Country music superstar and Checotah native Carrie Underwood is planning to make the hills come alive with the sound of music next year.
The 2005 “American Idol” winner will take on the legendary role of Maria Von Trapp in a live television broadcast of “The Sound of Music.”
The five-time Grammy winner already has a bit of experience with the musical’s memorable title theme: Check out this YouTube video of her belting “The Sound of Music” theme on CBS’ “Movies Rock” special.
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.
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.
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. It will be interesting to see and hear how Underwood uses her big, clear voice to deliver such indelible material.
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. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for “There’s a Place for Us” from the 2010 big-screen adaptation of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” She both recorded and co-wrote the song.
In a 2010 interview shortly after she wrapped filming on “Soul Surfer,” Underwood told me that she is devoted to music but tries to stay open-minded about other projects that come her way, like movies and TV shows:
“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,” she said.
“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.”
To read more about Underwood’s casting in “The Sound of Music,” click here.