Hosted by Graham Norton, the series hopes to find an actress to play the lead role of Maria von Trapp in the forthcoming West End revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer David Ian are co-producing the upcoming revival, and both are involved in the new television series.
Nationwide auditions for the role began April 22 in Belfast. Thousands auditioned for the part that was created onstage by Mary Martin and later immortalized on screen by Julie Andrews. Two-hundred potential Marias made it to the London callbacks, and 52 were chosen from that group. After an intensive four-day session, the 52 were whittled down to 20 possible Marias.
Lloyd Webber invited the 20 hopefuls to perform at his Sydmonton estate in front of a live audience. Half of the group was chosen to participate in the live reality show, where each singing actress will have the chance to demonstrate why she should be cast as Maria von Trapp.
The July 29 broadcast will follow the initial audition process, and the ten finalists will be revealed on the Aug. 5 program. Beginning with the Aug. 5 telecast, the finalists will perform live before a panel of judges that include composer Lloyd Webber, producer Ian, stage star John Barrowman and vocal coach Zoe Tyler. Although the judges will comment about the performances, it will be the viewers who will be able to vote by phone each week for their favorite candidate.
The upcoming West End revival of The Sound of Music is scheduled to begin previews at the London Palladium Nov. 4. Directed by Jeremy Sams, the musical will officially open Nov. 14. The Sound of Music originally opened at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in Nov. 1959. Mary Martin headed a cast that also included Theodore Bikel and Patricia Neway. Julie Andrews starred in the award winning film, and the most recent Broadway revival featured Rebecca Luker as the beloved Maria von Trapp. The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein score boasts such tunes as "Do Re Mi," "My Favorite Things," "The Sound of Music" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."
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