elsa may (or may NOT) be their stepmom. I’m hearing from many of you that while the songs are great, and the children are top-notch, Carrie’s lacking acting experience is dampening the experience for you. I think we need to give her a break. This is a hard role, and yes, it’s her first foray into acting, but what guts this took. What guts! What she doesn’t have in dramatic experience, she’s making up for in exuberance and amazing pipes. Let’s all just have fun, shall we? And bring on MORE GAZEBO.
9:47 p.m. – Audra, seriously. Maria is crying, and so are we. Your Mother Abbess just kind of made it feel like Christmas a little bit more.
9:56 p.m. – “I’m very happy.” Nuh uh, Cap’n.
9:58 p.m. – What, whaaa makeover Maria? We were liking the braids! Hairpiece, sure, but now you look like match for Elsa! Here we go. And the Captain’s first look at the returned Maria was swoony. The confusion and fluttery love works well on smoldery “Beeehl.” Sorry, one little “True Blood” reference. Had to be done.
10:11 p.m. – Laura Benanti, you just nailed Elsa’s sadness and exit scene. That was raw.
10:14 p.m. – OK, well, Carrie, it just fell apart for me. You needed a little bit more emoting in the love scene with the Captain. You’re still playing this very removed. Stephen is working the chemistry, but you’re looking like you need to remember the lines instead of feeling it. Sigh.
45 minutes to go, and we still have to climb the Alps! Bring on the wedding!
10:30 p.m. – And fun romance and wedding stuff is over. It’s time to bring in the Nazis. And Georg’s reluctance to join them is done well by Stephen. And “Indiana Jones” has pretty much ruined all fictional Nazis for us.
10:35 p.m. – I think the Nazis flubbed their lines. Way to go, NAZIS.
10:45 p.m. – Stephen Moyer’s “Edelweiss” was a meh for me until he looked over at the flag, and the kids chimed in. And big finish! But Christopher Plummer still holds the world record for this song.
10:50 p.m. – Run from the escorting Nazis, Von Trapps! Run! And leave Max alone! (Big shout out again to Christian Boyle. You were an excellent Max. Just smarmy enough to be funny without being creepy.
10:58 p.m. – And in the end, the snow falls on Maria and Georg, walking over the Alps.
In the end, what’s the verdict? Carrie Underwood isn’t going to win an Emmy for Best Actress, no. However she did well. She
‘s a singer, and a good one, in what we’ve now discovered, whatever genre she wants to tackle. She could do a show like this again, with some acting classes and probably a better handle on her nerves. She was beautiful and young, and she did a good job for her debut. Who else out in the music scene could have handled this as well as she did? No one comes to mind for me. So. Good job, Carrie!
My favorite part of this adaptation? It felt like a 1950s style live television event. It felt vintage and classic, and brought a new perspective on a story we all know by heart. Will it replace the movie? Of course not. As we’ve all determined by this “event,” that movie is a dearly held part of our culture. Those scenes, with those actors singing the songs in that order, are all happily burned in our brains. And we’ll all die defending it, no matter what.
But this musical must have been incredibly exhausting, especially when performing live on TV to a bunch of critics (who us? Wha?) The supporting cast, especially Audra McDonald (lord!) and Laura Benanti (amazing!) were perfect. The children were as well. It was enjoyable and definitely worthwhile. Good job, all around, for bringing something new (and yet old) to our screens.
Hope you enjoyed it and our live blog!
Seriously, Christopher Plummer, call me.