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24 September 2014
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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? 
Helena Blackman

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? finalists

Helena Blackman, 23

From Southampton, but now lives in London
Occupation Performer and waitress
Family Younger sister Clare
Experience Professional for two years. Went to Guilford School of Acting.


A professional actress and singer, Helena has been classically trained since she was 12. She won a scholarship from her local county council before getting a place at the Guilford School of Acting.


Last year, Helena spent seven months working at Disney in Tokyo. She would perform in a daily show Encore - medleys of musical theatre songs - five shows a day, six days a week!


She has sung at many a music festival buit is also partial to a bit of karaoke.


She comes from a musical family - her father played the clarinet and used to be in the choir. It was Helena's mum that decided Helena should be on the road to stardom and sent her to private singing and drama lessons.


As well as doing part-time waitressing work, Helena also works for a company called Perform. She teaches children aged four to seven years movement and singing, involving raps, poems, small performances, or dances.


Her favourite artists include Elton John, Take That and Lucy Silvas.


When did you first realise you had a talent for singing?


When I started to get into school shows and get named parts.


What is your favourite musical?


Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Carousel, West Side Story, Sound of Music.


Who is your favourite character in a musical and why?


Christine [Phantom of the Opera] - what a journey she goes on! And what a massive sing and responsibility for a lead vocalist, not unlike Maria. Everyone tells me I should play this part!


What qualities do you have similar to those of Maria?


I love to play, I'm no shrinking violet, I believe in being fair and standing up for what is right and true, I'm responsible, I don't always act like a lady, I work with children, I'm happy-go-lucky, everything around me effects me especially nature, I'm emotional and wear my heart on my sleeve.


Why should you be the next Maria?


I can sing the part, I can perform the part, I have the stamina to do six shows a week and I won't let the cast and crew down.


To be a lead role in a West End show is my dream, many performers strive to accomplish this goal all their lives.


I could continue to do what I'm doing now and perform in a professional capacity, enjoy and make a living out of it, but to be given this ultimate gift, and now, at this stage in my life it's mind blowing and what's more to be the part of Maria, I never thought I'd have that particular opportunity.


How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? 
Laura Sicurello

Laura Sicurello, 26

From Milton Keynes
Occupation Police Intelligence Officer
Family Older sister Joanna, the name Sicurello is Sicillian like her father.
Experience Singing lessons for two years when young. Totally untrained voice. Some amateur theatre performances since age 8.


Born and raised in Milton Keynes, Laura has been working as an Intelligence Officer for Thames Valley Police for nine years.


She lives in her own house which she bought when she was 17. She never wanted to go to university but instead threw herself straight into the working world.


Laura had singing lessons for two years, and one year of tap, ballet and modern training from the age of 12. She has had no training other than singing in her Milton Keynes Amateur Operatic Society from the age of eight.


Laura's family have always told her that that she should be a performer for a living, but she's never believed in herself.


If she doesn't win the part of Maria, she is seriously thinking about changing everything to pursue a musical theatre career.


Laura enjoys arts and crafts, going to the theatre and watching comedy shows. She loves classic Michael Jackson songs and Eva Cassidy and thinks her greatest achievement is getting so far in this competition.


If she could have any dream job she would want to be Brad Pitt's masseuse!


When did you first realise you had a talent for singing?


My family and friends have always told me I have talent, but I've never fully believed it. Getting so far in this competition has made me realise - they might have a point.


What is your favourite musical?


Miss Saigon.


Who is your favourite character in a musical and why?


Mickey [ Blood Brothers]. His character covers such a wide range of emotions and ages.


What qualities do you have similar to those of Maria?


I am an honest, fair person with a lot of spirit and I love children.


Why should you be the next Maria?


Because I want this more than anything. I would give 110% commitment in rehearsals and performances. I feel I would make a believable Maria - someone the public could relate to.


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