Laura Benanti as Elsa Schrader in “The Sound of Music.”
todeborahwithlove replied to your post:My favorite part was when Superman Flew all the…
I wonder if issue isn’t so much that people don’t watch PBS, as that 18.5 million people aren’t going to watch without the draw of Big Shiny Star. If Carrie Underwood was on PBS, they probably still would’ve watched. Then again, advertising etc.
I don’t have any issue with them using a star. There are plenty of stars who are stars for a reason. I’m not sure if Carrie Underwood is one of them… But part of what I mean by lack of creativity is that if they are going to use a star than USE her. They didn’t hire an actress. They hired a personality (although, in this case, I don’t know if she has much of a personality). But assuming we’re talking about a hypothetical star WITH a personality, than let that be part of the show. If you’ve hired a country singer than let Maria have some Oklahoma spunk and carry around a shotgun Strong but wrong would have been better than boring.
My favorite part was when Superman Flew all the Jews out of Egypt.
When Mary Poppins flew the Von Trapps out of Austria on her magic umbrella.
(some thoughts on The Sound of Music Live)
Yes, yes, I’m talking about The Sound of Music… Live (the live seemed to be an important part of the title). And, really, bravo to NBC for making a version of a show that everyone knows where all of America ends up rooting for the social climbing Baroness (finally!). But a few thoughts.
And, no, this isn’t going to be about historical inaccuracies because wow (I mean even Liz Lemon knew that hiding behind potted plants didn’t work…)
But one of the things that I saw going around last night was this idea that whether it was good or bad, there was a stage musical on national TV, and isn’t that great?
I have an issue or two with that.
Ok, there are stage musicals on TV… on PBS. There have been quite a few of them. I know, I know, but people don’t watch PBS. It’s not the same as being on network TV. Fair point. But lets not pretend they don’t exist. And they are actual stage shows being filmed. Which is not what NBC did last night. They were making a product for TV. So, at the very least, the production values should be for TV and people’s faces should be lit and they should have some vague notion of where the cameras are. When they film Broadway shows for PBS they re-stage for camera angles. It’s 2013 and they filmed this thing on a soundstage where everything was built for a production to be aired on live-TV, so I don’t know why they went for such a audience-memeber-filming-community-theatre-on-an-iphone feel. Let’s not pretend that people don’t know how to do this.
There was nothing creative, brave, or interesting about The Sound of Music Live. Well, except making Elsa the character everyone was rooting for (Laura Benanti was great and I’m glad she was rewarded with being the only cast member to get good costumes). I’m all for people trying big things, and if they happen to not work, well, at least they tried— at least they had a vision, a creative impulse. There was no vision and no creativity here. If you’re going to do something than really DO it. Don’t aim for mediocre. NBC put the mostly innately theatrical form on TV and made it small.
Why don’t we stop acting like the only way America will watch a Broadway musical is if all the creativity is sucked out of it? Or better yet: why not stop acting like that’s ok? That this isn’t an art form that deserves a little more respect than “good or bad as long as it happened.” That attitude is insulting. Like many thing in life: don’t lower yourself to someone else’s low expectations. Ask for more. So why don’t we don’t that? And why don’t we stop acting like that kid in middle America who has never seen a musical doesn’t deserve something better than mediocre?
And now, to tie in some history, remember: who remains the world’s most famous mediocre painter? I’ll give you a hint… he had a tiny mustache. And, I suppose, there would be no Sound of Music without him. So, NBC, take a lesson from history and aim higher.
Laura Benanti as Baroness Elsa Schrader in the Sound of Music.
I’m (technically) an adult and every time I see a kid on TV my brain goes straight into “Rose’s Turn” mode. It should have been me dammit.