Sound Of Music

Will Hart/NBC

Haters, did you eat your words at 11 p.m. on Thursday night?

Though Carrie Underwood recently revealed she's been receiving hate tweets since it was announced she was taking on the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in NBC's Sound of Music Live! special, her costars, most of whom are Broadway veterans (and Tony Award winners!) are coming to her defense.

E! News chatted with stars Christan Borle, Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald during their intense rehearsals for the live three-hour show about Underwood's "dedication and professionalism." Plus, they had nothing but praise for her leading man, True Blood's Stephen Moyer, who tackles the role of Captain von Trapp.

"Carrie came to rehearsal completely memorized, which put all of the theater veterans to shame!" Borle says of Underwood. "Last week, I finally finished memorizing, but she was there, day one, ready to go. And she's got that thing, that thing that makes her Carrie Underwood, which I think is going to work very well for Maria."

Borle, who starred on NBC's musical drama Smash, is also quick to dismiss Underwood's lack of Broadway experience as a reason she shouldn't be involved with the live retelling of the classic musical. "We are learning from her in terms of her dedication and professionalism," he explains. "I think the TV screen is going to eat her up and she's going to be lovely."

And Benanti seconds Borle's praise of the country superstar's work ethic, telling us, "She doesn't need our advice. She knows what she's doing. She's a live performer, she doesn't need our help."

Borle and Benanti also had nothing but gushing words for Stephen Moyer, their leading man.

"Stephen is so utterly charming and great and we are perhaps having a little bit too much fun together at times," Borle admits, while Benanti says the True Blood star and Underwood have "wonderful chemistry" together. "He's such a phenomenal actor," she gushes. "I think they bring out a lot of good stuff in each other."

So now we want to know what you thought of Underwood's performance. Do you think she put the theater vets to shame? Vote in our poll below!

Sound of Music Live!: How Did Carrie Underwood Do?
Did Carrie Underwood put the theater vets to shame?

To hear more from Borle, Benanti and McDonald, watch our interviews with them, as well as Moyer, above!

—Story originally posted Thursday, Dec. 5

(E! News and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

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