7:55 PST – A great and gracious good evening to you, Recyclers! By now, The Sound Of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Christian Borle, and (more to the point) Laura Benanti and Audra Freakin’ McDonald is drawing to a close. However, thanks to NBC programming delays, the show is just about to start on the West Coast! This will by my “live” blog as the show unfolds in LA three hours after it was first broadcast in New York. If you’re on the East Coast, you can laugh in remembrance of fonder times a few hours ago. If you’re on the West Coast, you can follow along with baited breath. If you’re somewhere in between, you’d in what’s called a “Flyover State” and nobody on either coast really seems to care all that much about you. Sorry.
FIVE MINUTES UNTIL SHOW TIME!!
(Remember to keep hitting “refresh” as this is not Twitter – though if you’re not following me on Twitter now’s the time to start.)
7:59pm: A word on my limited qualifications to live blog. I love musicals. I love Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. I can remember the first musical I saw; it was a dinner theater version of The King And I. We sat house right. Anyway, I have been defending this live version of the stage version of The Sound Of Music with a pop country star all week to my fellow thespians, and I want to share my joy (or sorrow) as Live-ish Theater-ish makes its triumphant return to Television!
8:00pm: AUDRA MCDONALD, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! She is flawless in all ways, so of course she’s playing a holy woman. It was inevitable. We all worship at the altar of Audra already.
8:02pm: True story, my high school did this show my senior year. I edited a video with the nuns singing in it, so this song drives me NUTS. I have flashbacks. It’s awful.
8:04pm: Oh hey Carrie! I don’t like that she’s looking at the camera. That’s weird. Stop breaking the fourth wall. I refuse to pass judgement on her voice yet though.
8:05pm: SHE ALMOST TRIPPED. DID YOU SEE THAT?
8:07pm: Snarking aside, Carrie has a lovely voice. That was lovely. Nice start!
8:09pm: Side note, my friend Margaret just (correctly) pointed out that the music is a little odd. It’s loud-ish, and it doesn’t have the same sound quality as the voices. This is because the orchestrations are pre-recorded. I do not begrudge them that. The sound mixer must be having a bitch of a time keeping this from sounding as lousy as Les Miserables. Bravo, sound mixer!
8:11pm: Dat Lighting Effect. Totally unnecessary. Made me laugh, though. Every nun should have some God Light From Above at some point.
8:12pm: This is Carrie’s first test as an actress. Most of the anti-Carrie snarking has been that she can’t act. So can she…?
8:13pm: …kinda not so much. Maybe it gets better. I HAVE HOPE, PEOPLE. I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN SPRINGTIME! (That song’s not in this broadcast, but hey look we’re already at “My Favorite Things!”)
8:14pm: One of the reasons I’m really glad we’re doing the play as opposed to the movie is that we’re going to see a lot more Audra and Laura. Let’s hear it for our Tony Award Winning Ladies! YOU HIT THOSE HIGH NOTES, AUDRA!
8:16pm: “I know what you expect, Mother, and I’ll do it I promise!” We expect you to act a little better, Carrie. Just a little better.
8:18pm: I like Carrie Underwood’s version of “My Favorite Things.” She’s doing a great job with this song. Side note: HOW BIG IS THIS ABBEY SET? Bravo, set designers!
8:19pm: First commercial break. Yay Walmart? I’m going to go get (another) beer and check Twitter.
8:23pm: Aaaaaand we’re back! Side note: A Few Of My Favorite Things include the sugar cookies that my roommate is baking while we watch the show. No joke. He’s in the kitchen baking sugar cookies. We are so bloody adorable right now.
8:24pm: Captain Von True Blood looks very smart.
8:26pm: This is where she’d sing “I Have Confidence” if this were the movie. This isn’t the movie, so we’re going to get a lot more Nazis and a lot less dancing through the streets.
8:28pm: Here come the children!! True story: when my high school did The Sound of Music, I taught the Von Trapp children “Wilkomen” from Cabaret but I didn’t teach them what it meant…
8:30pm: Text from my mom: “Can’t anyone under 30 walk in heels?” Well, I can’t. Carrie Underwood walks in heels better than she acts.
8:31pm: The middle Von Trapp girls are like the Flyover States: nobody on the ends really cares who they are, and we keep mixing them up.
8:32pm: “Do Re Mi!” We’re getting some sound issues. Is there a fan constantly going in the Von Trapp mansion?
8:34pm: For those who are wondering why everything sounds so loud, we’re getting some sound mixing problems on the mics. Turn it down, sound mixers! You sing at a different level than you speak!
8:37pm: THIS SET JUST KEEPS GOING! It’s gigantic! I like the fountain in the courtyard. Good shout out to the movie.
8:38pm: Wal Mart definitely sponsors this, which makes me sad. Commercial Break #2! Time for some cookie dough!
8:42pm: Quick shout-out to Beth McCarthy-Miller, the director responsible for giving this live TV broadcast a very “movie” feeling. Say what you will about the sound (please guys, turn down the mics), the camera work is FLAWLESS.
8:43pm: Rolph has a cleft in his chin and looks like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. Seventeen going on Eighteen my ass.
8:44pm: So they’re setting “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” on Maria’s mountain. Since they don’t have many exterior sets, this actually makes a lot of sense. Plus now they can roll down the hill, instead of in the proverbial hay.
8:45pm: “No one cants like this Rolph / wears short pants like this Rolph!” Sorry, he just looks like Gaston in short shorts.
8:48pm: “No one goes on long Nazi-filled rants like this Rolph!”
8:49pm: Sorry, I got distracted. They’re actually very sweet together. This is the scene they performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and it convinced me to watch the show live.
8:50pm: THEY DID NOT JUST ROLL DOWN THE HILL. I WAS JOKING.
8:52pm: Since we’re not paying attention to Carrie Underwood whenever she has to act, I’d like to point out that we are 51 minutes in and we have had 0 minutes of Laura Benanti and I refuse to accept this. BRING ON THE COUNTESS.
8:54pm: GRETL IS ADORABLE.
8:55pm: I’m not exactly sure how we got on the subject, but my roommate is now trying to find out if there’s Sound of Music porn on the internet.
8:56pm: Hey look, the country star can yodel! Who’da thunk it? …actually I really like this song. (“Lonely Goatherd”)
8:57pm: I don’t know if you all are reading the comments, so I’d like to point out my favorite comment so far from my friend Margaret: “Come back here and sit on the edge of my bed and we’ll have a talk.” Fraulein Maria, you’re trying to seduce me… aren’t you??
8:59pm: Commercial Break #3!
9:03pm: Back from cutting cookie dough into shapes and YES IT’S LAURA BENANTI FINALLY
9:04pm: HUSH YOUR LAURA BENANTI SASS SHE IS FLAWLESS NO MATTER WHAT HER ACCENT OR STRANGE PINK-PURPLE COSTUME
9:05pm: Christian Borle is recovering well from Smash.
9:07pm: PLEASE START SINGING LAURA I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
9:08pm: “How Can Love Survive”I love this song. THIS is why I love the Countess. Well, this and her later song. Gotta love the altos, they’re designed for Musical-Appropriate Snark and Sluttiness.
9:09pm: True story: The actual Countess lived in a ski resort in Colorado.
9:11pm: “No one heils like this Rolph/ Hides his smiles like this Rolph”
9:13pm: Aaaaand then Carrie Underwood starts acting again. Damn it. We were doing so well!
9:14pm: Captain Von True Blood does not do well with crying ladies.
9:15pm: Captain Von True Blood started singing! Captain Von True Voice, amirite?
9:17pm: The kids are great! All of them are newcomers, except Liesl who’s supposed to be a newcomer but actually is going to be Eve in the Noah, a movie I am not looking forward to. Maybe I’ll like it better if Eve starts singing “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” to the snake.
9:19pm: This is my favorite scene with the Countess. It’s the passive-aggressive smackdown. DAT DOUBLE TAKE. It’s more of an evil eye roll, or a secretive side-eye. Whatever. I love it.
9:20pm: Commercial Break #4 Hey guys, guess what! I’ve already seen The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It’s fun. There’s a Danny Kaye movie based on the same short story!
9:24pm: We’re back! Awww it’s the party scene! In tasteful pastels.
9:25pm: I love a Richard Rogers Waltz. I watch Rogers & Hammerstein musicals just for the waltzes.
9:26pm: The Lindler is a real thing. And this is the one dance that will remain basically the same no matter what production of The Sound of Music you see. True story.
9:27pm: HOT DAMN LOOK AT LAURA BENANTI, Who chooses the girl in the puffy sleeves and the braid over ALL THAT WOMAN?
9:30pm: I don’t know who’s overacting more, Carrie or Brigitta.
9:32pm: “It was lovely, soft and white.” Captain Von True Blood like his ladies soft and white.
9:32pm: Sorry, playing catch up. We’re at “So Long, Farewell,” which takes forever if your kids aren’t cute enough to pull off a repetitive song. These kids are cute enough.
9:34pm: ATTAWAY!! HIT THAT HIGH NOTE BOYYYY! (Kurt was so saucy when he hit that note. Boy’s been PRACTICING)
9:35pm: THE WALLS. THEY MOVE OF THEIR OWN ACCORD. I love these set designers.
9:37pm: Intermission! Well, it would be. But instead it’s Commercial Break #5(?)
9:42pm: We’re baaaack! OH HEY AUDRA!!
9:43pm: The fan is back. The fan that is ever-present in the Von True Blood home is ROARING in the back of the abbey as well.
9:44pm: Don’t worry. There’s a good song at the end of all of this acting. I promise we’ll get through this scene together. And at the end of it: AUDRA.
9:45pm: “If you love this man it does not mean that you love God… any less.” Nice catch, Abbess.
9:46pm: Full disclosure: I usually hate “Climb Every Mountain.” But it’s Audra. Freaking. McDonald. I would listen to her sing the phone book… Oh crap, I’m already crying and we’re only a verse in.
9:47pm: My reaction is the same as Carrie Underwood’s right now. Guys. This is so beautiful. AND THERE’S THE HIGH NOTE. Ugh. I’m a wreck.
9:48pm: You need a break after that. Commercial Break #6. I’m going to go get a tissue.
9:53pm: And we’re back with Christian Borle. I saw him first in Legally Blonde: The Musical. It’s my guilty pleasure musical.
9:54pm: Holy crap. These kids have incredible pitch.
9:55pm: WHY DO YOU INSIST ON PUTTING LAURA BENANTI IN PINK THINGS? She looks like she’s wearing a Pepto Bismol wrapper. She looks damn good in it though.
9:57pm: Maria’s hair is down. This just got real.
10:00pm: Commercial Break #7. My roommate just handed me a wad of cookie dough. This is a very good night.
10:04pm: I wasn’t going to comment on the commercials but EL POLLO LOCO HAS S’MORES NOW
10:05pm: Are the people who are Nazi sympathizers dressed in pink and red? Is this a political statement?
10:06pm: It’s the return of the scene-stealing background fan…
10:07pm: THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG FROM THE STAGE SHOW.
10:08pm: “And there’s no way to stop it / no there’s no way to stop it / no you can’t even stop it if you try” not unlike Laura Benanti’s raw talent in this scene…
10:09pm: I once read a criticism of the play that said that this song was “the first rock n’ roll song in musical history” because it was self-absorbed and angry. I mean, really? Rogers and Hammerstein did a lot of wonderful things, but they didn’t invent rock n’ roll.
10:10pm: YOU CHEW THAT SCENERY, LAURA BENANTI. YOU CHEW IT GOOD AND PROUD. I’m going to miss you.
10:11pm: Laura Benanti is coming to LA in January and I really want to go, but it’s slightly outside my price range. Same thing happened with Audra McDonald a few months ago. I’m playing Broadway Diva bingo. I’ve already seen Patti LuPone, Barbra Streisand, and Kristin Chenoweth.
10:12pm: SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE GODDAMN FAN WE’RE TRYING TO ACT HERE
10:13pm: Ohhhh heyyyyyy. For a nun, Maria really knows how to kiss…
10:14pm: Okay, so “Something Good” is not supposed to be here. This is a song they wrote for the movie, because the song that’s supposed to be here, “Ordinary People,” is just not that interesting. “Something Good” is ever-so-sweet, with just a touch of Catholic guilt.
10:17pm: When The Sound of Music movie came out, it was so popular that my mom’s friend actually walked down the aisle at her wedding to “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria.” True story.
10:19pm: Damn it, I’m crying again. I really love this abbey set, you guys. And this song. And this scene. And weddings. I want a cookie.
10:20pm: True story: Since I went to Catholic school, we just had the abbey scenes in the Chapel section of our auditorium. On that note, Commercial Break #8! I’m going to go get a cookie.
10:23pm: Clarification, I’ve been told by my mom that my mom’s friend walked down the aisle to the orchestral accompaniment. The main theme of “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” was underplayed.
10:25pm: We’re back! And so are the tasteful pastels. And now for some Nazi exposition.
10:26pm: I don’t know why a few Nazis always end up looking a little like Italian mobsters. It must be the loud ties and contrasting shirts.
10:27pm: Awww, look at Maria’s little hat! Why is everyone in variations of red and pink? Kinda shoots my “Nazi sympathizers wear pink” theory.
10:29pm: Aw, I forgot the reprise of “Sixteen Going On Seventeen.” Let’s be real. This song is about losing your virginity.
10:32pm: “No one’s mad like this Rolph / Won’t act glad like this Rolph”
10:35pm: How many young children were introduced to WWII history by The Sound of Music? Musicals are a learning tool! Who says the arts aren’t important?
10:36pm: HEY LOOK AT THAT COSTUME CHANGE! Quick shout out to the dressers as well! Getting Maria in and out of those corsets in just a few lines!
10:37pm: Captain Von True Blood is kinda short. I never noticed until now. It’s hard to intimidate an Italian Nazi when you’re a) shorter and b) singing Rogers and Hammerstein.
10:38pm: Commercial Break #9! Time for another cookie!
10:41pm: I forgot, my friend Margaret sent this to me from Jezebel:
I love Grumpy Cat.
10:43pm: We’re back again! Captain Von True Blood has a beautiful voice. He was flat earlier but I forgive him because “Edelweiss” is beautiful.
10:44pm: I will not cry a third time during this broadcast. I will not cry a third time during this broadcast. I will not cry a third time during this broadcast…
10:45pm: This live broadcast interrupted by a small camera error. Intern stepped on the wrong cord!
10:47pm: Oh, I get it! They’re saying goodbye ’cause they’re escaping the Nazis! Cleverrrrrr…
10:48pm: I always felt bad for Gretl during the reprise of “So Long, Farewell” because she’s only got one thing, and that’s being cute, and they take that from her so they can escape quickly. It’s a musical. We can pause for dramatic (or adorable) effect.
10:50pm: Commercial #10. We got like half a scene at best. The commercials were longer than that!
10:53pm: Back again! The Nazis have invaded the abbey!
10:54pm: Rolph and his short shorts have entered the abbey! Rut roh! What will a young Nazi do?
10:55pm: “No one’s smart like this Rolph! / Changes heart like this Rolph! No one gives his girl’s life a new start like this Rolph!”
10:56pm: Intern stepped on a cord again. Two video blips are really pretty minor in a three hour broadcast. Better record than the Tony Awards.
10:57pm: START SINGING, AUDRA! YOU BRING THIS MUSICAL HOME!
10:58pm: Really, any musical with her as a castmember should begin and end with Audra McDonald belting.
10:59pm: We ended two minutes early! What now? Oh, a rehearsal montage and credits. Nobody takes a bow?
11:00pm: Credits roll. Thank you everyone for joining me on this wonderful journey. I’ve been doing a lot of snarking over the past three hours, but I’m actually so happy that The Sound of Music Live happened. I hope it’s the success it deserves to be. Any major network that gives musical theater a chance should be lauded. Thank you, NBC. Here’s (I hope) to another TV musical very, very soon!
11:01pm: I’m out!