12/05/2013 06:05 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2013

How 'The Sound Of Music Live!' Came To Life

NBC via Getty Images

Tonight's the night. The highly anticipated "The Sound of Music Live!" finally debuts on NBC.

The three-hour live event has been written about extensively online, and also covered in NBC's own hour-long "Making of 'The Sound of Music Live!'" special, which aired last week.

The live musical stars Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer as Maria and Captain von Trapp, which were originally played by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in the 1965 film. The NBC version airing tonight will not be based on the film, but instead the 1959 stage version, which already differs from the film version in numerous ways.

Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan were interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter about the nerve-wracking experience of bringing this beloved musical to the screen ... again.

In the interview, Meron and Zadan talk about the daunting task of casting Maria, who most people associate with Julie Andrews. "Carrie was our first choice from day one because we felt we loved the surprise of Carrie as an actress," said Meron. "We also felt that Carrie was Maria. She has all of the qualities of Maria."

Meron and Zadan note that the rest of the casting process wasn't so simple, and it wasn't until they knew that Stephen Moyer was about to perform in "Chicago" at the Hollywood Bowl that they realized they found their Captain.

Even though Moyer is known to most audiences as vampire Bill on HBO's "True Blood," he told Entertainment Weekly that he wasn't scared away by a live musical because of the length of rehearsal time. "It’s because they gave us a proper rehearsal period. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan have done a brilliant job of doing it like a Broadway show."

When asked about having any reservations about reviving a classic musical Zadan said: "We are hoping that audiences would want to see where the movie came from with the same story and with the same familiar songs but a little bit different." Though they also told The Hollywood Reporter that they were reviving the stage musical, not the movie. "We are staying true to the way every word was written for the Broadway stage."

Meron added, "I think that the audience will discover, within the first few minutes of watching the show, that they are not seeing a TV version of the movie. They'll know right away it's 'The Sound of Music,' but it's a different 'Sound of Music' than they are accustomed to seeing on film."

Whether the live musical is a hit with viewers and critics remains to be seen, but to see the live event for yourself, tune in tonight at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.



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