how to solve a problem like Maria

  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    I was abroad so I knew nothing about the first episodes and refused to watch this on the principle anyway.

    But then I learnt yesterday that my friend Helena Blackman is in the final 9!

    She is a classically trained soprano with an amazing clear strong voice, she is also a great performer and the nicest girl on hearth! (trust me, I was in a show with her 3 months ago and she IS amazing!)

    For some reason they made her sing some pop(?!?) last week so she nearly got booted out!

    But she would be a very good Maria!

    Please support her and vote for her!!! (pleeeeease!)

    Then we'll get a real good professional playing the part in the West-End! She deserves it!

    And if you are still doubting, she went to the last recall for Cosette in les mis 3 months ago (so she nearly got her west-end lead via the normal channels anyway)

    I count on you! It's the right thing to do!

    Claire x

    • 22nd Sep 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    Having just looked up info on the final 10 contestants on the BBC website and spotlight it would seem that just over half of them are professional. So who ever wins I hope its one of the professionals.

    I think the program is about getting bums on seats for the show as Andrew LW could not get the big star he wanted for the role. But if the professionals in the final 10 use the TV exposure to the best advantage they could all be winners in there own way.

    I have put the bit of info I found below.

    Cheers

    TRACEY

    -------------

    Helena Blackman, 23

    From Southampton, but now lives in London

    Occupation Performer and waitress

    Experience Professional for two years. Went to Guilford School of Acting.

    Agent listed in Spotlight: ADRIAN KING ASSOCIATES

    Connie Fisher, 23

    From Pembrokeshire, Wales but now lives in London

    Occupation Telesales and acting

    Experience Mountview Theatre School, 1st BA Hons Musical Theatre

    Agent listed in Spotlight: C A M

    Simona Armstrong, 28

    From Romania. Lived in Glasgow and now in Greenford, London

    Occupation Actress/receptionist

    Experience Vocal training at Bucharest Academy. Acting roles in Romania and the UK.

    Agent listed in Spotlight: A & B PERSONAL MANAGEMENT LTD

    Abi Finley, 23

    From Prestwich, Manchester

    Occupation Student

    Experience MA Acting and Musical Theatre (Central School of Speech and Drama) and lots of amateur dramatics.

    Agent listed in Spotlight c/oTHE SPOTLIGHT

    Aoife Mulholland, 28

    From Salthill, Galway

    Occupation Student

    Experience Music Degree from University College Dublin, MA Acting Musical Theatre (Central School of Speech and Drama), ex-lead singer in funk/jazz band, lots of amateur dramatics.

    Agent listed in Spotlight: c/o THE SPOTLIGHT

    Belinda Evans, 28

    From Somerset

    Occupation Singer/voice coach

    Experience Masters degree in Music from the Welsh College of Music and Drama, professional singer recitals and television performances, part-time vocal coach.

    Not in Spotlight

    Leanne Dobinson, 20

    From Colchester, Essex

    Occupation Unemployed

    Experience Singing lessons age 12-15. Self-taught to sing in Italian, French, German and Latin.

    Not in Spotlight.

    Meliz Serman, 23

    From Chingford, London

    Occupation Worked as a fashion PA for four years

    Experience BMus and Masters in Music Performance and BA Hons Music (City University). Voice training at Guildhall.

    Not in Spotlight

    Siobhan Dillon, 21

    From Staffordshire

    Occupation London College of Fashion student/promotions girl

    Experience Singing lessons age 10-15.

    Not in Spotlight.

    Laura Sicurello, 26

    From Milton Keynes

    Occupation Police Intelligence Officer

    Experience Singing lessons for two years when young. Totally untrained voice. Some amateur theatre performances since age 8.

    Not in Spotlight.

    • 14th Aug 2006
    • 1
  • User Deleted

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    Hey there,

    Watched this for the first time last night and am actually sadly hooked! I thought that Abi was excellent and that the judges were so harsh! Although have to say that Siobhan just blew me away. Best of luck to them all as this is a great opportunity (even if the reasons behind it aren't so noble)

    Ben

    • 3rd Sep 2006
    • 2
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Sadly,

    I just think it may hopefully work out to their advantage but its a disgrace that its even being done this way...its undignifying to make the public who know very little about the profession and the struggles of performers decide..and to even put them on the line like this... its an insult to all performers in my opinion. As if it isnt hard enogh to get a job, now they are paraded for public spectacle..

    soon its reality TV therapy.. in the psychologists office... then sexual problems ...and maybe even funerals next...

    • 3rd Sep 2006
    • 3
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    You DO realise that Maria is already been picked and by, not ant of the girls on the show? Please look back in general chat and see what we have been moaning about. Sorry hun, I ain't voting for noone who has gone through reality to make a name for themselves. If it was a reality show like a fly on wall documentary then maybe I'd watch it, but hey, public vote for what should be a pro anyway? No, sadly I am too proud to dignify a vote on such a thing, keep that for the amateurs!

    Hate me if you like, I have worked too hard to get where I am, no I ain't famous, but then I aren't in it for that, but I make a living and am thankful to be able to, anyone that wants fame from this business should go and rob a bank, you'd be famous in a second!!!

    Sorry, but that's my opinion

    Kenny

    • 4th Sep 2006
    • 4
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Personally,

    I tend to agree with Kenny on this one....

    • 5th Sep 2006
    • 5
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    No matter how much you might feel against it or hate the idea...it is happening...the remaining contestants are all very talented...they have all been given the opportunity to show what they can do and are working extremely hard...ok so theyve been given a short cut...but they wouldn't still be on it if they weren't all very good at what they do. I don't disagree with anything said but there are surely positives that can be taken..? And can we not be happy for those who have been given this chance?

    • 5th Sep 2006
    • 6
  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I dont think anyone resents that aspect. I seriously dont resent that they are getting a chance. i have an issue that they should NOT be humiliated to public spectacle and be judged by a public that does not understand what they have worked for.

    The fact is that they are desperate actors in an industry that is especialy cruel to women as there are fewer parts available so they are doing the best they can, but its an abuse of power on the producers side to make people go through this... if a professional gets the job, no one will mind...as long as they can do the job.

    The positive is certanily that they are getting a chance but its especially cruel for the judges to do this, most who used to be actors themselves. Zoe Tyler came to South Africa with a bunch of singers to do concerts there..she was in Les Mis etc and I saw her in South Africa...

    All the singers are mostly very good, but they stomach the humilation and allow their pound of flesh to be cut out and put on a brave face....I feel total compassion for them as I am also a teacher of voice and singing and dont think ANYONE should have to be put through that just to get a job. Its total abuse.

    The more people in teh industry who vote mean that its being supported. Even Equity has strong strong issues with it and is opposing it.

    Thats why I agree with Kenny. The only positive here is that they are being seen but the producers have all the power here and its about good TV and ratings.. not about talent. I know someone who ahs been cast in the musical and rumour is that tey have cast someone for four shows a week anyway....

    They will be seen, but people will either feel total compassion for them t have to endure this type of spectacle or total disrespect for them...

    but any publicity is good publicity and it will work out to thier advantage..at least they wont have trouble getting an agent as thier work is easy is to be seen!!!!!

    • 5th Sep 2006
    • 7
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Thanks Blake, and Ben? You're missing the point here, I aren't saying they're not talented, I AM saying it's a reality TV show. Now some are great, 'Supernanny', 'Neighbours from Hell', 'Ibiza Uncovered' now they are good shows. But others, that make celebs out of cranks? now that's just cheap TV.

    How do you solve a problem like Maria, X-Factor, Big Brother and anything along those lines that are financed by people phoning in (and believe me millions a week do at 1.50GBP a pop - do the math) Cheap TV!

    As far as the contestants? They're being used solely to create money and in this particular case, to generate bums on seats, and it's really a great idea. So why not do it as a fly on the wall documentary instead of a popularity vote? It's tacky and I'm sorry to say the winner will always be remembered for winning that reality show, NOT for being in The Sound Of Music as Maria. Look at Jade Goody, she's made a couple of (actually) very good reality shows 'Jade's Salon' and the recent perfume one. Good old fashioned documentary style reality, hats off to her but?? Everything in the paper still relates to BB's Jade.

    Personally I'd rather be noticed for a role, a film or a song I'd been involved with rather than carry that stigma. Professionals should know better, but then Blake's right, there aren't many high profile roles these days for women, though things are changing, I just hope they change for the better

    • 7th Sep 2006
    • 8
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    They will be forever associated with that programme, however, so is any actor that has been involved in any tv series i.e

    "you know its got that bloke from eastenders in it"

    , it is just that they are in the prime time viewing slot, I really don;t think that it will hinder their career. They are performing and showcasing their capabilities for hard work and determination aswell as their singing/dancing/acting skills. if I was an employer I think that would be a good thing. It just depends on the employer having the imagination to view these actresses in other roles.

    good luck to them :)

    rebecca

    • 7th Sep 2006
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  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    I know what you're saying Rebecca but completely different stigma, I'd rather be that guy from Eastenders than that guy off that reality thing? Makes sense to me anyway

    • 7th Sep 2006
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Read this in the metro this morning

    " Tv talent search winner Connie Fisher will not star in all the performances of The Sound of Music revival, it emerged yesterday."

    it then went on to say

    "we certainly do not want her to end up like Julie, who strained here vice when young and who can no longer sing"

    So there you go , that's the reason their worried about her voice ;)

    • 18th Sep 2006
    • 11
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    but we could say the same thing about untrained actors taking our jobs???we didnt pay thousands to train for nothing. Thats why im glad connie won as she is a professional musical theatre artist who deserves that chance.its restored my faith in the british public and reality shows.

    • 18th Sep 2006
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    btw my post was in response to Kennys not your rebecca x

    • 18th Sep 2006
    • 13
  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    I heard that Connie will do 6 shows a week with Emma as alternate who will do 2 shows.

    It regularly happens that way for west-end shows when the part is very demanding. Opera singers never sing 8 shows a week, they have alternates too. It doesn't mean they are not trained or professional. Connie is a fabulous performer and well done to her.

    Helena arrived second, she did so well and can be very proud of herself!

    I'm sure the career of the last 3 girls will just go up from here as Andrew really likes them and every casting director has seen them and knows how good they are.

    Looking back on the whole thing, I think they made the right decision to do this. It is not reality TV, it's a talent competition.

    Andrew came accross as a very nice guy and I am glad I have seen this side of him.

    I think everyone genuinely cared about the girls.

    My only regret is that they sang pop and not musical theatre, they missed the opportunity to introduce musical theatre to a larger audience.

    • 18th Sep 2006
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  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    Personally I do not feel that the girls were treated very well at all. The critisims they received in front of millions of viewers are not things you would EVER have said to you in an audition room.

    Call me a cynic, but this was all just a huge publicity drive for the show. No one involved gives 2 hoots about the girls.

    I hope they manage to source work from their experience, which I am sure they will, even if it is only to sell tickets at panto this year and then enter the big bad profession for real next year.

    They have been given a good springboard and it would be awful if it backfired on them.

    I admire their spirit and their patience!

    • 18th Sep 2006
    • 15
  • Kenny Richards-Preston

    Actor

    Well Claire,

    Yes I heard similar but heard it was Emma doing 6 and Connie doing 2, well to say I heard I read in matter of fact but hey!

    Yes I'm also glad a muscial theatre artiste won the contest. I am about to sound like a parrot here but! All the girls deserved the chance to play Maria, unfortunately they were never in the running for the full time part, which is fair from a producers point of view. At the end of the day none of the girls were seasoned veterans to carry a west end/broadway show. I mean it's not Film where they can afford to take shoot after shoot and record the vocals in a studio for them to lip sinc too!!!

    My grief as I have said again and again is it all came down to a public vote, since has the general public had the capacity to know what is and isn't vocal clarity and stage presence? Come on now, just look at some of the top ten films and music choices for christ sakes. It was a bloody popularity contest, the only saving grace was that Andrew could keep his potentials, but then even Andrew realised that the public would only vote their most popular which is why he booked whom he did to be on the safe side.

    It should have been a fly on the wall documentary of what went on inside the musical theatre industry, it shouldn't have tried to be a side by side runner for "Crap Factor"!

    All of the girls I saw could have been Maria, it's a shame they were put through a public voting popularity contest to get the reserve part.

    Sorry, I'm just passionate about this business

    Kenny

    • 18th Sep 2006
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  • Claire Dodin

    Actor

    well, Kenny, I really disagree with you.

    You speak as if the girls were amateurs.

    Both Connie and Helena are trained, experienced performers who could have been and nearly were West-End leads without this program.

    Both of them are perfectly capable to sing 8 shows a week, night after night, their vocal ability and technique is strong enough, that's why Andrew made sure they were in the final. You can also see from the program that the judges influenced the voters hugely by saying who they wanted to be at the top and the public followed. There was, in fact, very little that was left to chance. There's a good reason why Andrew saved Helena so many times.

    These girls are not less capable or less professional than Emma, they simply haven't done West-End, doesn't mean they can't, everyone in the West-End had to have their first show. Some people are lead on their first show.

    • 19th Sep 2006
    • 17
  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    Claire and Kenny, I agree with both of you on many points raised.

    Claire - Kenny was saying that the girls were not 'seasoned veterans' not that they had not trained or had any experience. That is true and it is something to be aware of when casting a major role in a musical. Most people 'do their time' in the ensemble and/or understudying before producers give them the chance to take on the lead role. This is why I think they have hired an alternate, just to make sure that 'should' the winner not be able to cope with 6 shows a week, that they have someone on standby to take over. It's a good idea and I hope that they won't need to fall back on it.

    Think of it another way, it takes the pressure off Connie a little to only have to do 6 shows a week, so she will be able to do a better job of it than if she was having to do 8. I'd love it!

    I certainly don't think you have to have been to drama school to play a lead in the West End. I didn't and I have! So that is a personal bug bear of mine to hear people ranting on about training as if that is the only thing that can get you through - however - I had had a good few years of experience under my belt and that is where my training was.

    Best of luck to them all.

    I hated the show, hated the format and the snide remorks from the judges, hated the complete lack of integrity and the cheesy, ridiculous song choices but loved the fact that aspiring performers got a chance to show people 'some' of what they can do. If it's done again I hope that it has a major overhaul.

    • 19th Sep 2006
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  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    To be honest, whether she gets 2 or 8 shows, I would proabably chew my own face off to be doing what she is doing right now instead of typing this in my office :)

    • 19th Sep 2006
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