Carrie Underwood had a divine plan for her portrayal of Maria von Trapp during Thursday night's (Dec. 5) production of The Sound of Music.
"This is what I'm going to do tonight. 'Sing out your thanks to him; sing praises to our God.' (Psalm 147:7a TLB)," Carrie Underwood tweeted just a few hours before she took the stage before a live TV audience as Maria Rainer. And that's exactly what she did for nearly three hours during NBC's broadcast of The Sound of Music Live!.
From the minute Underwood started singing "The Sound of Music" in a mountainside forest -- running around fake trees and climbing up and down fake hills -- until she belted out "So Long, Farewell" at the end, she carried the show.
I'm sure you know the story of The Sound of Music by heart. The reverend mother at the Austrian abbey sends Maria -- "the doubtful one" -- to be the governess for a widower and his seven children. Captain Georg von Trapp, played Thursday night by Stephen Moyer, is a very hands-off dad, but once Maria teaches the children to be children, he falls back in love with them. And with Maria. Which obviously doesn't sit very well with Elsa, the Captain's fiancée. But love happens. And when Maria and Georg danced the Landler folk dance, even one of the youngest daughters, Brigitta, noticed how they looked at each other.
Underwood did some very fine acting throughout the special as she evolved as Maria von Trapp. Her range of emotion was perfect for the role of a governess who is bursting with emotion. But obviously, it was when she was singing that she had her best Fraulein Maria moments -- "Do-Re-Mi" and "My Favorite Things" with all the children, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" with Leisl and "Something Good" with the Captain. ("Something Good" was not in the Broadway production but was written for the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews.)
But it was when she sang "The Lonely Goatherd" that Underwood was at her very best. She said in recent interviews that she'd yodeled as a little girl -- and it showed. If anyone doubted whether or not she could pull this role off, this song proved them wrong.
Thursday's broadcast was based on the original 1959 Broadway production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. And there were times when I actually forgot I was watching TV. It all felt like a real Broadway show, with commercials as mini-intermissions.
Before she hit the stage, Underwood heard from friends and fellow celebs. Miranda Lambert sent flowers. Cameron Diaz wished her well. So did Hoda Kotb, Kellie Pickler and LeAnn Rimes. Even Underwood was kind of wishing herself well before it started.
"I just want to say before the craziness starts ... I am truly honored to be in #TheSoundOfMusicLive," she tweeted. "This is an exciting/moving project. I have been surrounded by such an amazing cast and crew for the past 2 months and I will be sad when I'm not coming to set tomorrow. I hope, above all, that we are joyous in what we're doing and that I am giving it all that I've got. Thank you all for the love and support."
In a Today interview earlier this week, Underwood said she was convinced mistakes would happen during the live broadcast.
"I'm not worried about mistakes because I know they'll happen," she said. "Somebody's going to trip or something coming down the stairs. Hopefully not fall down the stairs."
If there were mistakes, I didn't see them.
Moyer, her co-star as Captain von Trapp, told Entertainment Weekly that Underwood was a professional from the start.
"She can sing the sh** out of it, obviously, goes without saying," he said. "She's very keen to learn and be as good as she can be, so she's kind of open in that way that you would want. She was a great help to me. We were in the studio ... we get on really well. We laugh a lot. She's very funny. She's a spunky girl, and she's quick."