AsUK tour prepares to head from Cardiff to Bradford, we spoke to leading lady Connie Fisher about her experiences of the ‘casting by TV phenomenon’ – and whether she watched Any Dream Will Do…
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria was obviously the beginning of the “casting by TV” phenomenon. Did the massive popularity of the series take you by surprise?
Yes! I thought I was going to an open audition which happened to be filmed! I felt I had missed an opportunity at my graduate showcase at drama school when I missed my top note and thought I had messed it up. I viewed this as a chance to showcase my talent and perhaps make that breakthrough. At the time I was getting a long way in the audition process and was seeing great casting directors like David Grindrod and Pippa Ailion. I was being seen by the people you need to be seen by and getting really far and getting good compliments but still not getting the part. I just didn’t know why, I think I was different looking and I just didn’t fit into the ensemble. I suppose I had to wait for a lead and that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, so this was an ideal opportunity for me. I never expected it to be as big as it was. When I was telling everyone I was going in for it they were as sceptical as I was. I wanted to work my way up the ladder in the traditional manner, I really did, but nothing in my life has ever been traditional! I was a very lucky girl.
What is your enduring memory of the series?
Winning! I think that was the moment when it was right down to “Am I going to win or not – it’s a one in two chance!” I just didn’t believe it. My life changed completely in that one moment. I completely lost control! Everyone practices their winning and their losing face and looking back at the footage my winning face didn’t exactly turn out how I expected! I was euphoric!
A truly life changing moment…
My life changed completely in that one moment. I didn’t know quite how things would change in my life but it has changed my life and it has made me a stronger person.
Did you watch the Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything series?
Yes I did – I was onstage myself at the time but I remember running offstage to try and catch as much as possible. It was weird. As people had told me with the Maria series – I had picked my favourite from the beginning!
Did you vote for anyone?
No – I was always on stage but I told my mum and nan to vote and they did. Initially we voted for Daniel but when he got voted out I found myself saying “Oh yes, I knew Lee would win it. I picked him from the beginning”, so I was a bit swayed. I always knew Lee was good!
It’s strange isn’t it, once the winner takes up the role it is impossible to imagine anyone else playing that part…
Oh I don’t know, although I somehow feel I have claimed Maria, sometimes when I watch others play her in rehearsal….
So it was probably a combination of the right time and the perfect role for you.
Oh totally. If it had been Nancy in Oliver!, or Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz I wouldn’t have got it. I don’t look right for it. But if had been Funny Girl, or Mary Poppins I feel I would have had a good chance. I think that for me, being a bit of a tomboy as I am often referred to, Maria was perfect.
Check back for more from Connie next week...
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