BBC TV - MARIA
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? That's the question on the lips of Graham Norton as he searches for a new Maria Von Trapp for the forthcoming West End production of The Sound of Music.
The brainchild of legendary impressario and composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? sets out on the unenviable task of trying to fill the wimple of Julie Andrews. Who could possibly be a nun in training, a governess, a will-o'-the wisp and a singing sensation?
Later this year Andrew Lloyd Webber and theatre producer David Ian's new production of The Sound of Music will be wowing the critics and packing them in. But in a twist, rather than pick their new leading lady themselves, they've decided to let you, the viewer, decide.
In the audition shows we'll see how thousands of potentials are whittled down to just ten finalists. Then each Saturday night our wannabe Marias will perform live for Andrew Lloyd Webber and a panel of three expert critics - David Ian, John Barrowman, leading man and musical theatre stalwart, and Zoe Tyler, a tough vocal coach.
They may not always sing their favourite things, but our would-be Marias will climb ev'ry mountain to achieve their West End dream. A dream that only you can realise, because it's not the judges they really have to impress - this time you have the final say.
Graham Norton - Host
Fresh from getting the nation on the dancefloor again with the second series of Strictly Dance Fever, Graham Norton takes up the role of host and impresario as he guides the viewers through the auditions and into the live weekly shows.
Throughout the audition process, Graham has been there to mop the brows, be a shoulder to cry on and do some serious hand-holding as thousands of girls were whittled down to ten finalists. The fewer the girls, the tighter the competition and the higher the emotions ran. Graham has seen the hopes, fears, excitement, elation, the tantrums and the tears.
He has met their mums, comforted their families and mixed with the theatrical elite - and gives the viewers his own unique take on the proceedings.
Graham will guide the potential Marias, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the critics and the viewers to the finale where only one hopeful will take a final bow.
What attributes are needed to solve a problem like Maria?
Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer David Ian have firm ideas about what their Maria should be like, but what do you think?
Use the form at the foot of the page to tell us what characteristics Maria should possess. In the meantime here's a selection of Andrew and Ian's thoughts.
I believe that all the productions of The Sound of Music in the past have cast a girl too old. - Andrew Lloyd Webber
She's only got to be funny. She's only got to be able to act. She's only got to be able to sing. It's quite simple... we're just looking for a star, that is all. - Andrew Lloyd Webber
Maria truly for me has got to be someone who has got a real personality. - David Ian
I would hope that when people vote they do realise that they've got to think of the kid too. That she's really got to be able to stand up there and make us really believe that it was worth all this effort. - Andrew Lloyd Webber
There is a tomboy in Maria, there is fun. - David Ian.
We've got to find a Maria who is that much younger, so that the story is that more daring. - Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Do you yearn to get into the habit and dress as a nun? Do you have a knack for making play clothes out of curtains? Or maybe you can create an outfit reminiscent of your favourite things or scenes and lyrics from the musical.
If you yearn to be alive with the sound of music, but don't think you've got what it takes to be the next Maria, fear not - the BBC still want you to show them what you're made of. They want you to send pictures of yourself recreating scenes and characters from The Sound of Music.
The best entries, as judged by the BBC, will then be published on their site. Top marks will go to entries them make us laugh out loud, ones that demonstrate a great deal of originality and flair - especially in the costume department, and for those that are just plain odd.
During the television series you will be given the chance to vote for your favourite entries on the BBC website (see links at top and bottom of this page). At the end of the competition there will be just one picture left standing based on your votes.
The competition winner will then, along with a friend, attend the debut performance of the winning Maria in the West End on 14th November 2006.
Please note, travel and accommodation are not included, winners under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
How to enter:
Or you can send copies to
Please don't send your precious original photographs because they cannot return them under any circumstances. Please only send copies. Don't forget to include your telephone number when sending your photo by post so we can get back to you if required.
The closing date for the competition is 8th August 2006.
Before submitting your entry, please ensure that:
you have read the Competition
By submitting an entry you are granting to the BBC the right to use your photo for the purpose of this competition. You retain all copyright in your photo and can continue to use it for any purpose.
Watch choice moments from the first audition show.
From thousands of entries two hundred were summoned to the London recall where Ian, Zoe and John gave their verdict and decided who would be going to Maria School:-
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER LINKS
Julie Andrews as Maria
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