Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So Long, Farewell

I could barely contain my excitement when I heard that NBC planned to stage a live production of the stage version of The Sound of Music. I loved everything about the original - the music, the children, and Julie Andrews especially - and knew that I'd love NBC's version of the show as well. 

It wasn't perfect, but nothing "live"- or with children involved, for that matter - ever is. I delighted in the singing (especially Carrie's) and dancing; enjoyed the costumes and sets; and was genuinely moved by the actors' commitment to and respect for the almost sacred material with which they worked. I also commend the network for taking a risk on programming that didn't fall into the category of "crappy reality television".

The hope when remaking movies is that doing so will bring old stories to new generations, and so while many critics knocked Carrie's performance, I thought she accomplished exactly what (I assume) the network wanted her to do: bring the story of the Von Trapp family to a new generation…a generation that wouldn't have tuned in without her in the leading role. I treasured the opportunity to introduce Will and Hallie to this iconic musical through the magic of television.

Hallie found Maria and the children mesmerizing, and now that she and I have watched the entire three-hour program three (?) times and play the soundtrack on repeat, she's a Sound of Music singing machine. She's an especially big fan of The Lonely Goatherd, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, and "the Goodbye Song" (when the children sing "so long, farewell…" on their way out of their father's party), and now she's started to bring the Sound of Music into her everyday life as well…

She's changed the words of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" to "I am 35 going on 55" in what she tells me is my honor. Funny how I just don't feel honored.

If you recall, Captain Von Trapp calls for his children using a whistle. Midway through a little chitchat with Grandpa, Hallie had to "go take care of something". As she walked away she turned to Grandpa and said, "Grandpa, when I whistle for you, get up and come to me". 

AJ and Ferrell's engagement party lasted late into the evening, but because the kids were behaving themselves, Tom and I let them stay up until long past their bedtime. When we finally decided they should hit the hay, I helped them change into their pajamas and brush their teeth and then I sent them upstairs to the party to say goodnight. Will walked quickly through the guests, hugging Grandma, Grandpa, AJ, and Ferrell, and then went back downstairs to bed. Hallie, on the other hand, breezed back into the party with a flourish. Tom gestured across the room, in the direction of AJ and Ferrell, and asked her to dole out her hugs. She slowly assessed crowd, took a deep breath, and with determination in her voice, replied, "wow, that's a lot of hugs". She then proceeded to hug every single partygoer, most of whom she'd never met before. 

Finally, as she and I headed toward the stairs after the hugging marathon, she tugged on my arm and asked, "Mama, do you think I should sing myself out?"

The world is her stage, and for the rest of my days I'll be sitting front and center in the audience.
The hills are alive with the sound of music.

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