On a busy Friday (June 29) of celebrity news, cable ratings news and TNT renewal news, perhaps the most intriguing news of the day is getting lost in the shuffle.
NBC announced on Friday that it’s partnering with “Chicago” and “Smash” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron on a TV version of “The Sound of Music.”
That sounds relatively uneventful, right? After all, Zadan and Meron have worked together on TV versions of “Gypsy,” “Annie” and “The Music Man.”
The interesting catch is that this version of “The Sound of Music” will be broadcast live, at least for people on the East Coast, in a tribute to a piece of classic TV/theater stagecraft.
“It is our supreme pleasure to broadcast — live — a new version of the seminal Broadway musical ‘The Sound of Music’ for a whole new generation,” blurbs NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. “There used to be a tradition of broadcasting musicals live back in the 1950s and we’re thrilled to do it once again with a musical that has been a family classic for five decades. There is no more talented and creative producing team than Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to bring Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final — and most beloved — collaboration to network television in this groundbreaking live telecast.”
One thing everybody wants to emphasize is that this version of “The Sound of Music” is a filmed production of, as Greenblatt says, the Rogers and Hammerstein musical and not a remake of the beloved movie.
“It isn’t our intention to produce a remake of the movie version of ‘The Sound of Music’ — that would be artistic blasphemy,” Zadan blurbs. “What we want to do, instead, is to give audiences a completely fresh experience of this great Tony Award-winning stage musical in the form of a classic television event, combined with the spontaneity of a live performance. And all of the actors will be singing live; there will be no lip-synching to pre-recordings.”
Apparently somebody thinks this concept is very complicated and difficult to understand, because the press release contains several additional explanatory blurbs.
Meron states, “This groundbreaking ‘hybrid’ of sorts will be based on the stage musical and will feature all the classic songs that audiences associate with ‘The Sound of Music’ — including the title song, ‘Do-Re-Mi,’ ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain,’ and ‘My Favorite Things’ — plus a few wonderful songs from the Broadway version that people are less familiar with.”
Get that? The stage musical. Not the movie. Want more blurbage?
Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company, blurbs, “With today’s exciting announcement, NBC is breaking new ground by reviving a tradition from another era: staging a full Broadway musical live on television. We are thrilled that Bob Greenblatt has chosen ‘The Sound of Music’ to be that Broadway musical — its story of the von Trapp family and its timeless Rodgers & Hammerstein score are known and loved all over the world. We have had the honor of working with producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron before, and look forward to working with them again to make ‘The Sound of Music’ a major NBC television event.”
Several details about the production have yet to be announced, specifically a director, a cast, filming location and an air-date.
Stay tuned. We’re definitely curious.