On Dec. 6, NBC will televise a live version of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, starring country singer Carrie Underwood. Yesterday, the world got its first peek at the production by way of a brand-new teaser trailer complete with rehearsal footage and commentary from the cast, which includes Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, and Laura Benanti, who insists that it's not a remake, per se, of the Academy Award-winning 1965 film.
Rather, as Underwood puts it, it’s “a Sound of Music for a new generation.”
To some, this may seem like a fiasco and/or act of blasphemy waiting to happen. (Even I find myself inching toward that category.) But Underwood’s right that The Sound of Music has elements that can still transfix any generation of viewers. Indeed, one of the great things about The Sound of Music is the timeless appeal of its characters: The clumsy but clever nanny, the uncontrollable kids who are really just starved for parental affection, and the not-so-maternal stepmom-to-be are all figures pop culture still recycles and reveres.
There’s one Sound of Music character, however, whose archetype isn’t quite as common anymore: the strict, scary dad. Georg von Trapp is a careworn, snippy widower who initially expresses his affection for his children by ignoring them, forbidding playtime, making them wear uniforms and march in line, and summoning them with barked orders and boatswain whistles. The likes of him don't often show up in pop culture these days, and it’ll be fascinating to see whether True Blood’s Moyer and the producers try to update him for modern audiences.