Update: Injured Fisher Signs Off for Sound FortnightDate: 6 March 2007
UPDATED, Wed 7 Mar 2007 @ 12.45pm: The Sound of Music producers have issued a new statement this morning concerning cast absences and ticket exchanges.
Connie Fisher (pictured) has been forced to withdraw from the next fornight’s worth of performances of The Sound of Music at the West End’s London Palladium under doctor’s orders. Fisher has injured her vocal chords after suffering a heavy cold last month and returning to work. She was off for a week at the beginning of February while ill and then resumed a reduced schedule of six performances a week (See News, 12 Feb 2007).
A show spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com: “Connie’s devastated, we’re all devastated but she’s got to get 100 percent well again.” Prior to her illness, Fisher – who won Newcomer prizes at both the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice and Critics’ Circle Awards this year (See News, 9 Feb 2007) - did 100 shows without missing a single performance. She’s apparently keen to return to full strength as soon as possible and may return before the end of the fortnight if doctors say she’s recovered well enough. In the meantime, the part of nun-turned-nanny Maria von Trapp will be played by Sophie Bould.
A statement issued to ticket agents today (6 March) went on to explain: “Through a desire not to let the public down, Connie Fisher sang through a heavy cold which has caused a vocal injury. The vocal chords are a muscle like any other and, as in the sporting world, when injured they require complete rest to recover. On her doctor’s advice Connie has to take two weeks off from the show starting on Monday 5 March in order to allow the injury time to repair. The Sound of Music is a fantastic production with an enormously talented cast, and we are very lucky in that, in Connie’s absence, the role of Maria will be covered by Sophie Bould, who has been receiving standing ovations for her portrayal of Maria."
The spokesperson added: “The good news is that the show itself is in great health.” The sell-out hit won Best Musical Revival in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards, while How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, the reality TV casting show that propelled Fisher from obscurity to become the West End’s biggest star, was named Theatre Event of the Year. The show is currently taking bookings until 13 October 2007, though new dates are expected to go on sale soon to meet demand. The Mountview-trained Fisher recently extended her contract beyond the booking date.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical premiered on Broadway in 1959, when it won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show first opened in London in 1961 and its last London revival was in 1981. The new West End production of The Sound of Music is directed by Jeremy Sams and designed by Robert Jones, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, sound by Mick Potter, lighting by Mark Henderson and musical supervision by Simon Lee. It’s presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation.
The production also stars Alexander Hanson as Captain von Trapp, soprano Lesley Garrett as the Mother Abbess and Ian Gelder as Max as well as Lauren Ward as the Baroness, Neil McDermott as Rolf and three teams of children.
- by Terri Paddock