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:


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.

A Sort of Live Blog of Obama’s Nomination Acceptance

(From an instant message chat Thursday evening during The Big Speech. For the record, I really liked the last half. And this was on the eve of Ms. Palin accepting the veep appointment from McCain. Friends, I haven’t been more excited about politics in my life.)

me: stop with the rhetoric, dude
Friend: who is dude
10:01 PM me: that guy who’s taking SO long to introduce O
Friend: oh yes, him
can we?
can we?
me: WE CAN!
Friend: i deplore politics
10:02 PM me: ooh. video tribute
the dnc seems more fun than the rnc would be
Friend: yes, probably
i went here
me: oh?
10:03 PM Friend: yeah, i knew a girl…a staunch dem who got free tickets
McC actually gave a very stirring talk if i remember right
me: that’s cool
10:04 PM all stirring speeches
Friend: ftr, i hope that McC does not choose Romney
me: me, too
Friend: i’m tired of the bashers
me: i’ve slated romney for the cabinet
Friend: and, i don’t want him bashing O
that looks bad
me: yeah
Friend: so, who will win?
10:05 PM me: oh, man. a lot of hillary defectors have crossed over to red
Friend: really?
me: i’ve seen a few unsubstantiated polls
10:06 PM i actually think it might be close, with O for the win
Friend: yeah, that’s my current thought
10:09 PM me: you ready to pay higher taxes?
Friend: can’t wait
10:10 PM me: O had chubby cheeks as a kid
he’s his brother’s keeper. so am i
Friend: i can’t hear them over the radio
his cheeks that is
10:11 PM me: i forget you shun the evil boob tube
oh. here he is!
Friend: yes, but no tax break for me
10:12 PM me: do you hear the cheesy music?
Friend: a little
me: people are tearing up
10:13 PM the stadium is packed
Friend: thank you so much
10:14 PM me: seriously.
we can already
10:17 PM dangit, i’m clapping for michelle O
Friend: i missed her talk the other night
me: catch the transcript

5 minutes

10:23 PM me: tithing on change
10:26 PM becky’s a believer in free economy
Friend: and so her vote goes to…
10:27 PM me: she just disagrees with his economic policy
and i understand that
she might go mcc though
Friend: he’s not really inspiring me in this speech actually
10:28 PM me: not to stirring
Friend: he just sounds like another politician to me
10:29 PM me: it’s going to be all talk from here on out
and stuff we’ve heard before
so whom do we believe more?
Friend: yeah, it all sounds the same
10:30 PM do all the clappers really believe the talk…?
me: it seems so
10:31 PM if he told them to drink the kool aid, they just might
Friend: yes, maybe
10:32 PM me: oh. good. specifics
10:33 PM Friend: um, what about non-profits?
me: hmm
not included in the small business sector?
Friend: drilling in utah
me: will he? will he really?
10:35 PM Friend: can he deliver on that?
me: yeah. that’s a pretty big ticket
Friend: O, i want to believe you
10:36 PM me: if enough people believe him …
Friend: ah, education
me: if we sign on as our brother’s keeper
Friend: right
he’s against vouchers
10:37 PM me: what do they do?
i don’t remember
Friend: allow parents to move their children from bad schools to good schools
me: what’s he proposing instead?
10:38 PM Friend: i can’t remember…it was in the Washington Post today
me: okay. i’ll look it up
10:39 PM Friend: goodbye adult education
me: that’s kind of counterproductive, eh?
10:40 PM Friend: hard to measure gains…always gets cut
really, i’d be surprised if it was cut under his leadership
me: oh, you’re talking about his line-itemizing. eek
Friend: yes
10:41 PM i like O as a new face to the foreign world
but, not as commander in chief
but mcc scares me too
10:42 PM i’m concerned about iran
me: it’s gonna get so messy, Friend
Friend: umm…pakistan has said no
i think so
10:43 PM righteousness will keep us safe O
me: vote for Friend!
Friend: i’m writing me in
me: awesome.
Friend: but i think i have to be married, no?
10:44 PM me: wasn’t there a single president somewhere in history?
Friend: i dunno
me: or just hurry up and get married
Friend: yeah, i just needed a deadline
10:45 PM me: so many guarantees
am i wrong for being skeptical?
Friend: not at all
he will not deliver
on just about everything he is saying
sorry O
10:46 PM it sounds like he’s reading this in a mirror
me: he’s very polished looking
10:47 PM nice on the rhetoric
Friend: right
10:49 PM me: what? compromise?
who’s heard of that?
Friend: you are the word expert
10:51 PM ummm…c’mon O…it’s about you too
you know you are a big deal
and you like it
me: yep
10:52 PM Friend: your voice betrays you Friend
me: yep, that’s about him
Friend: sounds like Gore to me
10:53 PM me: and oprah
10:56 PM we cannot turn back!
Friend: you said it
me: yes, we can?
ooh. scripture
Friend: can we?
10:57 PM me: turn back?
Friend: no we can’t
can we?
me: he said we can’t
Friend: i’m confused
me: 😦
Friend: wow
10:58 PM me: his family’s hugging him now
and country music’s blasting
Friend: fireworks?
me: pyrotechnics, not full-blown works
10:59 PM oh, here’s biden
Friend: he has funny hair
me: hee
Friend: in the back
me: ooh. confetti
like it wants to be a mullet, his hair
Friend: yes, it’s trying
me: don’t make your hair do that, please
11:00 PM Friend: the only hair i have that will grow long is in the back
i might have to try it
me: can i braid it, then?
Friend: i think so
11:01 PM me: oh. real fireworks now
not good for the carbon footprint, O
Friend: hypocrites
11:02 PM at least the chinese could fake it
me: hee.
okay, sir. i need sleep
Friend: and me, goodnight
me: ‘night