A seven-city audition process will be part of the upcoming eight-week CBC Television series produced by Temple Street Productions in association with CBC TV.
On the show, the Canadian public "will choose who will play the most famous role in musical theatre" in a brand-new production of the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and David Mirvish. The musical will open in October 2008 at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre.
Open casting calls will be held in the cities listed below on the following days:
Location and times will be announced at a later date. "We are thrilled to offer Canadians this unique opportunity to help select the next star of one of the world's most beloved musicals," stated Kirstine Layfield, executive director of Network Programming for CBC Television.
Set to broadcast on CBC in summer 2008, "the series will catch all the drama and theatrics of the audition process and the inevitable eliminations." Canadian viewers will have the responsibility of voting to determine who they think should be Maria. Once selected, "the new Maria will immediately join rehearsals with the rest of the cast on the stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto."
The Toronto concept is borrowed from a UK tradition started by composer-producer Lloyd Webber, producer David Ian and the BBC. A series cast a newcomer in a new London revival of the musical.
"The television show enjoyed incredible popularity that carried on to the stage production at the legendary London Palladium," according to production notes. "This success made a star of Connie Fisher, the young woman chosen by the British public to play Maria."
Producer David Ian helmed a similar show — "Grease: You're the One That I Want," in the U.S. — that cast the Danny and Sandy in the current Broadway production of Grease.
Andrew Lloyd Webber stated, "I am delighted that 'How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?' is coming to Canada. It was an enormous success in the UK. We discovered a fantastic Maria. Not only that, we discovered many talented actresses who have also gone on to play leading roles around the UK and the icing on the cake was that we won an Emmy."
The Canadian version of show will "audition thousands across the country narrowing the group to 200 who will be invited for callbacks in Toronto." From this group approximately 50 women will be selected to attend "Maria School" for further training.
"The show will follow the Marias as they endure rigorous auditions, training sessions and honest evaluations," according to the producers. "The role requires acting ability, singing ability and stage presence. Prospective Marias will need to show the nation their 'favorite things,' and how they can be a nun-in-training, a governess, a will-o-the-wisp and a singing sensation."
For more information on the show and to register for an audition, visit areyoumaria.com.
"How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" is executive produced by Sheila Hockin, David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg.
The Sound of Music has music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by "The Trapp Family Singers" by Maria Augusta Trapp.