“Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn't be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt in a statement. “She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”
"We're thrilled to be presenting the Broadway version of The Sound of Music live,” added Zadan and Meron, “and having Carrie Underwood as the star brings it to a new generation who will fall in love with it for the first time as many millions of people already have. It's a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical."
"To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in The Sound of Music – and in such a very special and unique production — is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, president, Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Part of the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein is how their work has adapted itself to so many different incarnations, and I am certain the fresh spirit Underwood brings to her own songs will transition into exciting versions of the classic songs we all know and love.”
The Sound of Music, set in pre-WWII Austria, is based on the true story of Maria von Trapp, "an aspiring nun who leaves the abbey to become a governess for the widower Captain von Trapp's seven children and finds herself falling in love with her employer and questioning her religious calling," according to NBC. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1959, where it broke box-office records and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The 1965 film version won the Best Picture Oscar. The Sound of Music features a libretto by Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse and a score by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) that includes "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Edelweiss," and "So Long, Farewell." Mary Martin starred in the Broadway production; Julie Andrews preserved the role on film.
"American Idol" winner Underwood has sold more than 15 million albums sold worldwide, with 16 number one singles (seven of which were co-written by Underwood) and five Grammys.