The winner of BBC talent search How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Connie Fisher faced the music – and danced - last night (15 November 2006, previews from 3 November) in her West End debut as the star of Andrew Lloyd Webber's critically acclaimed £4 million production of The Sound of Music (See Also Today’s Review Round-up), the last major musical opening in a year dominated by big-budget offerings.

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Fisher plays nun-turned-nanny-turned wife Maria opposite Alexander Hanson, who only last week stepped in to replace 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 VIEW THE SOUND OF MUSIC OPENING NIGHT TV FOOTAGE, JUST CLICK
ON THE "PLAY" ARROW > BUTTON TO THE LEFT OF THE TV SCREEN BELOW.

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS NOW

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 Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand at the London Palladium and at the post-show party at Old Billingsgate Market to hear what people had to say about The Sound of Music on opening night. Our TV interviewees include: the show’s stars Connie Fisher, Alexander Hanson, Lesley Garrett, Lauren Ward, Ian Gelder and the children; former How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? contestants Helena Blackman, Siobhan Dillon, Abi Finley and Aoife Mulholland as well as judge John Barrowman; and first night attendees including Bob Geldof, Ben Daniels and Bonnie Langford.

Also in attendance on opening night were: Amanda Redman, Angus Deayton, Anneka Rice, Anthea Turner, Billy Zane, Brett Ratner, Christopher Biggins, Cilla Black, Frank Skinner, Graham Norton, Harry Enfield, Jamie Theakston, 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 Joseph, Linzi Stoppard and Sandi Toksvig (See Today’s 1st Night Photos).

- by Terri Paddock