The Sound of Music Live! (2013)

sound of music live poster carrie underwood
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 3/10
Visual: 5/10

Still a good romance, story, and music

Poor performances, could have had better sets

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Sound of Music Live!

Studio:  NBC

Genre(s):  Musical/Romance/Drama/Family

Release Date(s):  December 5, 2013

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Pray all you want, Carrie. Your acting isn’t getting better.

Maria Rainer (Carrie Underwood) has lived a sheltered life.  Orphaned, she has decided to become a nun and is a postulate on the way to take her vows…despite her free nature which conflicts with the training.  As a means to let Maria experience the world, the Mother Abbess (Audra McDonald) sends Maria to be a temporary governess for Captain Georg von Trapp (Stephen Moyer) and his children Liesl (Ariane Rinehart), Friedrich (Michael Nigro), Louisa (Ella Watts-Gorman), Kurt (Joe West), Brigitta (Sophia Anne Caruso), Marta (Grace Rundhaug), and Gretl (Peyton Ella).  Bringing music back to the home, Maria finds new feelings stirring inside of her for the stern Captain von Trapp but his fiancé Elsa Schrader (Laura Benanti) and the rising Third Reich in Austria could keep them apart.


So…how you like those Nazis?

Directed by Rob Ashford and Beth McCarthy-Miller, The Sound of Music Live! was a primetime special on NBC on December 5, 2013.  The special adapted the Rodgers and Hammerstein from 1959 Broadway musical which told the fictionalized true story of Maria and Georg von Trapp’s escape from Nazi forces in Vienna, Austria.  The performance was a massive success and rebroadcast on December 14, 2013, but the performances by the actors were highly criticized.

The Sound of Music is a classic film and there aer always tons of touring versions of this classic musical.  With this in mind, it was going to be a tough sell to find a cast that would be able to pull off not only a live singing performance, but also being able to transfer stage acting to television acting…and it failed.


Wow. The sparks are really flying here…

The story is such a loose adaptation of the real events that it really can’t even be considered a historical movie, but here, the special also has the problem of being compared to the far more familiar movie.  The movie altered and changed the original stage play at points and this makes it tough to watch if you are expecting the movie…live.  It still is a decent romance and love story, but the story is hindered by some horrible acting.

Carrie Underwood was immediately criticized for her acting.  While she pulls off the singing, it s obvious that she isn’t quite sure what she’s doing on stage most of the time.  I think that it is a little hard on Underwood because everyone is awful in the special.  The kids can be written off as kid actors, but most of the adult cast are from Broadway.  Stage acting and screen acting are completely different acting style and the over-expression just doesn’t work in this format.  True Blood’s Stephen Moyer as Captain von Trapp also is a push and Moyer doesn’t carry much weight to his performance.


They should have put in some Yakety Sax here

The Sound of Music Live! could have used great sets since it was a closed set performance.  The actors could have gone to new locations in the studio between commercial breaks etc, but the sets are more in tune with a stage performance.  I rather wish that they had been bigger and bolder since the acting was below par.

The Sound of Music Live! is kind of a gimmicky event.  You watch because it could have been a train wreck, but was instead an acting train wreck.  The makers should have committed to either showing a quality, Broadway style musical on television or a star-studded version, but instead viewers were given a sad, uninspired mixture.  With the success of the event, NBC immediately commissioned another live performance with Peter Pan Live! airing on December 4, 2014.

Related Links:

Peter Pan Live! (2014)

The Wiz Live! (2015)

Grease:  Live! (2016)

Hairspray Live! (2016)

The Sound of Music (1965)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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