Thursday, December 12, 2013

SOUND OF MUSIC Sounds Pretty Good for Broadway

So, how did I like NBC’s live televised production of THE SOUND of MUSIC?  I thought it was very well done.  No, it did not capture the splendor of the hills of Austria, but - just like any play - the location was confined to a small space (specifically, a television studio), and I thought they captured the landscape well. 
Like most of us, I am a fan of this show.  It ranks amongst Broadway's best from the 1950’s through the 70’s.  Of course, that era brought us a lot of memorable musicals like THE KING AND I and MY FAIR LADY.  I can’t find much fault in almost any production of these Broadway classics.  They are some of my favorites from that era, and it's easy to enjoy them despite whatever shortcomings a modern production might offer.      
However, it is also easy to be little critical of stars who take on the task of replicating such well-known performances like Julie Andrews in THE SOUND OF MUSIC and Yul Brenner in THE KING AND I.  It is a herculean undertaking, and very seldom are the original stars outdone.  That said, Carrie Underwood was terrific but a wee short of Julie Andrews' iconic performance as Maria.
People ask me if televised productions, be they the replays of the original movies or, as in this case, a live production, hurt or help what the Orpheum does in presenting a season full of Broadway productions each year.  Do they diminish the possibility of someone buying our tickets after seeing the same title presented on "the box?"  Personally, I think not.  In my 33 years of selling tickets to our Broadway shows, I have come to realize that familiarity is very important, and projects like NBC's THE SOUND OF MUSIC help with that.  It's much more difficult to get people to invest their dollars in tickets to lesser known shows like DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS or even new Tony Award winning shows like ONCE - very few people know what ONCE is about.  
Yes, I liked SOUND OF MUSIC - and from NBC's ratings reports, it seems like millions of others did too.  And overall, that's great news for the Broadway industry.
Pat Halloran
Orpheum President and CEO 

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