Few love words as passionately as Broadway's master composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, but there's one word that makes him cringe: "Hummable," a quality some (erroneously) find lacking in his challenging, rewarding scores. "Drives me up the wall," he growls.
Which is why it's such an ironic delight when Sondheim performs as part of a new staging of his autobiographical "Opening Doors" production number (from the initially flop musical Merrily We Roll Along), playing a producer who bullies a team of young songwriters to conjure a "humm-umm-able melody."
When The Sound of Music sang, it soared. And scored, attracting an astounding 18.5 million viewers Thursday during NBC's ambitious three-hour live broadcast of the enduring Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. Climb every ratings mountain, indeed.
With stunning sets and backdrops, generally gorgeous and enjoyable singing — Those nuns! Those kids! — and fluid direction that attempted to minimize the vacuum effect of people performing to an otherwise empty and hollow-sounding soundstage, this was a pleasurable one-night-only stunt that felt like a major TV event. Trust me, there will be more where this came from. (Let's start casting The King and I now.)
Were the hills actually alive with the Sound of Music Thursday?
Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer were tasked with filling the shoes of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the three-hour live production for NBC. Unfortunately, the pair lacked any semblance of chemistry and Underwood's acting chops weren't nearly as strong as her vocals.
A deluxe if derivative wallow in crime awaits viewers of TNT's Mob City (Wednesday, 9/8c) a six-hour primer in film noir attitude from The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont that's as sleek as the brilliantine in "fixer" Milo Ventimiglia's impeccably styled hair. Saturated in neon hues and evocative shadows, this limited-run series (airing in two-hour blocks over three Wednesdays) is gorgeous to behold even when it lays on the noir trappings awfully thick.
The Sound of Music Live doesn't air until Dec. 5, but Carrie Underwood is already taking heat from fans of the beloved 1965 movie musical starring Julie Andrews.
"I get hate tweets and stuff like...