How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? runners-up Helena Blackman and Siobhan Dillon were on hand at the star-studded opening last night (15 November 2006, previews from 3 November) of The Sound of Music to cheer on Connie Fisher, the 23-year-old who beat them to the prize of the show’s leading role in the BBC TV competition (See News, 17 Sep 2006).

Many of the seven other How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? finalists were also in attendance along with the TV show judges, John Barrowman, Zoe Tyler and co-producer David Ian as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber.

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Fisher plays nun-turned-nanny Maria opposite Alexander Hanson, who has replaced Simon Shepherd as Captain Von Trapp (See News, 6 Nov 2006). The production also stars soprano Lesley Garrett as the Mother Abbess, Lauren Ward as the Baroness, Ian Gelder as Max, Sophie Bould as Liesl and Neil McDermott as Rolf, as well as three teams of children.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE SOUND OF MUSIC 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

The Sound of Music 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 Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand for all the red carpet arrivals. First night guests included: Amanda Redman, Angus Deayton, Anneka Rice, Anthea Turner, Billy Zane, Bob Geldof, Bonnie Langford, Brett Ratner, Christopher Biggins, Cilla Black, Frank Skinner, Graham Norton, Harry Enfield, Jamie Theakston, John Barrowman, Kelly Brook, Lisa Faulkner, Lorraine Kelly Matthew Wright, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Caine, Nicky Haslam, Patricia Hodge, Peaches Geldof, Raza Jaffrey, Richard E Grant, Rowan Atkinson, Sandi Toksvig, Victoria Wood, Zoe Tyler, Anton Du Beke, Colleen Nolan, Craig Revel Horwood, Eve Pollard, Jacqueline Wilson, Julian Lloyd Webber, Lesley Jopseh, Linzi Stoppard and Sandi Toksvig.

-by Terri Paddock