Following the success of The Sound of Music Live! last week, NBC is looking to stage another live musical production in 2014.
The network confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that they are “circling a couple of titles” to be led by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who produced The Sound of Music Live!. The only rules for the second live musical adaptation are that it must be a Broadway classic with several familiar songs.
“All weekend, people have been calling us and emailing us,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told the New York Times Monday.”Rights holders of musicals have said, ‘Please do one of our shows.’ We’re excited to try it again.”
Greenblatt also said the network may make live musical adaptations an annual holiday tradition.
“There’s enough to do a handful of these over the next years, if we keep increasing the learning curve,” he said. “There may be a little bit of a phenomenon to the first one of these. Who knows what happens year two, three or four. But you’ve got to have events. I think we could do this again — and again and again.”
The Sound of Music Live! drew 18.6 million viewers when it aired last Thursday. The three-hour production starred American Idol and six-time Grammy winner Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer as Georg von Trapp, five-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess, Laura Benanti as Elsa Schrader, and Christian Borle as Max Detweiler. The musical delivered NBC’s highest Thursday viewership since the 2004 series finale of Frasier,“Goodnight, Seattle,” which drew 33.7 million viewers.
Despite the success of The Sound of Music Live!, not everyone was happy with Underwood’s casting in the iconic role of Maria. The role was originated by Mary Martin in the original 1959 Broadway musical, and famously played by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film. Kym Karath, who played Gretl von Trapp in the film, said she was “mystified and disappointed” after watching the NBC version. Karath also said she “love[s] Carrie Underwood,” but the role wasn’t right for her.
Similarly, the great grandson of the real Maria von Trapp, Myles von Trapp, said Underwood didn’t have the “acting experience” to pull off the role.
Carrie Underwood defended herself after the negative backlash, tweeting, “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight… 1 Peter 2:1-25.” The Bible verse urges critics to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.”