Connie Fisher sings!
Date: 16 January 2012
The launch of Wonderful Town was an emotional event for one of the principals. It was the first time since 2009 that Connie Fisher has sung in public. Fisher came to fame by winning the grisly How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? She was heartbroken when, having been handed what she describes as ‘The Golden Ticket’ she was diagnosed with a congenital voice defect that effectively meant her vice tired easily. This might not be a problem unless you’re doing eight shows a week.
Fisher explored other options including presenting TV programmes and guesting in shows such as Casualty (the bruises gained on the show are visible at the launch). Treatment by a specialist, who has treated, ironically Julie Andrews, solved part of the problem but left Fisher unable to reach some of the higher notes. Unable to make use of the musical equivalent of ’muscle memory’ Fisher learned to sing around her condition.
One option Fisher considered was comedy, so Wonderful Town was an ideal opportunity to try a new direction as a comedian/actress as well as a singer. She felt that a non-singer could have played the role of aspiring writer Ruth Sherwood. Fisher shares the view of director Braham Murray that the show should be forward-looking.
She draws parallel with Sex and the City in which a writer relies on her friends to help cope with the hassles of New York pointing out that Ruth is dependent for support from her sister Eileen played by Lucy Van Gasse. If you look at the poster for the show you can tell that the marketing department certainly share the SATC comparison. Let’s just hope that the actual show is less vapid than Carrie Bradshaw's misadventures.
Fisher consulted Maueen Lipman who has previously played the role of Ruth and her influence is apparent in the short excerpt at the launch. Impressively Fisher, Van Gasse and Michael Xavier did not just sing a couple of numbers but performed them – throwing themselves into the songs and engaging the audience as well as demonstrating vocal powers that, at such close quarters, were staggering.
Lucy Van Gasse – a veteran of Love Never Dies plays Eileen. She regards the role as a complete change of pace from past roles being full of humour and a character who doesn’t die at the end.
Michael Xavier – born in Knutsford and trained in Manchester- is delighted to return to the region. He is accustomed to playing the romantic lead but feels that Bob Baker has more depth than the norm being disillusioned by the failure of his efforts to become a writer. But, as Michael acknowledges, love will conquer all.
Even if, like me, you’re not a fan of musicals there is no escaping the energy surrounding Wonderful Town. It is an opportunity to develop a new collaborative approach to regional productions and there is the thrill of seeing a show that could, on this scale, be a once in a lifetime production.
- Dave Cunningham
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
Related ContentBack to Northwest Homepage
Subscribe to our free newsletter
Featured Editor's Picks
|Infographic: The economic impact of Arts & Culture in the UK |
When Culture Secretary Maria Miller called for the arts to make their "economic case" for subsidy, t...
|Plays Cast: Harry Potter star in Southwark Moment, more for Branagh's Macbeth|
Bonnie Wright, best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will make her stage d...
|Brief Encounter with ... The Kite Runner's Ben Turner|
Ben Turner stars in the stage version of the bestselling book The Kite Runner, which runs at Liverpo...
|Titus Andronicus (RSC)|
This latest production of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, to borrow from football punditry, is a p...
|Take Five: Britain's outdoor theatres|
With half-term approaching, the weather (hopefully) set to improve for the bank holiday weekend and ...
|West End Live returns to Trafalgar Square next month|
West End Live, a weekend of free entertainment from top London shows, will return to Trafalgar Squar...
|Robert Sean Leonard: 'I carry the ghost of Gregory Peck on my shoulders'|
Actor Robert Sean Leonard is currently playing Atticus Finch in Timothy Sheader's production of To K...
|To Kill A Mockingbird|
Twenty years ago, a young Robert Sean Leonard appeared on the London stage with Alan Alda in...
|X Factor musical titled I Can't Sing!, opens Palladium March 2014 |
The forthcoming X Factor musical will be called I Can't Sing! The Musical and will premiere at the L...
|Donmar stages Nick Payne premiere, Wesker's Roots & Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus |
The Donmar Warehouse has announced its new season, which features the premiere of Nick Payne's new p...