A version of this story will appear in Saturday’s The Oklahoman. To see a video of Carrie Underwood performing “The Sound of Music” theme on the 2007 CBS’ “Movies Rock” special, click here.
Carrie Underwood cast in ‘Sound of Music’
Live production expected to air on NBC in 2013
For her next acting gig, Checotah native Carrie Underwood will take on the legendary role of Maria Von Trapp in a live television broadcast of “The Sound of Music.
Based on the beloved original Broadway musical, the three-hour live telecast will air around the 2013 holiday season on NBC, Robert Greenblatt, the network’s entertainment chairman announced Friday.
“Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn’t be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” Greenblatt said in Friday’s announcement. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producing team behind NBC’s musical series “Smash” as well as the acclaimed film versions of the song-and-dance hits “Chicago” and “Hairspray,” are partnering with the network for its broadcast of “The Sound of Music.” Zadan and Meron should be primed for the live musical: They also are producing the live broadcast of the 85th Annual Academy Awards in February.
“We’re thrilled to be presenting the Broadway version of ‘The Sound of Music’ live,” said Zadan and Meron in the announcement, “and having Carrie Underwood as the star brings it to a new generation who will fall in love with it for the first time as many millions of people already have. It’s a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical.”
Set in Austria just before the start of World War II, “The Sound of Music,” is based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, an aspiring nun who becomes a governess for widowed navy Captain von Trapp’s seven children, eventually falling in love with her employer and questioning her religious calling. The final musical for the famed team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein I, it premiered on Broadway in 1959, breaking box-office records and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical.
“To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ — and in such a very special and unique production — is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, in Friday’s announcement. “Part of the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein is how their work has adapted itself to so many different incarnations, and I am certain the fresh spirit Underwood brings to her own songs will transition into exciting versions of the classic songs we all know and love.”
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer played the lead roles in the musical’s 1965 film adaptation, which earned five Oscars and briefly supplanted “Gone with the Wind” as the highest-grossing movie of all time. Adjusted for inflation, the total gross for the movie musical ranks third all-time at the domestic box office, behind “Gone with the Wind” and “Star Wars,” according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
Powered by Andrews’ four-octave range and Oscar-nominated performance, the film made “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “So Long, Farewell” and the title theme iconic. In 2007, Underwood made the hills comes alive when she belted “The Sound of Music” theme on CBS’ “Movies Rock” special.
The five-time Grammy winner already has a couple of acting credits on her resume: a 2010 guest role on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and a supporting part in the 2011 film “Soul Surfer,” which, like “The Sound of Music,” boasts an inspirational, fact-based storyline.”
“I’ve said this before, but things just have a way of coming up. I’m all about doing what I love, and if something else gets thrown in the mix, then I definitely have an open mind towards it,” Underwood told The Oklahoman in a 2010 interview shortly after she wrapped filming on “Soul Surfer.”
“I want to do things to have fun and that I can look back on my life and be proud of and my kids can look back and see what I’ve done and maybe think their mom’s kind of cool.”
Contributing: Features Editor Matthew Price.