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Von Trapp family disappointed in Carrie Underwood as Von Trapp family matriarch

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Von Trapp family members, including real-life Maria von Trapp’s stepchildren and own children, are still in contact with the actors of the 1965 Hollywood version of “The Sound of Music.” After last night’s Carrie Underwood performance in “The Sound of Music Live,” it is highly unlikely though that Carrie Underwood will become one of the Von Trapp extended family members, reported ABC News via Yahoo on Dec. 6, 2013.

One of the Von Trapp family members, Myles von Trapp Derbyshire, who is the great grandson of Maria von Trapp, spoke for many viewers when he told ABC News that the casting of Carrie Underwood as Maria was disappointing.

"It's just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story. And although her voice is amazing, she doesn't have acting experience…. It's just the overall image, she's a country star, she won 'American Idol,' she's very public in kind of a tabloid way."

And after having seen Carrie Underwood in NBC’s Special “The Sound of Music Live,” most viewers would agree with Maria von Trapp’s great grandson. Carrie Underwood might have a great voice but she does not have the acting talent to portray a legendary figure like Maria.

The story of the Von Trapp family was originally inspired by Maria von Trapp’s book “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.” The book described the story of Maria von Trapp and her adventure from being a rebellious nun to becoming the governess of the seven children of the widowed naval commander Captain Georg Johannes von Trapp. Captain von Trapp’s first wife Agathe Whitehead von Trapp had died from scarlet fever. The plot for the story of the singing Von Trapp family takes place in Salzburg, Austria, during World War II. Still today, Salzburg proudly calls Maria the Von Trapp the family matriarch, and visitors can enjoy memorabilia of the famous Von Trapp family.

In 1956, Maria von Trapp’s memoir was first turned into a movie in Germany. As described by the Trapp Family Lodge website,

“In 1959, the play, 'The Sound of Music,' with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, opened on Broadway with Theodore Bikel playing the Captain and Mary Martin playing Maria. Maria Kutchera von Trapp and Johannes von Trapp attended the opening at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Because the play was so popular, in 1965, Hollywood made the story into a movie with Julie Andrews playing Maria and Christopher Plummer as Baron von Trapp. It was named Best Picture of The Year.”

“Our mother [Maria von Trapp] and Rosmarie were the only family members who met Julie Andrews. You can see both of them in the film for a split second passing through the arches near the cathedral in Salzburg.”

Some of the details of the history of the Von Trapp family were altered for the original movie and the musical. According to her memoir, Maria von Trapp was sent to the real Georg Ludwig von Trapp in Salzburg, Austria, to tutor just one child, not to take care of all of the children. Unlike the dramatic final scene of the musical, the Von Trapp family actually went by train to Italy and from there to London and then the United States.

As one of Maria von Trapp’s daughters explains,

“’The Sound of Music’ is a musical and was never meant to be a documentary about our life. Rodgers and Hammerstein were inspired to write it after reading our mother's book, ‘The Story of The Trapp Family.’ As we had given all of our rights to the German film company, we had no control over the content of ‘The Sound of Music’.”

Unfortunately, the Von Trapp family also had no control over who would be cast as Maria in NBC’s Special “The Sound of Music Live.”

According to ABC’s report, Maria von Trapp’s 28-year-old great grandson Myles von Trapp Derbyshire said that when Julie Andrews and Mary Martin portrayed Maria von Trapp, they were both well-respected actresses.

“[Our family has] had the conversations of who could play this role better and it was Anne Hathaway, for example. Here’s someone who just won an Oscar for a similar situation [in Les Miserables]. She was able to act and sing.”

In regard to Carrie Underwood’s acting skills and portrayal of the Von Trapp family’s original matriarch, Maria von Trapp’s great grandson said that “now we have this very glossy, tabloid figure playing this role.”



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