Carrie Underwood, Christian Borle, Laura Benanti, Stephen Moyer and More Share Their Favorite Things from The Sound of Music

By Adam Hetrick
December 1, 2013

The artists involved in the NBC broadcast of The Sound of Music Live!, including Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Christian Borle and Laura Benanti, share some of their "Favorite Things" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic.



On Dec. 5 at 8 PM, NBC will broadcast a special live presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1959 Broadway musical, starring six-time Grammy winner Underwood as Maria and “True Blood” star Moyer as Capt. Georg von Trapp, with Tony Award winners Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess, Benanti as Elsa Schrader and Borle as Max Dettweiler.

Playbill.com asked several members of the cast and creative team to share a special moment that is their particular favorite from the beloved musical.

Click through to read them all:

Laura Benanti
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Laura Benanti, Elsa Schrader:
We're not doing "I Have Confidence" in this version, but for me, in the movie, I just love "I Have Confidence." From the stage production I would say it's pretty great when they are singing "Lonely Goatherd" on the bed, which is in lieu of "My Favorite Things." "Climb Every Mountain" especially as sung by Audra McDonald is pretty remarkable!

Christian Borle
Photo by Monica Simoes
Christian Borle, Max Dettweiler:
What really struck me during the read-through, and hearing the show for the first time, was what the title of the show actually means. This family, who has lost their mother – Captain von Trapp has lost his wife – they haven't had music in their home, which used to be such an important part. Then, this moment when Maria comes back and brings music to the home, which Captain von Trapp resists, and resists, and resists, for obvious reasons... When he allows it and he allows himself to sing with these children and it kind of heals this family... It just was a very beautiful, emotional moment, which I think is the heart of the show.

Ted Chapin
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN
Ted Chapin, president and executive director of Rodgers & Hammerstein:
There's a kind of litmus test to The Sound of Music, which is the scene when the kids come back in the curtain costumes. The captain is outraged. Maria confronts him and then the children sing "The Sound of Music" and he suddenly realizes [what's been missing]... It's a very tricky transition. A lot happens in a very short amount of time. And every production I've seen of The Sound of Music, that's kind of the test, you know... Are they going to conquer this moment?

Stephen Moyer
Photo by Giovanni Rufino/NBC

Stephen Moyer, Captain Von Trapp:
There are quite a few things. I don't think I've ever heard "Climb Every Mountain" done by somebody like Audra McDonald. She's got such a rich voice. This is no disrespect to everybody else who’s played that part, but growing up it was always sort of my least favorite song. I'm thinking of it being done by a shrill nun. [Laughs.] And that is not how it feels when Audra McDonald sings it. So that's a very sort of amazing classic moment. "Do Re Me" is awesome. The kids do it brilliantly and so does Carrie.

For me, as the Captain, there's a beautiful moment that stands out. He's shut music out of his life. Everybody is very regimented and he runs his house like a ship, like a frigate. It's a very beautifully constructed moment where he's angry about the politics of what's going on, he's angry about his children being dressed in old curtains and he's angry about the fact that his best friends want him to convert and become a Nazi to just get by so that he doesn't get into trouble. Then, at the height of his anger, his kids start singing and it's a song that he used to sing as a kid. It transports him. So for me, that's a really important moment in the show because it's the turning point for the Captain from being shut off because of the death of his wife and having been grieving for the last five years – he realizes that he shut out this essential growing tool for the kids, which is to be surrounded by music. One of the things that our musical director David Chase has said is that we sort of have this glib phrase in our head, which is the title, The Sound of Music, which is how it's just become. But the point is, it's The Sound of Music that turns his life around. It's music coming back into that house and how it feels. That is the story, really.

Neil Meron
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

The Sound of Music Live! producer Neil Meron:
My favorite moment, and really I can't help get moved by it every time I've seen The Sound of Music, is the moment where the Captain starts berating Maria for parading the children around in those new clothes made out of the curtains. Meanwhile the children are off entertaining Elsa and they start singing "The Sound of Music" because Maria taught them that song. You see the Captain just break. And that's the defining moment where music has been brought back into his life and his home. It's that moment of recognition that rips you apart emotionally; it's so beautiful. I think it's one of the best-written scenes in all of musicals. I just love that scene.

Carrie Underwood
Photo by Nino Munoz/NBC

Carrie Underwood, Maria:
I honestly love the moments that I have with the children! They are all so talented and brave to be taking on something of this nature. I think we're all learning from each other and I look forward to all that we will take with us from this project. I also have really enjoyed learning so much about this story and these songs that I didn't know before. I don't think I could ever tire of any part of this musical. I leave the rehearsal space singing the songs day after day, and it's wonderful!

Craig Zadan
Photo by Monica Simoes
The Sound of Music Live! producer Craig Zadan:
What's happened to me during the rehearsal process is that I've learned something new about The Sound of Music that I didn't know before, and that is that the way Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it originally, it was a much more serious piece. That's not to say that it's not loads of fun, and charming, and adorable, and funny, and lots of other stuff; it is all of that. What I discovered when we started rehearsing the show is that the last part of the show is really serious, dramatic and emotional in a different way, because the whole entrance of the Nazis at the end make it a bit scarier. The way we depict the show is different than the way the movie does and I found that I was really moved by the play in a different way. Not that I wasn't moved by the movie, but in a different way. And as a result, I found that it was a different Sound of Music than I thought I knew. So that became my favorite part, that the whole last part of the show had me on edge, nervous and tense, and that there's a whole other tone to the piece that I didn’t know existed. So that's now become my favorite thing. Especially letting people and a new audience see it and go, "Wow, I didn't realize that the ending was so tense and scary!"

View the Entire Photo Gallery
Stephen Moyer as Captain Georg Von Trapp, Carrie Underwood as Maria with (l-r) Grace Rundhaug as Marta, Joe West as Kurt, Ariane Rinehart as Liesl, Michael Nigro as Friedrich, Ella Watts-Gorman as Luisa and Peyton Ella as Gretl
Photo by Giovanni Rufino/NBC