It broke some substantial ratings records, and even that 19-35 demo which advertisers are so inclined to drool over watched the show. Was it any good? Well, many people thought it was an absolute abomination, with no redeeming features; those folks have an elitist sensibility, I think, and cannot help but compare the broadcast to the film version, which has gained iconic status over the years. Better not mess with Julie Andrews.
I'll confess that some of the show bored me (as any and all stage productions of The Sound of Music have always done), but there were many reasons to stick with it.
|Five time Tony winner Audra McDonald doesn't need another award, but she's gonna get one, come Emmy time.|
|No one complained about stage vets|
Laura Benanti and Christian Borle.
I mentioned on Facebook that I was very glad this project got off the ground, as it will now preserve the original stage show for posterity. Yes, maybe we'd all prefer that the leading role had not been attempted by country singer Carrie Underwood, but you know what? I give her big props for stepping out of her comfort zone and attempting something new; the fact that that attempt occurred in front of 18.5 million people makes it even more courageous.
|Underwood's decision to tackle this|
project displays courage, not hubris.
And those who insist the role should have been played by an actress with legit stage cred, well, the project may have been better but most likely would not have been made. The economics of producing this gigantic musical (I've read the total budget exceeded 9 million dollars) required some bold thinking, and there is not a stage performer on the planet who would have enticed 18 and a half million people to their television.
So, despite a critical drubbing, there's money in those ratings numbers, and I have little doubt that another such event will eventually occur. I love the idea of revisiting classic musicals; producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron agree, as they are responsible for a number of stage-to-screen transfers.
|Yes, please, let's have a Mame, but one on film rather than|
live. Christine Baranski and Harriet Harris as Mame and Vera
are perfect, and as the mousy Gooch? Kristin Chenoweth
would tear it up.
I know Mame remains on their radar, though I hope they will eventually produce a TV remake on film, rather than a live performance. No, I think the next live musical should be a slightly smaller one, which could take place on an actual stage, in front of an actual audience.
|One of the complaints I heard regarding The Sound of Music was the fact that there was no audience, but really, how could there have been? The producers took over an entire sound stage in Long Island in order to create what were pretty substantial sets. To produce the show on a stage would necessarily shrink the production, which would not have been wise this first time out. I enjoyed the look of the production, though others complained it looked like a soap opera. The TV direction here was problematic: there's no one around anymore who knows how to direct this kind of thing. Too bad Ralph Nelson isn't still here; he's the guy who brought the original Cinderella to live TV (Go here for that Dance Party).|
|Nathan Lane won the Tony for the most|
recent Broadway revival, and I would
certainly place him in the leading role for TV.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum cries out to be archived in a version true to its original production. Its fame does not come near that of The Sound of Music, so the cast should be peopled with actors with lots of recognition, but with musical comedy chops as well. Nathan Lane has a national presence and must play the lead; I would surround him with a few folks with even bigger name recognition.
Robin Williams would be perfectly cast as Senex, and would not be thrown by a live audience nor a live camera. And as his domineering wife, Domina?
|Kathy Bates belted the hell out of|
Miss Hannigan in Annie, and would be
swell as the battle ax who inspired the
classic line, "Never fall in love during
a total eclipse."
Why, Bette Midler of course. But as stated above, the Divine Miss M is hesitant to subject herself to Social Media Snark, so Kathy Bates will do just fine.
|Jesse Tyler Ferguson earns Emmy nods|
for Modern Family, but has stage creds
from On The Town to Putnam County
Spelling Bee. He should shave his
current beard and play Hysterium.
Marcus Lycus, the procurer who lives next door, would be great fun for my favorite Christian Borle, and as the ancient Erronius, I'd invite one of our elder comic statesmen, perhaps Carl Reiner or even Mel Brooks.
|Who's this guy? Why, he's our Hero, of course. Matthew James Thomas is currently playing Pippin on Broadway, a performance I have seen (and described here). He would be a sweetly goofy Hero in Forum.|
|"I AM A PARADE!" And Cheyenne Jackson|
will be too, as pompous, vain, and gullible
I know I'm daydreaming, as Forum certainly does not have the fame of The Sound of Music, but its relatively small cast and single set requirement would make it a great show to be broadcast live in front of an audience. And if some of those well known names are attached, it could bring in some substantial numbers.
Perhaps those numbers won't match The Sound of Music's; there was certainly a curiosity factor with this week's live event which may dissipate with the next one.
|Maybe Capt. von Trapp should have had a|
beach scene. This guy's performance was
the real disappointment.
And it cannot be denied that, though Carrie Underwood's performance disappointed almost everyone, her name recognition is through the roof, having worked her way up the American Idol ladder in front of millions of viewers week after week.
There can really only be one source for this week's Dance Party, and I've chosen one of the weaker songs in the score. I am very pleased that the roles of Max and Elsa, which were severely reduced in the film version, can now be seen as the true supporting leads they are. Both their songs were presented on Thursday, and were brand new to viewers who are only familiar with the film's soundtrack.
|The decision to remove the two songs sung by Max and Elsa for the film was probably a good one, but I'm glad to see them back.|