Monday, September 18, 2006

Maria Is Still A Problem

The BBC reality show "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" crowned a winner in their search for a new talent to star in a revival of "The Sound of Music." But the British do love their controversy; the media is acting as if it's a bait and switch to have the new Maria perform at only 6 of the 8 weekly performances of the show. Certainly ticket buyers should be told. But presumably she's skipping the matinees. Obviously, a newcomer might not have the stamina to do eight shows a week (many stars don't, either) and she's being saved for the evening shows. It's not true as producer Andrew Lloyd Webber that this is always done -- a new hit show with a name draw does in fact suffer when that person doesn't do every show. If I went to see the new "Evita" and the acclaimed female lead wasn't in it (which is one example Webber cites), I would ask to exchange my tickets for another date or get my money back. I've also never heard that Julie Andrews damaged her voice by singing too much when she was young. I thought she sang beautifully for decades until surgery on nodes went awry. (And she, by the way, didn't do every show of "Victor/Victoria" every week either.) And in this highly unusual case, it seems reasonable to give the female star a break.

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