How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’s Connie Fisher has extended her contract as Maria von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Sound of Music. Although the production at the West End’s London Palladium is currently booking until 13 October 2007, a new booking period is expected to be announced soon as, according to Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group website, Fisher has signed up to remain through to February 2008.

The Mountview-trained reality TV winner, who previously worked in a call centre, received a positive reception from critics as well as the general public when she opened as the nun-turned-nanny in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical on 15 November 2006 (previews from 3 November).

Fisher’s accolades to date have included a South Bank Show ‘Breakthrough’ nomination and two nods - Best Actress in a Musical and Newcomer of the Year - in this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, one of eight nominations overall for The Sound of Music (click here to vote now!). The production was also nominated last week for Outstanding Musical Production in this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards (See News, 18 Jan 2007).

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 revival 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 Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation.

The production also stars fellow Award nominees 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, Sophie Bould as Liesl and Neil McDermott as Rolf and three teams of children.

- by Caroline Ansdell