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Sound of Music Live!

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Maruuk, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Dec 8, 2013 #1 of 21
    Maruuk

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    Ok, she can't act, let's get that out of the way up front. And her broad American accent made her stick out even worse.

    But let's face it, she's appropriately younger and cuter than old lady Julie Andrews was in the film, has a half-decent though unremarkable voice, and the rest of the cast was terrific. Plus it was just so great to see ANYTHING live! I'm hoping this is the start of a return to the 1950's live stage play scenario, musical and otherwise. It got solid numbers, so I'm not the only one who got into it as a refreshing counterpoint to the same old fare.

    Oddly, the audio was messed up. There was almost zero bass (had to crank my sub to the max), there was considerable ambient noise, and quiet musical passages were badly distorted, though normal volume songs were clean. Somebody blew it bigtime for a show where music and audio were king.

    It was weird to have a live musical staged for a live audience sans the audience's energy. Sapped some of the life out of it. Plus it was shot like a movie on a giant sound stage rather than on a standard theater proscenium. Remains to be seen if that was a good idea. I'd definitely opt for a live orchestra AND live audience shot on a real stage with a couple of handheld cameras off stage giving you some of the energy and excitement of the staging at the same time as seeing the production from the audience POV. I've seen a few theatrical shows on PBS shot like that and they were awesome.

    Overall a C+, marked down mainly for the lead's bad high school acting performance and non-standout singing. She got blown out of the water vocally by Audra MacDonald the head nun and the Cap's sparkling and mesmerizing GF Laura Benanti who was kind of channeling Julie Andrews herself--plus she ironically had played Maria before. And the awkward compromises in the production with no live musicians or audience. But it was still worth the trip.
     
  2. Dec 8, 2013 #2 of 21
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    Sony Pictures Television needed to remake this great musical like Custer needed more Indians. The original stage production and motion picture are far superior. There's an old saying, "If it's not broken then don't fix it". The mucky mucks at Sony fixed it!
     
  3. Dec 8, 2013 #3 of 21
    James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Setting expectations is important. People expecting a movie with retakes, major location changes, outdoor scenes and CGI are setting themselves up for disappointment.

    One of my favorite old movies is "The Music Man" ... and one of the things I like about it is that it was filmed as if it were a stage production. A huge stage to be sure, but there was not a lot of drastic changes that could not have been done on stage by dropping the lights except for a spotlight on some characters and then raising the lights on a new scene.

    I wonder if most of the people disappointed in the show have been to a theatre production of anything since they left high school? It has been a few years since I've seen a professional theatre production live (four if I count correctly, except Blue Man Group). Growing up I've seen The Mousetrap live in a London Theatre and A Christmas Carol live on a London stage. Live theatre is not the same as edited movies and television.

    When one produces something for the professional theatre it is usually there for a long run ... at least a season unless the show bombs. As long as people keep buying enough tickets the show can go on. This NBC production was a "for one night only" production with no previews and no time to get it right after opening, and closing, night.

    Perhaps they could have done CGI and put Carrie Underwood on top of the same grassy hills that Julie Andrews had available. But that isn't possible in the theater (I suppose it could be sung live in front of a 4K TV or movie screen). But it is what it is. Live theatre to television broadcast.

    If they do it again with another musical will people watch? I'm not sure. Some of what made this presentation special was the length of time since someone tried it do it. I would not expect stellar ratings for the "night at the theatre" every Thursday night.

    PS: If NBC wants to film the two musicals featured on Smash I'd watch them.
     
  4. Dec 8, 2013 #4 of 21
    dpeters11

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    Francoise von Trapp thought Anne Hathaway would have been a good choice.
     
  5. Dec 8, 2013 #5 of 21
    Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    One of the cool things you could do during this show was point out that nobody could screw up--EVER. After a very long, 10 minute continuous scene featuring an elaborate song and dance number, kids, props, the whole kaboodle, I pointed out that every single tiny thing went perfectly. Try that in movie-making.

    Now that's not so impressive for the cast of a Broadway show that does that show 8 times a week. It's in your genes. But this was a one-time deal, and the amount of rehearsal for a one-shot like this must have been extensive. Scary stuff. Given that, it was most impressive. Very few even minor fluffs.

    Some critics have charged somewhat correctly that this was a bad show to choose for such an experiment. The inevitable Julie Andrews comparison, the movie/play comparison, etc. Three songs are repeated over and over ad nauseam. It is hardly a contemporary message. And the whole shebang is wildly inaccurate as to historical events, right down to the fact that the real Maria was in fact the cold, domineering martinet while the Captain was actually the warm, human and loving one.

    On the other hand, you have to remember that Broadway hoards its IP loot most carefully and is intensely paranoid that any TV showings will kill any future ticket sales. They figured SOM was fit to be put out to pasture anyways, hence the release of the rights. You won't see "Wicked" on TV.....EVER.

    But since Broadway has gotten so ridiculously conservative with this obsession on trotting out endless evergreen recycles and knackered retreads, perhaps it's up to TV to open up new channels for brand new musicals to break though. That "Smash" reference is a good one--like "Glee" opened up the whole world of group performance songcraft perhaps TV can do the same for fresh, new musicals. Penny-pinching old Scrooge McBroadway sure as hell ain't gonna do it!
     
  6. Dec 8, 2013 #6 of 21
    Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    Anne Hathaway could have been fantastic, good call! Just the right expressive and vulnerable face, and a killer voice. A little too old, but she could make it work.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2013 #7 of 21
    dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    I seem to remember NBC doing this years ago, like in the 80s, with Peter Pan. I think I was still watching Mr Rogers operas with John are arson at that time though.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. Dec 9, 2013 #8 of 21
    phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    I agree Hathaway would have been an excellent choice. Regarding age, Julie Andrews was born in 1935 and the movie Sound of Music was a 1965 release. Ann Hathaway was born in 1982 and this TV production was done in 2013. I don't think a year older would make much difference.

    IMHO this was one of those choices made by bean counters much like when Audrey Hepburn was hired to do the Andrews stage role in the movie version of My Fair Lady.

    Carrie Underwood is signed to the Arista Nashville label which makes big bucks off her. Arista is a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. This TV production was from Sony Pictures Television. You can acquire the soundtrack put out by Sony Masterworks. It was, however, on NBC with Universal Television throwing money at it and Universal is putting out the DVD.
     
  9. Dec 9, 2013 #9 of 21
    Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    Since the real Captain was 58, Julie Andrews would have been too young! But this is a fantasy. The real Cap was never forced to join the Nazis, he had a dispensation based on his age. They openly left by train to Fascist Italy (they had Italian citizenship) to go sing in America. There was nothing hidden, forced or rushed at all.

    But I liked a younger and fresh Maria (20-25), and make the Captain about 35. It is just a fantasy. It's funny how Salzburg has never played SOM (though they just did for the first time). In real life, Austria welcomed the Nazis with open arms, Hitler was cheered and celebrated as a liberator. Within one year, the economic miracle that was Nazi Germany graced Austria: unemployment dropped by 90%.

    So SOM is quite a wild distortion on all levels. But so is Captain Phillips and Abraham Lincoln, etc etc. "Necessary Illusions".

    BTW, I thought the TV Liesel was just as good, if not better than the film version. What a beautiful and talented girl. And you try rolling down a hill with a 200 lb boy on top of you, then get up and dance around and sing some more in perfect sync live on national TV. That takes some serious chops!

    Here's to more Live! everything! And folks actually wonder why sports are so popular!
     
  10. LI-SVT

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    I really enjoyed this program.
     
  11. dmspen

    dmspen Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    One of my issues was the placement of songs. They changed from what we've been used to for 40 years.
     
  12. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    Yes, plus they added two songs from the stage play that weren't in the movie ("Compromise" and one other) and deleted one from the movie version.

    Got a huge audience even given the awful reviews for Carrie's acting. Folks like live! We never get enough of it.
     
  13. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    NBC is wanting this to be a new annual tradition, they are looking at next year. The criteria is that they want something that can be rated G and has familiar songs.

    http://www.deadline.com/2013/12/nbc-emboldened-by-the-sound-of-music-success-launches-annual-franchise/

    My Fair Lady was mentioned in the comments, I'm not sure that's familiar enough to most people.

    I don't know what would qualify for a G rating. The Music Man? Or does Pool still spell trouble? That's probably overdone in the high school musicals though. We need to expose people to new stuff.

    Edit: Looks like ABC did Music Man in 2003 with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth, may be too recent, though 10 years ago.
     
  14. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    The trouble is uber-conservative Broadway seems to be endlessly recycling EVERYTHING from the 40's and 50's! So they have to choose something certain to not get trotted out again soon on the Great White Way. Me, I'd be all over Sondheim's shows but nobody ever came away humming THEM tunes!
     
  15. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    BTW, NBC is re-airing: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. It's bumping "It's a Wonderful Life" for SOM.
     
  16. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    For next year, there is so much incredible Broadway talent (hellooo "Wicked", etc.) that we never get to see on TV, hopefully NBC will ignore its beancounters and go with actual proven stage stars instead of zero-talent recording savants for Show X.
     
  17. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    NBC: No Broadcast Content.
     
  18. Church AV Guy

    Church AV Guy Godfather

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    Well they were doing the play, and not the movie--mostly. The songs WERE accurate to the play, except for one (puzzling). The song, "I've got confidence" was written specifically for the movie, as was "something good" which oddly they included here. They were not on the LP of the original Broadway production that my parents had purchased. The songs, "No Way to Stop it," "How Can Love Survive" and "An Ordinary Couple" were removed from the movie, the first two when they shifted the plot away from Nazi centric to relationship centric. In the play (and in this production) Von Trapp and Elsa break up over her acceptance of the Nazis, and his UNacceptance of them, where in the movie they break up over his affection for Maria. They made the Elsa character much colder in the movie, and much easier to dislike. Neither she, nor the character of Max had songs in the movie, where they did in the play, and in this production. Of course, the guy who played Max on my parents LP record was a HORRIBLE singer. :D I have no idea why they would keep "Something Good" instead of "An Ordinary Couple" which confuses the play version with the movie version, but that's what happened.

    Despite all the Julie Andrews loving, my father really didn't care for her performance at all, preferring Mary Martin's stage performance. I guess none of us saw that for a comparison. :D I certainly did not! :D :D
     
  19. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

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    IIRC, Julie Andrews was selected over the assumed lead Mary Martin for the film because Mary wasn't pretty enough. And they were right, she really wasn't. Martin ended up being remembered for her many Peter Pan performances on TV.

    The real Baroness Maria Von Trapp actually appears in the film as an extra during 'I Have Confidence'. She fell out of a tree and broke her arm while coaching Mary Martin for the film role, which she ultimately lost.

    Imagine how much fun we can have next year when NBC casts Miley Cyrus to play Laurey in "Oklahoma!" She might actually work for Ado Annie, though.
     
  20. Church AV Guy

    Church AV Guy Godfather

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    Very true! There are no close-ups in live theater, so Mary Martin not being Hollywood-pretty wouldn't matter on stage, but as you say, it would be a BIG deal on film.
     

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