By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 16, 2013 at 5:49PM
Tony Award winner and stage veteran Audra McDonald, has been added to the cast of the scheduled December 5 NBC production of The Sound of Music.
McDonald, who has won five Tonys, as well as two Grammy Awards, will portray Mother Abbess in the TV production. She joins Laura Benanti and Christian Borle, who were also recently added to the project's cast.
Carrie Underwood is set to star as Maria, and Stephen Moyer will play Capt. Von Trapp.
McDonald's Mother Abbess is the head of Nonnberg Abbey. She convinces Maria to leave the Abbey and explore life as a governess. She also later convinces Maria to return and face her fears, to see what might come of them (including falling in love with Von Trapp), when she comes back to the Abbey.
Peggy Wood, who played Mother Abbess in the 1965 film, was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress—Motion Picture, for her performance.
The three-hour production will be based on the original 1959 Broadway production of The Sound of Music, which starred Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel.
The music and lyrics for The Sound of Music were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, respectively with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.
The Sound of Music is executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford will serve as directors.
The TV presentation will be produced by Universal Television.
Here's a clip from the filmed version of Sound Of Music, featuring the scene in which Mother Abbess convinces Maria to "climb every mountain..." (which includes one song that Audra will likely be singing in the NBC production):