CBC, Mirvish to make Music

A reality show slated to air next spring will determine who stars in a new stage production of The Sound of Music.

CBC and Toronto’s Mirvish Productions are teaming up to search for a Canadian ‘Maria’ to appear in the North American stage production of The Sound of Music.

The search will take the form of a new eight-part reality show, co-produced by CBC in association with the producers of Canada’s Next Top Model, it was announced yesterday at a joint press conference at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre, where the musical is due on stage next year.

The as-yet-unnamed series is based on the BBC’s popular How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, a 2006 show through which viewers voted on their choice for the role of Maria von Trapp, made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1965 film adaptation.

‘It’s a show and an idea that we’d been following with great interest because it was such a huge hit in the U.K. for the BBC,’ says CBC programming head Kirstine Layfield. ‘Knowing that the stage production was coming here, we had to do this.’

The theatre production is a revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, brought here by producers Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, who were also on hand at the press conference alongside impresario David Mirvish.

Auditions for the CBC series, slated to air in the spring of 2008, will begin in February across Canada. CBC will release other details, including its choice of host, in the coming weeks.

‘We’re going to air it in between the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Olympics, so it’s a great spot,’ said Layfield. The winner, selected by a panel of judges and the Canadian public, will immediately join rehearsals for the stage production, set for September.

CBC also has other performance-based reality shows on its schedule. Triple Sensation – an inspirationally minded showcase of singing, dancing and acting – is due to debut Oct. 7 and, like the Maria project, stems from a partnership with a stage man, in this case Garth Drabinsky. The network has also said it plans to run a second season of The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend some time next year.

From Playback Daily