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Thread: Laura Benanti On Carrie Underwood, ‘Nashville’ Drama & Going Country

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    Obsessed Chart Watcher cary78663's Avatar
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    Laura Benanti On Carrie Underwood, ‘Nashville’ Drama & Going Country

    This article is mentioned in the Twitter thread. But I believe this deserves its own thread. It really gives us better idea of what Carrie accomplished in preparing for SOML.

    Laura Benanti Talks Carrie Underwood, 'Nashville' Drama, Going Country

    For Underwood’s part in hooking in potential new fans, Benanti is ecstatic. “I’m grateful for Carrie. A lot of people tuned in to see her [in ‘Sound Of Music’], who may not even know what musical theatre is and maybe don’t know what that genre is. I’ve had girls follow me on Twitter who were like ‘I didn’t even know something like this existed and now I’m listening to this cast recording and that cast recording.’ It just makes me so happy because it is truly an American art form. Jazz, apple pie, baseball and musical theatre. There needs to be some pride in that. I’d like to take back the feeling that just because you are in musical theatre means somehow you are a less serious actress or you’re not as good of an actress. That’s just not true. If a musical is done well, it’s extraordinary.”

    Working with Underwood was “incredible,” she says. “She is so detailed oriented and hard-working and brave. I marveled at watching her. What she was able to accomplished in six weeks is superhuman. What I wish people would have seen was the first rehearsal compared to where we got to. She became an actress in six weeks, and that’s incredible. I’m so inspired by her.”
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    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    Thanks Cary, it does deserve it's own thread! Laura said such wonderful things about Carrie!!!!

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    Ultimate Carrie Fan HuiZ's Avatar
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    You know she's a fan for life.
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    Obsessed Carrie Fan PRGuy79's Avatar
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    A really nice article! I feel like Carrie's involvement with Laura on SOML may have paved the way for Laura to work on Nashville. Certainly Laura is talented and capable of anything! The timing is interesting to me - like the Nashville scene moved onto Laura's radar after she met Carrie. And certainly Carrie's connections could help open doors to new opportunities. Very cool!
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    Thanks Cary love it.
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    Almost everyone that takes the time to really get to know Carrie and see what she is really all about seems to fall in love with her. She is so very very special.
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    Insane Carrie Fan carrieguy2's Avatar
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    it does deserve its own thread. what a great tribute to Carrie!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cary78663 View Post
    This article is mentioned in the Twitter thread. But I believe this deserves its own thread. It really gives us better idea of what Carrie accomplished in preparing for SOML.

    Laura Benanti Talks Carrie Underwood, 'Nashville' Drama, Going Country
    This is a great example of a win-win situation for all involved. It seems to have provided growth opportunities for everyone. I still have SOML on my DVR and continue to enjoy watching, especially my favorite Carrie scenes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaylee50 View Post
    This is a great example of a win-win situation for all involved. It seems to have provided growth opportunities for everyone. I still have SOML on my DVR and continue to enjoy watching, especially my favorite Carrie scenes.
    I wish I still had my DVR of SOML, it would be a lot simpler to watch whenever I felt like seeing a bit of it than putting in the DVD. I'll have to DVR when it comes on again.
    oldyfan and jaylee50 like this.

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    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    Still have mine. It is easier!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow1 View Post
    Still have mine. It is easier!!
    Lucky you! I moved, so I lost all my DVR from last year. The only problem with recording SOML is that I already have RRHOF and now Global Citizen recorded. I can't bring myself to delete them, so after SOML, it won't be long before I won't have room to record anything else! Then there's the CMAs, the Military special, the Christmas special, but will probably only save them for a short time to rewatch Carrie a few times. Then I can rewatch those performances on my computer. Between that and all the voting, Carrie is becoming a full time job, lol!

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    Carrie Guru Carrie_Rocks_The_House's Avatar
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    I like when other people say nice things to Carrie

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    Huge Carrie Follower cmuf2011's Avatar
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    As long as i have internet and I'm not in class or something i can watch soml whenever I want, brought it back it 2014. I need internet cause my choices are download to device which means less room for apps, games, etc. Or just not download and watch it when i have internet and most of the time i have internet.

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    Carrie Fans Maniac kewlie78189's Avatar
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    wow love this. Really does give us a look into what she did to prepare!
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, Laura, herself, was an asset to this production, playing a sophisticated woman, with personal ambition, but underneath, an understanding and warmth, which turned what might have been a relatively unlikeable role into one that the audience could sympathize with.

    In a way, I'm one of the people that Laura has in mind. I hadn't seen any other version of the play, and wasn't really familiar with the songs (though, for some reason, the chorus of the Lonely Goatherd had stuck in my mind from somewhere, lol)

    I mentioned some weeks ago that I recorded this version when it was shown on UK television at Easter, and I showed it as a birthday treat for an elderly relative, in her nineties. (She was delighted with it, and, although she had originally planned to watch it in installments, she didn't want it to stop, and we watched it all through in one sitting!)

    Recently, I watched it again, on my own - and, this time (as it had been given mixed reactions) I concentrated on the acting.

    It's unfair for me to make comparisons with the Andrews version, which I haven't seen - but I will say that Carrie seemed a very suitable casting for the role, as I interpreted it. This is a role for a girl, apparently orphaned, who grew up on a mountainside, with a close empathy for the countryside around her, and for music - which is her main way of expressing her feelings. She has a strong faith, and feels a calling to serve God as a nun. She has little experience of life, either in sophisticated society away from her natural home, or within the structured walls of the abbey, with its devotion to hours of meditation, obedience and prayer. She longs to fit into the Abbey's devotional life, but at the same time feels drawn to the more free-spirited expression of joy, nature and singing, on her beloved mountain.

    I think Carrie was very well cast in that role. For me, the role required an air of open eyed innocence, surprise, hesitancy, and modesty, alternating with a desire to speak her mind in a spontaneous belief that enthusiasm and a sense of the right should not be bounded by a compliant silence. (In many ways, a contrast, with the more worldly character of Max, who takes refuge in a quick-tongued affable patter, but never pins himself down to any meaningful principle.)
    In Carrie's interpretation of her character, I didn't see the "doe in the headlights" air of an ingenue actress out of her depth - I saw a believable portrayal of a girl caught between two worlds that were difficult to reconcile, and showing tension between emotional confusion and outbursts of spontaneous feeling.

    Although we obviously can't see into Carrie's personal feelings, I like to think she saw echoes of some of the character's emotions in her own early experiences - and, if so, it may have helped her to make the role meaningful. In any case, I found it a very believable portrayal.

    I think Carrie was at her best in the scenes with the Reverend Mother (which struck me as mutually sympathetic acting, and a particularly believable pairing), and with the children. Where, for me, the production encountered more difficulty was in the scenes with the Captain. The male character is drawn as an emotionally traumatized man, bereft by widowhood and finding it difficult to relate alone to his children. Instead he takes refuge in his background of naval discipline, and in his social background of stiff formality. As written, the characterization will tend to appear formal, stiff and rather wooden (though handled with sensitivity, it will bring out the two sympathetic aspects of the Captain's persona - his love for his children, and his principles in refusing to surrender his country to the Nazis). Nevertheless, for parts of the production, his is a difficult character to act against - and I think responding to this may have been the hardest part of Carrie's role. But look at Carrie's facial expressions during the scene at the fountain, when they sing together the number about 'somewhere in my youth or childhood'. This struck me as a true love scene - and again, very believable.

    I came to this play fresh, as a novice, as it were - and I thought Carrie's acting was also fresh, and, as such believable. For me, it fitted the intention of the writers, helping to make the play both understandable and meaningful. Some have taken the line 'never mind the acting - her singing was brilliant'. That may have been the case for more seasoned theatrical buffs - but for me, it rather short-changes the achievement. For me, it was an all-round performance, of more subtlety than has sometimes been credited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farawayhills View Post
    Thanks for posting, Laura, herself, was an asset to this production, playing a sophisticated woman, with personal ambition, but underneath, an understanding and warmth, which turned what might have been a relatively unlikeable role into one that the audience could sympathize with.

    In a way, I'm one of the people that Laura has in mind. I hadn't seen any other version of the play, and wasn't really familiar with the songs (though, for some reason, the chorus of the Lonely Goatherd had stuck in my mind from somewhere, lol)

    I mentioned some weeks ago that I recorded this version when it was shown on UK television at Easter, and I showed it as a birthday treat for an elderly relative, in her nineties. (She was delighted with it, and, although she had originally planned to watch it in installments, she didn't want it to stop, and we watched it all through in one sitting!)

    Recently, I watched it again, on my own - and, this time (as it had been given mixed reactions) I concentrated on the acting.

    It's unfair for me to make comparisons with the Andrews version, which I haven't seen - but I will say that Carrie seemed a very suitable casting for the role, as I interpreted it. This is a role for a girl, apparently orphaned, who grew up on a mountainside, with a close empathy for the countryside around her, and for music - which is her main way of expressing her feelings. She has a strong faith, and feels a calling to serve God as a nun. She has little experience of life, either in sophisticated society away from her natural home, or within the structured walls of the abbey, with its devotion to hours of meditation, obedience and prayer. She longs to fit into the Abbey's devotional life, but at the same time feels drawn to the more free-spirited expression of joy, nature and singing, on her beloved mountain.

    I think Carrie was very well cast in that role. For me, the role required an air of open eyed innocence, surprise, hesitancy, and modesty, alternating with a desire to speak her mind in a spontaneous belief that enthusiasm and a sense of the right should not be bounded by a compliant silence. (In many ways, a contrast, with the more worldly character of Max, who takes refuge in a quick-tongued affable patter, but never pins himself down to any meaningful principle.)
    In Carrie's interpretation of her character, I didn't see the "doe in the headlights" air of an ingenue actress out of her depth - I saw a believable portrayal of a girl caught between two worlds that were difficult to reconcile, and showing tension between emotional confusion and outbursts of spontaneous feeling.

    Although we obviously can't see into Carrie's personal feelings, I like to think she saw echoes of some of the character's emotions in her own early experiences - and, if so, it may have helped her to make the role meaningful. In any case, I found it a very believable portrayal.

    I think Carrie was at her best in the scenes with the Reverend Mother (which struck me as mutually sympathetic acting, and a particularly believable pairing), and with the children. Where, for me, the production encountered more difficulty was in the scenes with the Captain. The male character is drawn as an emotionally traumatized man, bereft by widowhood and finding it difficult to relate alone to his children. Instead he takes refuge in his background of naval discipline, and in his social background of stiff formality. As written, the characterization will tend to appear formal, stiff and rather wooden (though handled with sensitivity, it will bring out the two sympathetic aspects of the Captain's persona - his love for his children, and his principles in refusing to surrender his country to the Nazis). Nevertheless, for parts of the production, his is a difficult character to act against - and I think responding to this may have been the hardest part of Carrie's role. But look at Carrie's facial expressions during the scene at the fountain, when they sing together the number about 'somewhere in my youth or childhood'. This struck me as a true love scene - and again, very believable.

    I came to this play fresh, as a novice, as it were - and I thought Carrie's acting was also fresh, and, as such believable. For me, it fitted the intention of the writers, helping to make the play both understandable and meaningful. Some have taken the line 'never mind the acting - her singing was brilliant'. That may have been the case for more seasoned theatrical buffs - but for me, it rather short-changes the achievement. For me, it was an all-round performance, of more subtlety than has sometimes been credited.
    Beautifully written! I felt the same way about Carrie's portrayal of Maria. Love that you played it for your elderly relative, so sweet and thoughtful!

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    Ultimate Carrie Fan jptexas's Avatar
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    For me, I thought Carrie played the part just right. Remember, there were no retakes unlike the movie that she was unfairly compared to. I remember people unfairly saying, well she didn't get nominated for her part. I'll remind everyone that, neither was Laura, Christian, Audra, or Stephen who are trained actors. So given that Carrie had to learn all that dialogue and sing all those songs, one while bouncing on a bed and in perfect pitch, she did a magnificent job.

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    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    You expressed my feelings about Carrie's performance so much better than I ever could, Faraway!!!!

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    i love laura!! and this makes me love her even more!
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    I think Carrie portrayed Maria perfectly. Carrie as a novice was a bit shy/reserved, especially when first arriving at the VonTrapps. As a married woman, and stepmother, she displayed maturity and confidence. I absolutely loved her in this role.


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