Having been successfully mounted in the US by NBC in 2013, ITV are planning their own two and a half hour live extravaganza of The Sound of Music for broadcast this Christmas.
The timeless and true story of Maria and the von Trapp family will come to life on soundstages at London’s Three Mills Studios. Based on the original stage musical with a book by Lindsay & Crouse and suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp, The Sound of Music Live! will include all of the songs from its classic score by Rodgers and Hammerstein, including How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, Edelweiss, Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, Climb Ev’ry Mountain and the title song.
The spectacular cast includes Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, Pygmalion, EastEnders) as Maria; Julian Ovenden (Downton Abbey, Smash, My Night With Reg) as Captain Georg von Trapp; Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge, She Stoops To Conquer, Coronation Street) as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong and Miller, Pointless, Danger Mouse) as Max Detweiler.
An impressive creative team will bring the production to life. Bafta nominated director Coky Giedroyc (Wuthering Heights, The Virgin Queen, Oliver Twist, Penny Dreadful) will be Creative Director; Tony award winning Martin Koch (Billy Elliot The Musical, Mamma Mia!) will be Musical Director. The Live television director is Richard Valentine. André Ptaszynski, Lee Connolly and Fiona Clark will executive produce.
ITV’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy Elaine Bedell said “This is the first time in the UK that this type of project has been attempted – a musical drama both performed and broadcast live – but big ambitious live television events is what ITV does well. We’ve assembled some of the very best talent both in front of and behind the camera and I can’t wait to see it all come together.”*
Victoria Fea, ITV’s Controller of Drama said “We are so thrilled to be making a landmark production of this eternally popular show, which promises to be a highlight of the Christmas schedules. There are some much-loved performers already preparing for the big night and we know they won’t disappoint.”
Ted Chapin, President of Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company said “The Sound of Music really is in a class by itself. Since the early sixties, it has lived on as both an award winning Broadway musical and an award winning film. The notion of creating a production for live television broadcast is a large undertaking, and one we are delighted ITV has taken on for what will undoubtedly be a Christmas time treat for the whole of the UK.”
The Sound of Music Live! was commissioned by Elaine Bedell, ITV’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy and Victoria Fea, Controller of Drama. It is an ITV Studios production for ITV.
*At least in recent years anyway, this type of production was a regular part of the TV schedule during the early days of live TV.