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Previewed 3 November 2006, Opened 15 November 2006, Closed 21 February 2009 at the London Palladium
Major London stage revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The Sound of Music, best remembered as the film starring Julie Andrews. This major production of The Sound of Music in London is being produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian and is directed by Jeremy Sams.
Originally starring Connie Fisher, who has now left, this production now stars Summer Strallen in the role of 'Maria' six times-a-week, on Tuesday to Saturday evenings and Saturday matinees. She will not perform at the Matinees on 22, 23, 26 December 2008 and 1 January 2009 or the Evening on 29 December 2008. In addition she will be on holday from 22 to 24 January 2009. Please note that casting and dates are subject to change, and if an actress is indisposed then the role will be covered in the usual manner by the understudy. Jeremy Sams' West End credits include the musical Spend Spend Spend at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1999.
"Connie Fisher's voice is pure and powerful, infused with the bright creaminess that is the hallmark of West End msucials... In Jeremy Sams's production, Connie's on fire; the songs are irresistible; and the children are very cute." The Sunday Telegraph
"The stalls are alive with The Sound Of Music and the big question is, did they really solve the problem of Maria? Nearly. Connie Fisher, who went from telesales to leading lady via a television talent show, is pretty in a bright-eyed, perky way. She has all the freshness and spirit the part requires to make a convincing transformation from unruly novice nun to big-sisterly governess and then capable wife. What's more, she can yodel, and makes one of my least favourite songs - about the understandably lonely goatherd - and another gloopy one about her favourite things, almost a pleasure... Jeremy Sams's handsome but oldfashioned production manages to avoid the camp style usually associated with singing nuns and a cute chorus of children, but an air of blandness blankets it. Sams makes a mistake in returning to Rodgers and Hammerstein's original stage show rather than to the film version, which handled the romance as well as the politics with much more tension. Now, for example, it's one of the children rather than the jealous Baroness who frightens Maria into leaving. While there's much to enjoy there's too much missing. Mainly, the Alps and my tears." The Mail on Sunday
For those familiar with the film version of The Sound of Music there are some changes in this stage version - Andrew Lloyd Webber said that he and the director, Jeremy Sams, did not want to stage a version of the movie so this production follows the original theatre script with a few exceptions: The song 'I Have Confidence in Me' has been added from the film in Act One while in Act Two the song 'An Ordinary Couple' has been substituted with 'Something Good'. In addition the hugely popular song 'My Favorite Things' is reprised in Maria's bedroom with the Children while 'The Lonely Goatherd', which originally played here, has now been set a couple of scenes later on the terrace of the Captain's mansion.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said regarding this production: "I have for years wanted to produce The Sound of Music myself. The theatre show is wonderfully crafted and I have always wanted to see the show cast with a young Maria who really do believe climbs a tree and scrapes her knees. But to find someone aged 20 who was a big enough name to fill the London Palladium semed a tall order to both myself and my co-producer David Ian. A promising discussion or two with Scarlett Johansson, who obviously ticked every box and by the way can really sing, sadly led nowhere. After this, both David and I thought the project was undoable. That is why I wondered if the show could be cast on TV. A year after David and I initially approached the BBC I found myself spending the summer in a way I never thought I would ever do, to whit having a great time with Graham Norton on live primetime TV. It is a serious and great pleasure to me that not only do I believe we discovered the perfect Maria in Connie Fisher but that several of our girls are already on the path of successful careers. I am proud that over 8 million people saw the final of a show devoted to musical theatre and even more proud that I know that Maria has rejuvenated the public appetite not just for The Sound of Music but for musicals across the board."
Although Connie Fisher had been playing the role of 'Maria' eight times-a-week, the following statement was issued by the producers in March 2007:: "Through a desire not to let the public down Connie Fisher sang through a heavy cold which has caused a vocal injury. The vocal chords are a muscle like any other and, as in the sporting world, when injured they require complete rest to recover. On her doctor's advice Connie has to take two weeks off from the show starting on Monday 5 March in order to allow the injury time to repair. The Sound of Music is a fantastic production with an enormously talented cast and we are very lucky in that, in Connie's absence, the role of Maria will be covered by Sophie Bould, who has been receiving standing ovations for her portrayal of Maria.
During this two weeks (Monday 5 - Saturday 17 March) of Connie Fisher's enforced medical absence from The Sound of Music, the producers of the show, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, have decided that anyone who wishes to exchange their tickets for later dates should get in touch with the ticket agency / box office from whom they bought their tickets. We regret that we may be unable to re-seat customers in the very near future (it may be as late as November) but we will be happy, in the circumstances, to re-seat as soon as we can. While Connie has now agreed to stay with the show through November to make this possible, you should be aware that many of the remaining original cast in the show may have left by then. For those of you who still intend to see the show this week and next, we are delighted to say that Connie's excellent understudy, Sophie Bould, is receiving standing ovations at every performance and, as you may have heard on BBC Breakfast News, we have received many emails commending her performance. This offer also applies to audience members who may already have seen the show this week (w/c Monday 5 March) without Connie and would like to go again. Please note that, regrettably this medical necessity coincides with a period which the producers agreed would be holiday dates for Lesley Garrett. During her holiday (Wednesday 7 - Friday 16 March) Lesley is giving her time free to Comic Relief to chair its Fame Academy."
Connie Fisher was scheduled to play the role of 'Maria' six times-a-week, on Tuesday to Saturday evenings and Saturday matinees. She played the role up to 23 February 2008 after when Summer Strallen took over the role, having previously featured in the Channel4 television series Hollyoaks.
The Sound of Music in London previewed from 3 November 2006, opened 15 November 2006 and closes 21 February 2009