ITV is moving forward with The Sound Of Music.
The commercial broadcaster has given the official greenlight to a two and a half hour live production based on the original stage musical featuring an all-star cast that includes, amongst others, Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge) and Julian Ovenden (Smash). The Sound Of Music Live! will air on ITV this Christmas.
“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”, said ITV’s Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “There are some much-loved performers already preparing for the big night and we know they won’t disappoint.”
The Sound Of Music Live! will retell the timeless and true story of Maria and the von Trapp family and is based on the original stage musical. The production will feature the songs from the 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.
Mr Selfridge alum Kara Toniton will play Maria von Trapp; while Downton Abbey’s Julian Ovenden has been cast as Captain Georg von Trapp. Rounding out the cast is Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge, She Stoops To Conquer) as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong (Pointless, Danger Mouse) as Max Detweiler.
ITV’s sister studio ITV Studios is producing The Sound Of Music Live!, with André Ptaszynski, Lee Connolly and Fiona Clark executive producing. BAFTA nominated director Coky Giedroyc (Penny Dreadful) is the Creative Director; Tony award winner Martin Koch (Mamma Mia!) is the Musical Director; while Richard Valentine will serve as the Live Television Director.
“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”, added ITV’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy Elaine Bedell. “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.
The official green-light for the project comes more than a year after it was first put in development. ITV has been keen to proceed with a live production of this classic ever since U.S. broadcaster NBC staged a live production in 2013 which drew a huge overnight audience of 18.6 million viewers. ITV’s The Sound Of Music Live! was commissioned by ITV’s Director of Entertainment and Comedy Elaine Bedell and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.