Category: TV Entertainment; BBC ONE
BBC ONE looks to shine the spotlight on an undiscovered theatre star with a new live Saturday night entertainment show.
In How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? two of theatre's biggest names will open up the world of musical theatre to search the UK for a new talent who will win the opportunity of a lifetime.
Hosted by Graham Norton, the show will feature legendary composer and theatre producer Andrew Lloyd Webber who together with leading West End producer David Ian will be searching for a new talent who will win the role of Maria in the upcoming West End show The Sound of Music.
Potential Maria's can find out how to audition by doing either of the following:
Calling for an information pack on 09001 11 44 22
will cost no more than 80p from a BT land line, other phone/mobile lines
- Logging on to bbc.co.uk/maria
||Radisson SAS Hotel
||Wembley Conference Centre
A panel of experts in the fields of music and theatre will whittle the hopefuls down to 50 potential 'Marias'.
These talented individuals will then be put through
their paces in singing, acting and dancing by some of the best professionals
in the business.
Only 10 will make it through to the TV shows where
they will undergo constant training and perform live for the
panel and, most importantly, the nation.
The nation votes for their
favourite to win, and each week the ones with the least votes
will perform again for Andrew Lloyd Webber who has the chance to
save just one.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's awards include seven Tonys, three Grammys, six Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an International Emmy and an Oscar.
David Ian is one of the most successful current producers in UK theatre whose hits include Guys & Dolls, Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Anything Goes and The Producers.
He also runs more than 50 theatres worldwide.
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "I have always had a passion for discovering and nurturing new talent and this will be a fantastic opportunity for a young artist to become a real star.
"I'm particularly pleased that, for the first time, the search will be open to everybody.
"Never before have young musical theatre performers had such an opportunity to show their talents on prime-time television."
David Ian said:
"As a theatre producer, I know the hard work that goes into musical theatre and how very important it is to keep finding new talent for these starring roles.
"I'm thrilled to be working with the BBC on this national search - we really are looking for someone special."
Open auditions will take place in Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and London, where a panel of experts in the fields of music and theatre will whittle the hopefuls down to 50 potential Marias.
These talented individuals will then be put through their paces in singing, acting and dancing by some of the best professionals in the business.
Only ten will make it through to the TV shows where they will undergo constant training and perform live for the panel and, most importantly, the nation.
It is the nation who votes for their favourite to win, and each week the ones with the least votes will perform again for Andrew Lloyd Webber who has the chance to save just one.
Graham Norton: "I'll be there to mop the brows and do some serious handholding as we try and find that star-in-the-making.
"It will be a real rollercoaster for everyone involved. I'm thrilled to be along for the ride."
The winner's prize is a dream come true - a leading actor contract for the West End stage to play the role of Maria in The Sound of Music, and the opportunity to work with some of the theatre world's biggest names.
Peter Fincham, Controller, BBC ONE, said: "This is a unique and exciting project which will really capture the audience's imaginations.
"The combination of The Sound of Music, some of the biggest names in theatre and a hunt for a new star is irresistible.
"I'm whistling the tunes already."
This series will consist of pre-recorded audition shows, live shows plus live results shows.
A bursary will be set up whereby money from the telephone votes during the series will give hopefuls a chance to learn more about, and get a foothold into, the world of musical theatre.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? is a BBC Production for BBC ONE commissioned by Jon Beazely, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, and will transmit later this year.