On the Sound of Music Live!, Sort Of

I must confess that I only caught the last 15 minutes of last Thursday’s live broadcast. But let me tell you that I enjoyed reading various comments on Facebook about the production. Some people tore Carrie Underwood and the overall production apart, but others adamantly defended her and presented reasons why you shouldn’t expect a reproduction of the movie, but a unique experience that stands on its own, much like if you had gone to a playhouse on Broadway.

I mean, when I first heard that Carrie Underwood would be playing Maria, I thought, well, she doesn’t have any acting/theater experience, so it should be interesting, but I bet she’ll sound great. I mean, I really like Carrie Underwood. I love her discipline both with her voice training and exercise routine; I love that she went to college; I love how she can sing “How Great Thou Art” and make me cry. And I love that she ventured into Broadway, because why not see if you can transfer sheer stage presence from a live music concert to something more tempered like a live Broadway musical? For three hours?

Look at the casting. Cast someone purely Broadway as Maria, and you’ll attract the Broadway buffs, but the Broadway buffs would have gone to Broadway and paid for a show anyway. But with Carrie on LIVE television, you also attract the country buffs (and also a fair number of haters). And with Steven Moyer, you attract the vampire buffs. And with Audra McDonald, if there’s anything that’s right with the world, you attract everyone.

I’m so sad I missed her.

My first encounter with Audra was when I first watched the movie Wit. This was a movie adapted from a stage production, but mostly, it’s a movie staged as a play with a camera in front of it. Audra plays a compassionate nurse as a foil to both Emma Thompson’s and Christopher Lloyd’s stern academic dispositions. The first thing I thought when I saw her was, “She’s so perfect.” Then I looked her up on the mighty internet and found out about her theater experience and parts she’s played on television.

Then a few years ago, I found out she was coming to the Hale Center Theater in Orem to perform 110 in the Shade and that she’d give a master class to theater students at BYU. Why would she come to Utah? I mean, Utah’s increasingly becoming a cultural arts landscape, but then I found out she’d be marrying this guy:

I’ve actually never seen this movie. I guess I’m remiss in my research.

Audra McDonald’s practically almost a non-practicing Mormon. What a thrill!

Then one day in October around the government shutdown I was watching the Colbert Report, and Stephen Colbert announced that he’d be officiating a wedding originally planned to take place in Monticello, but the national landmark was closed. So he invited the couple and the wedding party to his studio, and since he’s an ordained minister, he united the eager couple on television. A couple of guests performed, including Audra McDonald. She appears in this video around 4:35:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/429522/october-03-2013/the-2013-government-shutdown-wedding-of-the-century-pt–2?xrs=share_copy

Reilly watched this with me, and while he wasn’t as familiar with Audra as I was (as if we’re best friends or something), when he heard her sing “White Wedding,” he had an immense newfound respect for her.  Who wouldn’t?

Wit was also where my love for Emma Thompson increased. And this movie is where I discovered composer Arvo Pärt. If you don’t know either of these artists, you should. And if you don’t know about the movie, please fix that.

So you can imagine how different my 15-minute experience with the Sound of Music Live! was than watching the original movie with Julie Andrews. The acting wasn’t great, but I still liked the songs. The associations with Carrie and Audra and Wit and Arvo Pärt and all the accompanying awesome feelings made me experience this live television event differently than if I had expected a mere live remake of everyone’s movie normalform.

Into the Woods, It Wouldn’t Stop Raining

Even for Amy Adams and Glenn Close. OR Reilly’s birthday. But probably because it was a Sunday, and we had already ridden bikes down and up the Hudson River greenway and had lunch at Piper’s Kilt with my friend Adam. Which, Adam is close enough to Amy Adams, who is definitely a grand human talisman for good fortune. But at least we walked into the church after the bikeride, and we even had a good conversation with some friends in the foyer. The man I’ve known for four years now; his wife I met for the first time, which is different than the first time he met her, which was after he proposed to her. That’s a good story. Anyway, we should have known from the clouds it was going to rain. But it’s hard to know for sure what clouds mean anymore. I just knew the clouds kept our ride cool and shaded. No blinky brightness. Except that Reilly looks squinty in these pictures. Oh, well.

I mean, the air was humid that evening, and we were standing in line, waiting for the doors to open so that we could take our seats. It was already sprinkling once we sat down. I put a plastic bag over my head, and Reilly had his hat on. We eavesdropped on chatter about the forecast guessing that the rain would end by 8:30, which would only have delayed the show 30 minutes. We could wait that long. Plus, the nice people sitting behind us held their golf umbrella over us.

The stage lights shone on the set that looked like a giant tree house, but some of the set was on the ground and more spread out than Swiss Family Robinson, and still parts of it reached at least twenty feet into the air. The whole thing looked slippery. We talked about whether Amy Adams would risk slipping on an upper floor. We wondered about Glenn Close. We didn’t even know that she wasn’t really in the play, but her voice was featured as the Giant’s.

The stage lights shone through sloppy-yet-sleeting drops of rain, which wasn’t letting up. Sort of, but not. One of the ushers who said the time was 8:15 also said he would have already “called it.” This same usher saw a camera flash go off near and he bounded up the stairs to the source of the crime and asked the camera’s owner to delete any pictures that were taken because no photography whatsoever is not allowed in Delacorte Theater so he’ll have to check the camera to make sure the pictures were deleted, thanks kindly. Ushers wore ponchos. Some spectators wore ponchos, but some held umbrellas. We still hoped for a Sunday miracle, in that we weren’t at all prepared for rain, but it seemed we weren’t getting anything even close. Not even Glenn.

Finally at 8:30, they declared the show rained out. We walked westward in the 70s to Broadway and then south toward Columbus Circle. We thought about getting Reilly a McDonald’s ice cream cone or something similar for his birthday, but since Amy Adams the harbinger of good fortune did not appear, the McDonald’s ice cream machine was broken. Undeterred in our mission to find a dry place to have hot chocolate and some birthday dessert, we found a little cafe where we both had hot chocolate, I had a big chocolate chip cookie, and Reilly had a slice of of chocolate cake.

At least it was a summer rain, and by the time we left the cute little dessert place, it was only sprinkling, which we were grateful for. Mostly dry, and high on chocolate onReilly’s birthday, we walked the rest of the way to Columbus Circle.

We did get our tickets switched for Tuesday night, though. Which somehow meant clear skies and perfect weather. Even though the wolf/Cinderella’s prince is a total perv (as the original tale of Red Riding Hood suggests), Glenn Close meets her death as a vengeful giant and Amy Adams died leaving her baker husband alone, all the acting and singing was delightful, the props were clever and human, and that story actually sort of does end happily ever after.

And so does this one.

So I Went to My Cousin’s Concert on Wednesday

And I tried to take notes of the setlist. I have most of the songs down, considering I was writing in the dark and had to decipher my writing. Two full days after the concert.

Lea is a great personality. She’s been in the biz for a long time, and she’s at ease with the audience. The band was great.

No one in our honorable audience seemed to post any contraband video on YouTube. So, here’s concert coverage from everywhere else in my attempt to recreate the experience for you.

It was a lot of fun. My cousin speaks great English. Awesome.

Feeling Good

This has got to be one of my favorite cabaret songs.


Hahanpin Ko

I played part of this for my mom, and she at least translated the title for me.

http://youtu.be/bcrcEk-8tgk

I Dreamed A Dream

This always makes me want to cry.


Pokerface

She said she wanted to sing something fun after turning 40 this year. We had fun with her.


Reflection

She told the story to us about how Disney cut the song in half for the movie, so she had to sing it again. And she always sings the full version when she can. Which is perfectly fine with me.


(A song I don’t remember)

I Give My Life for You

Yeah, of course girl gets a Tony for this role.


The Last Time


Blackbird

Very pretty version.


(Another song I don’t remember)

On My Own


For Good

Wicked will always carry wonderful memories for me.


A Whole New World

The volunteer from the audience who sang with Lea during this song had a good voice, but he was nervous and missed a few cues. It was still pretty fun, though. The guy in the video does a much better job.


Everybody Says Don’t

So, she didn’t say at BYU what she says in this video. She just went right into this song without an introduction. Maybe she felt it was safer not to say anything.


Journey


Encore
On My Own – She resang this one with a camera man circling her for footage for a series BYU TV is producing for the spring. It’s called something like “The Song that Changed My Life.” We clapped extra hard, partly because she told us to, but mostly because it’s an incredible song, and she doesn’t ever sound like she gets tired of singing it, even after thousands and thousands of times.

Forget You

I sort of cringed throughout this last song, because I wondered how many people in the audience were aware of the original version, which is the first version I had heard. I felt uncomfortable for the older part of the audience who expected more of the Broadway hits. Anyway, this is a very interesting sign-off song. Just saying.

Other than my mom

one of the coolest Pilipinas ever. She and the yo-yo are among the best exports from the Philippines. And mangoes would be, save for the weird embargo on them. Have you ever tasted a Philippine mango?

ANYWAY, if you’re looking for real content on this blog, you’re wasting your time for now. The world doesn’t really care about my complaining anyway, especially when there are bigger things in this world far more deserving of our attention.

Victor Hugo and Lea Salonga. One of the best authors and best Fantines of all time. Together. Makes me cry.

Enjoy.

Ever After

Um, I don’t know why I didn’t see this sooner. It’s terrific. I’m glad to be taking a Myth, Legends, and Folktales class. To be fair, we’re watching this in class because our instructor is home with bronchitis. I’m not glad the professor is unwell, for the record. I really hope she gets better soon. I like her a lot.

This is the original cast, and since this is my first viewing, and the performance is stellar to me, this version is my normalform. Love it. I want to watch it over and over again.