Neil Meron and Craig Zadan Gamble on a New American Tradition with The Sound of Music Live!

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05 Dec 2013

Stephen Moyer
Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Both Max and Elsa, who are relegated to non-singing minor roles in the film, have stronger stakes in the stage musical. Their duet, "No Way to Stop It," which was cut from the film, brings a broader sense of political and social context to the changing world and the shadows of the Nazi regime that is casting shadows across Austria. "Be wise, compromise," they urge Captain von Trapp.

U.K.-born actor Stephen Moyer makes a return to musical theatre as the regimented Captain von Trapp. Fans of his work as vampire Bill on "True Blood" may be surprised to find out that The Sound of Music is familiar territory for the actor who started out on the musical stage.

"I started in musical theatre. I did amateur dramatics in England; you call it community theatre in America. But then I got to a point where I had done so many musicals that I wanted to do straight drama, which is why I ended up going to drama school. Of course, the irony being that after doing three years of Shakespeare and Meisner classes, the first show I did when I came out of school was Oliver!"

He adds, "It's kind of terrifying when you come back to it. I've been off the stage for 18 years." Having recently played Billy Flynn in the Hollywood Bowl staging of Chicago, Moyer laughed, "It's a baptism by fire returning in this manner. There were 18,000 people a night at the Hollywood Bowl and then potentially in front of 20-million people on NBC."

With that kind of ratings potential and a reported production cost of nearly $9 million, NBC and the creative team, which includes Tony Award-nominated director-choreographer Rob Marshall and Emmy-nominated "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" director-producer Beth McCarthy-Miller, aren't leaving anything to chance for the live broadcast.

"We've had a proper rehearsal process," Moyer said. "We've been able to explore and play. We have the opportunity to form and build the character in the rehearsal process without having to come in with preformed conceptions of how it's going to be."

"Rob Ashford is a great director and his focus is on finding the truth of it," Borle adds. "When you don't have to play for laughs, you have to know that they might be there, so you have to be very careful with your timing. Even with the buttons of numbers. We'll finish a number and just plow right on if there's not a commercial break. You're not holding for applause."


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