NBC is casting for a three-hour live production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound Of Music," and who better to get the part as Maria von Trapp than Carrie Underwood?
"American Idol" already has an Oscar winner, with Season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson taking home a statuette for her performance in "Dreamgirls," but could an Emmy be headed an alum's way? Sure, Hudson might get a nod (as could "Smash" co-star Katharine McPhee, another "Idol" alum), but what about Carrie Underwood? Not sure what she's done to get an Emmy nomination? Well, that's because she hasn't done it yet -- and won't for about a year -- but the Season 4 winner just landed the lead role of Maria von Trapp in the upcoming NBC Television live production of "The Sound Of Music."
According to MSN.com, NBC entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt stated last week that the network would make a major announcement about the live adaptation of "The Sound Of Music."
"Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn't be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp," Greenblatt said. "She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist."
That's not saying that the Maria von Trapp role wasn't played by an iconic artist before. The original musical debuted on Broadway with the inestimable Mary Martin as the lead. She won a Tony for her efforts. When the musical was adapted to big screen, actress Julie Andrews, another Tony winner (and an Oscar winner for "Mary Poppins") took over the part. It is her iconic performance that most associate with the story of a young woman, Maria Rainer, who considers becoming a nun and is sent to act as a governess for the von Trapp family until she decides. It is based on the actual life of the very real Maria von Trapp.
Along with the announcement that Underwood would be singing the lead, NBC also announced that Craig Zadan Neil Meron would be producing the live show, which is scheduled for next December. Zadan and Meron currently produce, appropriately enough, NBC's hit "Smash," the story of the goings-on behind the scenes of a Broadway musical. They're also slated to produce the next Academy Awards ceremony.
"We're thrilled to be presenting the Broadway version of 'The Sound of Music' live," said the producers, "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."
But will she be Emmy worthy? Perhaps. Underwood has won the Female Vocalist award three times from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. She has also won five Grammys, eleven Billboard Music Awards, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for "There's A Place For Us" from "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader."
As for her acting credits, she has appeared in the movie "Soul Surfer."
Underwood has sold over 15 million albums. Most recently her latest album, Blown Away, won the Favorite Country Album award at the 2012 American Music Awards and topped the million mark in sales.
But can she handle the role of Maria von Trapp? That is easy enough to judge. She didn't seem to have any trouble with the title track when singing it for the 2007 CBS special "Movies Rock."
Now all NBC has to do is appoint the rest of the cast. Maybe they could add a few more "American Idol" alums?
Watch Carrie Underwood perform the classic standard "The Sound Of Music":
(photo credit: Keith Hinkle, Wikimedia Commons)
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