It is one of the greatest family musicals of all time and now, Bill Kenwright’s new stage production of The Sound of Music is set for a return to Cardiff’s New Theatre this week.
Playing the iconic role of Maria, a role that has previously won her rave reviews is 2015 finalist of The Voice, Lucy O’Byrne. Lucy recently picked up the mantle of Maria Von Trapp again after previously touring in The Sound of Music during 2016.
Based on the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’ The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII. The classic musical features memorable hits Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, So Long, Farewell and the title song, The Sound of Music.
“I love it all,” says Lucy whose enthusiasm bubbles over as we discuss The Sound of Music. “I’ve been doing it for a year and a half and It doesn’t get old” she continues, “I still enjoy every performance.”
“The reaction that the audience give us every night is incredible, some of the stories that people tell you at stage door. I’ve met some lovely people who have important memories attached to this show, the story, the music, lasting memories of their mother taking them to the cinema. It’s a big part of people’s lives.”
Lucy became a household name when she was the runner up of BBC One’s The Voice in 2015. Then, a student in the performing arts who had moved from her home in Ireland to London, Lucy originally had doubts about auditioning for the TV talent show.
“I didn’t apply for The Voice willingly” says Lucy, “it was very much my musical theatre teacher and agent at the time who told me “You should do this because either way it’ll be good for you.” I was thinking “What if I go on and I don’t get through? I’ll be publicly embarrassed by it!”
“What it came down to was first, I didn’t want to annoy either my teacher or my agent, I wanted to stay in their good books and then my sister who I can always count on to tell the truth told me “You don’t have a career to lose, So, off you go! What’s the problem?”
Taking her sisters advice, Lucy auditioned for the show and was subsequently chosen and mentored by pop superstar Will.i.am. Lucy became the first classical singer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning vocal range.
“He was honest from the start,” says Lucy of working with Will.i.am, “He said “Look, I have no idea how you do what you do but I can help you with your confidence and your performance. The strength that he and his whole team gave me throughout the process was amazing. They spent so much time with us off camera. It’s not shown how much mentoring they really do give you. The confidence that show gave me I will hold on to for the rest of my life.”
Before Lucy had sung her final note on The Voice, stage producers were showing signs of booking her for The Sound of Music which was due to tour across the UK. As Lucy reveals however, Maria wasn’t a part she walked straight in to.
“They seriously put me through my paces for the audition which took place in the April and I didn’t get the role until September!”
The role of Maria was a dream role for Lucy, who hails from a performing arts family, and recalls watching the film starring Julie Andrews as Maria when she was growing up.
“It’s one of those old faithful’s, we had it on in the house and I learned all the songs and because my family have all been performers, we’ve been known to our family friends as the Von Trapps!” she laughs.
- The Sound of Music plays at Cardiff’s New Theatre from 13 – 17 February. For full details and to book tickets, visit newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or call the Box Office on (029) 2087 8889.
- Read Part 2 of our interview with Lucy O Byrne tomorrow!