Favorite things get a twist in new U.S. TV version of 'Sound of Music'

Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:07am EST
 
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Producers of a new version of the Oscar-winning musical "The Sound of Music," set for U.S. television next week, knew it would be a sacrilege to try and re-make the beloved 1965 movie classic starring Julie Andrews.

And American country singer Carrie Underwood, who will star as the aspiring nun who brings song into the home of a strict Austrian widower, says she cringes when she hears the word "re-make."

So when the lights go up on the live, televised version of "The Sound of Music" on NBC on December 5, audiences will see a few twists to some of their favorite things, and a lonely goatherd or two in an unusual place.

That's because producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have gone back to the stage show first seen in 1959 for their unique version that will be seen in a format, live television, not used for about 50 years.

"You would never, ever contemplate doing a re-make of the movie of 'The Sound of Music' because it's a classic. It's perfect. It would be sacrilege. It would be huge mistake to even contemplate it," Zadan said in an interview.

"We thought if we did the stage show, not on a Broadway stage but on movie sets, it would be something unique, a hybrid ... It is an extraordinary experiment. The TV audience is going to see something live that has never been done in this generation," he added.

Underwood, 30, who made her name by winning the TV singing show "American Idol" in 2005 and is now one of the biggest stars in country music with hits like "Jesus, Take the Wheel." She plays Maria von Trapp, the lead role played by Andrews in the popular film.

"True Blood" TV actor Stephen Moyer plays the captain with seven children who leaves Austria rather than take a job with Hitler's Navy on the eve of World War Two. The cast also features award-winning Broadway stars Audra McDonald (Mother Abbess), Laura Benanti (Elsa Schrader) and Christian Borle (Max Dettweiler).   Continued...

 
Carrie Underwood performs a medley of songs at the 47th Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Harrison McClary