The Sound of Music comes to the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham
The hills are alive with one of the world’s best loved musicals. The Sound of Music will return to Birmingham from Tuesday until January 20 with a run at the city’s New Alexandra Theatre.
Bill Kenwright’s ‘brilliant’ (The Mail) and ‘stunning’ (The Echo) new production will feature two household names – The Voice finalist Lucy O’Byrne, who returns as Maria, and EastEnders and West End star Neil McDermott, who plays Captain Von Trapp.
The show enjoyed a successful Christmas season at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin from 19 December 2017 and is now working its way around the UK.
Neil is thrilled to be part of the team, previously played the role of Rolf at the London Palladium 11 years ago.
And Lucy O’Byrne has returned to the iconic role of Maria after becoming a star when she was the runner up of BBC One’s The Voice in 2015. With Will.i.am as her mentor Lucy made history as the first classical signer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning range. She won rave reviews for her performance as Maria Von Trapp in the 2016 UK touring production of The Sound of Music, being hailed as ‘quite possibly the best Maria since Julie Andrews herself’ (The Scotsman).
Following the tour Lucy won the coveted role of Fantine in Cameron Mackintosh’s world record-breaking musical phenomenon, Les Misérables which she performed in the West End until earlier this year.
Neil is no stranger to the stage and became a national treasure in the recurring role of Ryan Molloy in EastEnders between 2009 and 2016. His other television appearances have included The Royal, Rosemary & Thyme, Doctors and Casualty.
As well as his work on the small screen, Neil is a regular on the stage, with starring roles in the West End including Chief Weasel in The Wind in the Willows (London Palladium); and Lord Farquaad in Shrek (Theatre Royal Dury Lane).
“We’re having great fun on the road,” he says. “We’re playing to full houses, which is great, and there have been really good reactions from the audiences, which is great.
“So it’s been fantastic so far. We’ve got fully sold out houses with standing ovations.
“This is my first time on a tour and it’s great feeling the different theatres and sharing the whole experience with different cities.
“In London when I’ve been in the West End I could stay at home with the family. But with this, I get to see the country.”
The Sound of Music holds a special place in Neil’s heart, after he played Rolf Gruber at the Palladium in 2006/7.
“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do it. I played Rolf all those years ago and I’m very fond of the show.
“It’s a show that’s close to my heart and one I’m very fond of. Having a crack at the Captain was something I couldn’t turn down. And it’s great to work with Lucy because she has played the part before. A lot of the people in the show have done it before in one form or another. I know the show really well. We have a great cast.” 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 unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Climb Ev’ry Mountain, So Long, Farewell and of course, the title song, The Sound of Music. Produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer, musical direction by David Steadman, the critically-acclaimed, wonderfully lavish staging of the classic and heart-warming musical will be one of the biggest hits of 2018.
Neil is a fan. “People get transported. The Sound of Music has stood the test of time for a reason. The music is great and many people are familiar with it. It’s the story that’s at the heart of the show that is so compelling and that’s what connects with people. It’s a show that’s difficult to leave without a warm feeling.”
Neil enjoys combining a successful TV career with his roles in theatre. They give him the chance to flex different acting muscles. “I’ve been really lucky to have great characters in TV and in theatre.”