All systems are “go” for NBC’s ambitious plan to mount a live telecast of “The Sound of Music” Thursday night.
For this unique event, the network has taken this legendary stage musical from Broadway to Bethpage — 50 miles east of New York City on Long Island — to a cavernous soundstage in a building once used to assemble aircraft and the lunar modules that landed on the moon.
There, producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — producers of “Smash” for NBC — have been feverishly planning, choreographing and rehearsing for this Thursday’s three-hour telecast of “The Sound of Music Live!,” starting at 8/7c.
All eyes are on Carrie Underwood. She’s the one stepping into the lead role of Maria that was made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 “Sound of Music” movie that won five Oscars and became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
Last month, Andrews expressed her support and enthusiasm for Underwood. “Fifty years later, it’s time somebody had another crack at it,” Andrews said in an interview. “I had the best time of my life doing it, and it did wonderful things for me. I think it’s great that it’s being done again!”
The fact is, with its beloved music and heroic story of a family coping with Adolf Hitler’s annexation of Austria just before World War II, this is a telecast to be savored as an event for the whole family.
And the key word here is “event.” This production is part of a trend in network TV to seek out and produce one-time-only “event programming” — in this case, a three-hour, “live” musical — that will keep audiences coming back to network television.
If “The Sound of Music Live!” scores high ratings, you can bet that other productions of its kind will follow.
In addition to Underwood, the cast of “The Sound of Music Live!” includes Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”) and Audra MacDonald.
“The Sound of Music Live” airs Thursday, Dec. 5, starting at 8/7c on NBC.