"'Cause they taped it on only one day..." - NBC's The Sound of Music

...The NBC-TV remake of Rogers & Hammerstein's THE SOUND OF MUSIC as a " live play " production's airing is about one month in the past now , and I meant to post about it here before that ! But I didn't...

  With 18 million viewers IIRC , it certainly qualified as " a hit " . NBC even repeated it a week-and-a-halfish later .

  I saw it both times:-) .

  It was meant to be a " TV play/live production " in the mode of the PLAYHOUSE 90/BELL TELEPHONE HOURs of yore , NBC claiming " For the first time in fifty years..." . I , myself , on the West Coast of the continguous 48 states of the USA (California) saw it as an immediate taped repeat , anyway , being 3 time zones to the west of the Eastern Time Zone , where it would have indeed shown live ~ along with the Central Time Zone .

  The Mountain Time Zone , especially for such a " holiday special " as this , I am not so sure about . Anyone ?????

  Has it shown outside of the U.S,. yet ~ I know we have Australian and Canadian residents here , others ???

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My favorite version is the Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman movie Hook. I'm not sure if I've seen any previous live action versions.

Tiger Lily was played by a real Native American. Her tribe appeared to be played by Native American actors. It's my understanding that scenes were reworked to give Tiger Lily and her tribe a more active role in the outcome. Tinkerbell was as jealous and homicidal as ever.

It doesn't appear that they are rerunning it yet. They were touting a DVD recording which I'm sure will be available for rental soon.

...Thank you.

From Mark Evanier - 

If you missed it, NBC is rerunning Peter Pan Live! on Saturday, December 13 when kids can stay up later. I hope the network has the decency to retitle it Peter Pan Not Live! Once again, it will probably have more Walmart commercials than there are Walmarts.

Yes, I see in the TV Guide magazine that they have it listed for that day. I was looking at NBCs website and my cable schedule and it wasn't showing.

I just saw an ad on NBC that they're repeating The Sound of Music - Live tomorrow night, no longer live.

After a month or so, my wife and I finally got around to watching Peter Pan LIVE! ... and gave up after the first hour. We were thoroughly bored. We might try to finish it, but it's not looking good.

NBC has begun promoting this year's live TV musical, scheduled for Thursday Dec 3, 2015. It will be The Wiz. My wife saw this "back in the day" but it will be my first viewing.


One thing NBC learned from these previous productions -- and particularly from Peter Pan LIVE! -- is to get some star power. Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Stephanie Mills, the original Dorothy from Broadway's The Wiz, as Auntie Em!

Tomorrow night, December 3 2015, the NBC network will present its live performance of The Wiz.

There's a lot of hopes riding on this one at the network, says Adweek

"NBC Hopes The Wiz Live Will Be More Like Sound of Music and Less Like Peter Pan"

I didn't watch The Wiz Live! live (life tends to get in the way of TV watching sometimes), and then discovered, somehow, that we didn't record it. Thanks to the magic of On Demand, though, I did see it last night. (Isn't it wonderful living in the future?)

Some thoughts:

  • The Wiz Live!, like the previous NBC live stage play productions, is based on the Broadway musical, not the movie.
  • I have not seen the play but I saw the movie back when it was in theaters in (gulp!) 1978. old photo old.gif
  • Following the tradition of making a movie and not casting the lead actress from the play (examples: Audrey Hepburn for Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady; Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno for Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera in West Side Story; Janet Leigh for Chita Rivera in Bye, Bye Birdie; and, oddest of all, Barbra Streisand for Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!), The Wiz featured Diana Ross as Dorothy instead of Stephanie Mills. (Wikipedia says Ross finagled behind the scenes to get the part.)
  • I recall the casting controversy at the time. The Wiz, and The Wizard of Oz, is a young girl's coming-of-age story, and as wonderful as Diana Ross might be in many respects, at 33 (at the time) she wasn't a young girl. So the story had to be bent to fit her; Dorothy was now a 24-year-old teacher who had never been away from her home in Harlem. But enough about the movie.
  • It totally warmed my heart to see Stephanie Mills come on screen as Auntie Em. (I met her once when I was working on my campus newspaper, at press conference for a revival of The Wiz. She's, like, two feet tall, so she could totally play a young girl in a coming-of-age story. Heck, she could do it today -- she looks great!)
  • Shanice Williams was a winsome, winning Dorothy, and there were moments when she did sound like Stephanie Mills.
  • David Alan Grier was so buried under his costume and makeup, I couldn't tell it was him.
  • Amber Riley, late of Glee, was clearly having fun.
  • Nice little updates throughout of today's slang. But as a family-friendly production, I could have done without the (three) instances that pushed it from G to PG territory.
  • Wait a minute -- the dog doesn't make the journey to Oz? It's just as well; they likely saved themselves any number of logistical hassles that way.
  • Mary J. Blige, as the Wicked Witch of the West, was a riot.
  • One more note about the movie: Richard Pryor was wasted as The Wiz, playing him as a pathetic loser. Since Diana Ross finagled her way into being the lead, it is she, not The Wiz, who tells the Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Cowardly Lion that they really all along had the heart, brains, and courage they were seeking. Fortunately, The Wiz Live! properly restores the balance and has The Wiz impart these lessons.
  • To mention the other famous movie version of this story, I've seen it many, many, many times -- but it wasn't until I was a full-grown adult (after watching The Wizard of Oz many, many, many times) did I realize that when The Wizard sent Dorothy and company to fetch the broom of The Wicked Witch of the West, he was sending them on a suicide mission! He didn't expect them to come back alive!  photo eek.gif In The Wiz Live, however, he straight-up demands Dorothy and crew kill The Wicked Witch of the West! The Wiz is an evil dude!
  • Ah, but The Wiz isn't a dude! Not in this version, owing to casting Queen Latifah as The Wiz. She did fine.
  • Likewise, Ne-Yo and Elijah Kelley as The Tin Man and The Scarecrow were fine. Flavor of the month Uzo Aduba as Glinda the Good Witch less so, as well as Common as the Bouncer. Common has an Oscar, but it's not for his acting.
  • Speaking of Oscars, as noted above, NBC made sure to make up for the lack of star power in Peter Pan Live! The cast of The Wiz Live! has a boatload of Grammy Awards and Grammy, Tony, and Oscar nominations.

All in all, a winning effort. Here's to the next one!

Also, if you missed it, and don't have On Demand, NBC will rebroadcast The Wiz Live! on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m.

We saw it "sorta live," skipping through the commercials. Of course in the Pacific Time Zone it wasn't live anyway. My wife had seen the touring stage version when it was new, which she says included Stephanie Mills. She didn't see the movie, and is grateful. I had not seen The Wiz in either form before. We both enjoyed it very much. I hope the ratings justify more live musicals in the future. The Peter Pan version wasn't very impressive.

p.s.: Your link doesn't work.

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