This past week my aide Shannon and I watched the remake of "The Sound of Music" with Carrie Underwood in the starring role as Maria. On "Good Morning America" Saturday, the grandson of the original Von Trapps gave a review of the show in just a few words. He wasn't that impressed, to say the least.
Comparing the two versions of the musical was like watching two different productions altogether. I personally found very little to compare to each other. As Shannon is typing this per my dictation, I find her nodding in agreement. We both think Underwood did a great job. However, she had very big shoes to fill in this live production of the musical, which originally starred Julie Andrews.
The child actors who played the Von Trapp children did the best job.
I remember in my own goals to be an actress, I would shy away from any film remakes. My agent Tom agreed with me that it would be a big risk not worth taking. Especially as an unknown actress, such a risk could either make you or break you.
In spite of mixed reviews, the live production is said to have drawn 18 million viewers. But the revamped production frankly left me flat.
It apparently also made good fodder for "Saturday Night Live." That Saturday's show opened with a derisive spoof of the live performance. Of course, "SNL" is always live, as the name states.
I know most of the lyrics from the show, since I performed in a version while in the Girl's Glee Club/Mens Chorus during my Cleveland Heights High School days. We just sang a medley of the songs. We didn't act out the musical.
I would agree with the Von Trapp grandson that the show didn't really need to be redone. Certainly no new take on the show was made. You could say it didn't even do the original justice. But I will say Underwood gave it her best shot.
In an ironic twist, one of the lead actors in the film version, Eleanor Parker, who played the Baroness, died at age 91 this past week. It does make one reflect on the past.
The original film may have been made 50 years ago, but they haven't improved on it since then.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website www.kathrynskorner.com.