As Gareth Gates was announced as Lee Mead’s successor in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (See Today’s Other News), another reality TV winner confirmed that she would return to the show that made her name – another Andrew Lloyd Webber production.

Connie Fisher (pictured), the victor in the BBC’s original musical theatre casting competition How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? (See New, 17 Sep 2006), will reprise her performance as Maria von Trapp in the new national tour of The Sound of Music, which kicks off on 26 July 2009 at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, where it runs until 29 August before continuing to Bradford ( 2 to 26 September) and Southampton (29 September to 24 October), with further dates to be announced.

After shooting to fame on How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Connie Fisher subsequently won both the Whatsonstage.com and Critics’ Circle Awards for The Sound of Music at the London Palladium. She extended her contract in the show to 18 months, leaving on 23 February 2008, after which she starred opposite Alistair McGowan in the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of Neil Simon’s They’re Playing Our Song (See News, 23 Jun 2008). This Christmas she’ll appear in Caught in the Trap on ITV.

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, both productions having record-breaking runs. The 1965 Hollywood film, which starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars, including Best Picture.

The current 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.

Ahead of the tour, the production, which also won the 2007 Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Musical Revival, is due to finish its London run at the Palladium on 28 February 2009. It currently stars Summer Strallen as Maria (See 1st Night Photos, 4 Mar 2008). It will be followed at the Palladium, from 2 June 2009 (previews from 7 May), by the premiere of screen-to-stage musical Sister Act, which is co-produced by Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment (See News, 14 Nov 2008).

- by Terri Paddock