Von Trapp Family Reacts to The Sound of Music Live!

By Adam Hetrick
12 Dec 2013

Laura Benanti and Stephen Moyer
Laura Benanti and Stephen Moyer
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Francoise von Trapp, the daughter Maria von Trapp's stepson Rupert, has shared her thoughts on the NBC live telecast of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, which was inspired by her family's true story.

Among the 18.6 million viewers who tuned in for the Dec. 5 NBC telecast was von Trapp, who said she's ready to go back to maintaining a low profile after expressing her views on the musical, which starred Grammy Award winner Carrie Underood and Stephen Moyer, alongside Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle.

"For all of you who clamored for public apologies for criticizing Carrie Underwood, I'm sorry to disappoint you, because you're not going to get one," she wrote on her blog, titled, "Will a Real von Trapp Please Stand Up." "I stand by what I said in last year's post. She’s a talented country music star, but she is not an actress. And I think she proved that to the world last night. She kicked-ass on Lonely Goatherd – yes the girl can yodel. But beyond that I found the overall production to be completely underwhelming and mediocre at best. I kept wondering why NBC would settle for a community theater quality production."

"And for all of you who feel sorry for Carrie, I really wouldn't worry too much about it. She's a pro – she can take a little criticism. She got a lot of publicity out of this. And she’s probably laughing all the way to the bank," she continued.



The day following the telecast, Underwood took to twitter to address her critics, writing, "Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight... 1 Peter 2:1-25."

Von Trapp noted that many members of her family did not share her same views, but that she tried to keep an open mind when viewing the telecast. In 2012, when NBC first announced plans to present the Broadway musical on television, von Trapp commented, "I have to say I'm heartened by the number of purists out there who agree with me - somethings just can't be remade!" In a separate post, she continued, "Its saving grace may be that it will be an adaptation of the original Broadway musical, rather than a remake of the Hollywood blockbuster."

Following the Dec. 5 telecast, she wrote, "For everyone who thought the whole thing was wonderful and that NBC did a spectacular job, I say maybe your expectations weren’t high to begin with," adding, "If they hoped to have created a new holiday classic, I think they missed their mark. Maybe my mistake is having higher expectations overall, and especially when classics – theater or film – are involved."

Von Trapp did find merits in NBC's efforts, however. "Personally, I think the best thing about last night's performance was that it exposed the world to the original Broadway production, which had some great songs that never made it to film."

Myles von Trapp Derbyshire, the great grandson of Maria von Trapp, also previously expressed his skepticism of the broadcast with ABC news. “It’s just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story," he said when asked about remaking the classic. 

As previously reported, following huge ratings numbers for The Sound of Music Live!, NBC has committed to airing another live telecast of a classic Broadway musical in 2014. Read Playbill.com's coverage here.

To read von Trapp's full blog post, click here.

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Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess, Carrie Underwood as Maria
Photo by Will Hart/NBC