EXPERT PANEL ANNOUNCED FOR HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA? COMEDIC SENSATION GAVIN CRAWFORD TO HOST CBC’S TELEVISED SEARCH FOR THE NEXT MARIA VON TRAPP
CBC announced today that Simon Lee, Elaine Overholt and John Barrowman will help narrow the field of talented performers from all over Canada in the televised search for the next Maria von Trapp. The actress the country picks will star in the North American premiere of The Sound of Music at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre in October 2008.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ star Gavin Crawford will host the seven-week series HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA? A success on stage and screen, Crawford is best known for his standup comedy and as a series lead on CBC-TV’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. As host, he knows a thing or two about stage presence, having performed at the foremost comedy festivals in North America including H.B.O.’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (Aspen), and Just for Laughs Comedy Festival (Montreal).
The panel is internationally renowned: Simon Lee has worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber as his music supervisor and principal conductor for the last 12 years. He has worked in theatre, opera, film and the recording studio, with talents as diverse as José Carreras and Björk. Elaine Overholt is one of North America’s most respected vocal coaches, working with individuals, the casts of feature films (Chicago, Hairspray) and even the San Francisco Ballet. She has coached Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger and John Travolta. West End and Broadway leading man—and familiar to Canadian audiences as the star of Torchwood and Doctor Who—John Barrowman is a veteran performer who stars in musical theatre and television and performs in concerts worldwide.
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA? is the brainchild of legendary composer and impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, producer David Ian and the BBC. It was developed for a BBC television series with the hope of finding a bright young star for the UK production of The Sound of Music. The search has now come to Canada.
After auditioning Maria hopefuls in seven Canadian cities, the field has been narrowed to 50. The series will follow the Marias through rigorous auditions, training sessions and professional evaluations. The role of Maria von Trapp requires acting ability, singing ability and stage presence; prospective Marias will need to show the nation their “favourite things,” and how they can be a nun-in-training, a governess, a will-o-the-wisp and a singing sensation. After each live performance show, the panelists will offer their feedback and the voting Canadian viewers will determine who will win the coveted role.