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'Sound of Music': Laura Benanti talks live performance, Carrie Underwood, and why musicals are ready for a comeback

TV fans may already know Laura Benanti from roles on Go On, The Playboy Club, Law and Order:SVU, and many others. And of course theater lovers have long been fans of the Tony-winning Broadway performer. On Thursday night, the two worlds merged when Benanti stole the show as Elsa in NBC’s ratings smash Sound of Music Live!, leading more than a few viewers to hope that Captain von Trapp might end up with her as opposed to Maria.

While nothing so sacrilegious happened, Benanti is enjoying increased attention since the broadcast. EW talked with the actress Friday afternoon about her day-of prep, tweeting offstage, and what she’s planning next.
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'The Sound of Music Live!': Take a peek at dress rehearsal -- PHOTOS

The nation is gearing up for perhaps the most important cultural event of our time: NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, starring Carrie Underwood as musical theater’s favorite governess (a title that is perhaps more competitive than you’d think).

The must-watch event hits your TV on Thursday at 8 pm ET, and surely you’ve already programmed your DVR accordingly. If you haven’t been voraciously listening to the album on Spotify (and cried copious nun-related tears thanks to Audra McDonald’s “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”), EW’s got another exciting exclusive to appease your Austro-Hungarian appetite.

Check out these great exclusive photos from Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, which is the closest thing you’ll get to the real deal until Thursday night’s extravaganza. Feast your eyes on McDonald and the nuns singing “Maria”, Underwood getting cozy with Stephen Moyer’s Captain Von Trapp, and the Von Trapp children singing “So Long Farewell,” arguably one of Broadway’s best child-based bedtime numbers.
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'Sound of Music Live!': Hear Carrie Underwood and Audra McDonald sing 'My Favorite Things' -- EXCLUSIVE

Raindrops on roses. Whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles. Warm woolen mittens. These are not just title ideas I have for my YA novel — they’re the favorite things of Maria, the vocally blessed nun-turned-governess-turned-music teacher at the heart of one of the most beloved musicals of all-time, The Sound of Music.

Fans are buzzing about NBC’s upcoming live special of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, starring Carrie Underwood as Maria, Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp, Broadway vets Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti and Christian Borle, and a cast of seven young performers who will star as the Von Trapp children.

The Dec. 5 performance will air live on NBC, and theater aficionados are patiently waiting for any glimpse of the high-profile production. Luckily, EW has an exclusive sneak listen!

Get your earbuds ready for this short but sweet exclusive first listen to Carrie Underwood and Audra McDonald’s rendition of “My Favorite Things.” (In the musical, as opposed to the film, the song takes place early in the first act, when Maria still thinks she’s going to be a nun.) Take a listen to the song, which is a sneak preview from the upcoming Sony Masterworks soundtrack (available Dec. 3). Come Dec. 5, don’t be stuck out herding goats, all lonely-like — tune in for The Sound of Music Live! at 8 p.m. ET.
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