|Connie in the final of How Do You Solve a Problem...?|
Back to Reality
Date: 11 September 2006
So it’s Connie over Helena or Siobhan for The Sound of Music. What’s in store now for the winner & the runners-up? As How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? reaches its climax, we review what became of other reality TV contestants.
Name: Brenda Edwards
Reality check: After nine weeks on The X Factor, the former accountant finished in fourth place overall, but came top of the ladies, as the last woman to get through the competition.
Since then: Currently playing Mama Morton in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre, where her original contract was extended to 28 October 2006. Brenda’s advice to wannabe stage stars? “Go out there, be yourself and have fun.”
Name: Darius Danesh
Reality check: On Popstars, the philosophy student made his acapella rendition of “Hit Me Baby One More Time” a memorable moment. After being booted off the show, he entered Pop Idol, finishing third place behind Gareth Gates and Will Young (who, taking a break from his ongoing pop career, will make his stage acting debut in the Noel Coward play The Vortex at Manchester’s Royal Exchange in January).
Since then: Starred as Billy Flynn in Chicago both at the Adelphi Theatre and at the Cambridge Theatre.
Name: James Bellamy
Reality check: Gained a place on The X Factor last year while still at school, but didn’t make it beyond boot camp.
Since then: The 17-year-old is now playing Stevie Wonder in Dancing in the Streets at the Playhouse Theatre. Has just graduated from an acting course at Westminster College and advises potential performers to “know what you want and go for it. If you feel in your heart that you want to be a singer, then shows like The X Factor are a great way in.”
Name: James Fox
Reality check: The Welsh pianist/singer/songwriter reached fifth place in Fame Academy.
Since then: Played Judas in the 2004/5 UK tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and subsequently led the cast of Movin’ Out as the Piano Man, both in the US, at the West End’s Apollo Victoria, and currently on a European tour. On TV talent shows: “Fame Academy had the right idea… to develop and nurture the talent rather than just manufacture it. If they ever asked me, I’d do it again.”
Name: Javine Hylton
Reality check: Despite not making the final cut in Popstars: The Rivals, was immediately offered a record deal and her first single, “Real Things”, reached number four in the charts.
Since then: Before Pop Stars: The Rivals, attended stage school from the age of ten and at 18 played Nala in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre. Opens this month in Daddy Cool, the new musical loosely based on Romeo and Juliet and set to the music of Boney M, at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Name: Donna Hazelton
Reality check: As one of the Musicality finalists, performed for one night only in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre.
Since then: Played Mama Morton for a full professional run in Chicago and is now starring in the UK tour of Girls Night Out. On Musicality: “I just knew that this was my opportunity. Of course I would love to have a professional career in musical theatre, however, I have to be realistic and know that at my age parts are limited. What I would really love to do is tour in concert and do some recording.”
Name: Rebecca Dent
Reality check: The former waitress and dance teacher was one of the Musicality finalists who played Roxie Hart for one night in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre.
Since then: Replaced reality TV winner Kym Marsh as Annette in Saturday Night Fever at the Apollo Victoria, followed by the UK tour.
Name: Kym Marsh
Reality check: One of the winners of the first series of Popstars who went on to be part of the resultant band Hear’Say.
Since then: Starred as Annette in Saturday Night Fever at the West End’s Apollo Victoria and appeared in Coronation Street, playing a rock chic.
Name: Suzanne Shaw
Reality check: Another Popstars graduate who went on to be form Hear’Say. Pre-Popstars, trained at Oldham Theatre College and appeared on TV in City Central and Holby City. Since then: Was in the UK tour of Summer Holiday and played the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London Theatre. She’s even done panto! Currently starring in the UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show, following a short West End run. Said recently: “My ultimate ambition is television and film acting. I like going into the studio, I like being on stage and I like being on the telly. I like everything. I like to do it all!”
Name: Daniel Pearce
Reality check: Was voted into the band One True Voice in Popstars: The Rivals.
Since then: Did a stint as Quickly Robinson in Jailhouse Rock at the Piccadilly Theatre.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? concludes on Saturday 16 September 2006 when the winner, who will play Maria Von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, will be announced.
The Sound of Music opens at the West End’s London Palladium on 14 November 2006 (previews from 3 November).
A version of this article appears in the current issue of What’s on Stage magazine (formerly Theatregoer), which is out now in participating theatres. To secure your copy of future editions, click here to subscribe now.
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