Friday, 13 July 2012

I’d Do Anything to Solve Any Dream Over The Rainbow – Where Are They Now?

After a year absence, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for West End Stars has returned to television.  

jesus-christ-superstar-theatre
This year, ‘Superstar’, on ITV, has a definite classy edge that the camp and colourful BBC searches did not – more X-Factor than ‘I’d Do Anything to Solve Any Dream Over The Rainbow’.  ‘Superstar’ looks for the next Jesus Christ, for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s searches for West End stars began on the BBC in 2006. They found a winning formula in ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria’ and followed up in searches for Joseph, Nancy and Oliver, and Dorothy.

Critics said that Webber’s talent shows saturated the West End with fresh faces, totally unused to the relentlessness and responsibility of being a West End leading man or lady.  We take a look at the BBC searches’ winners, to find out whether they have been truly successful in finding lasting stars.
2006, ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ – Connie Fisher
Connie Fisher was the first winner of the show, and was flagged as an early favourite, as having an amazing voice.  She performed in the show until early 2008, but had to reduce her number of performances from 8 to 6 shows a week, after straining her vocal chords – a problem from which she has continued to suffer.
In comparison to some of the later winners she has had a less-than-remarkable career. After finishing her run as Maria, she was set to embark on a concert tour which was cancelled due to poor sales.  She starred alongside Alistair McGowan in ‘They’re Playing Our Song’, and in an ITV drama ‘Caught in A Trap’, her TV debut.  In 2009, another tour, of her album ‘Secret Love’, was cancelled, this time due to an operation on her vocal chords rather than poor sales.
Singing skill rating: 8/10
Followers of the official account on twitter, @Conniefisher1: 2,802
Success rating: 4/10
2007, ‘Any Dream Will Do’ – Lee Mead
Lee Mead has been one of the more successful of Andrew’s golden finds.  He started off as a professional musical theatre performer, though took parts on cruise ships, minor roles in touring productions, and understudy parts before ‘Any Dream Will Do’.
Following the show, he enjoyed a sell out run as Joseph, of 600 performances, Lee Mead has had leading roles in a play adaptation of Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime, by Oscar Wilde, and two hit West End Musicals: ‘Wicked’ (Fiyero) and ‘Legally Blonde’ (Emmett).  He has released three solo albums, and performed two successful music tours.
He has also married judge of the show, West End leading lady, and pop star in her own right, Denise Van Outen.  That’s pretty well done!
Singing skill rating: 7/10
Followers of the official account on twitter, @leemeadofficial: 15,689
Success rating: 9/10
2008, ‘I’d Do Anything’ – Jodie Prenger
Jodie Prenger has also had a successful post-Nancy career, as a bit of an all-rounder.  In her early days, Jodie became moderately well known as an overweight beauty, who later won the show ‘The Biggest Loser’ (of weight).  Though she won ‘I’d Do Anything’ in 2008, she first performed in the ensemble cast of ‘Les Miserables’ to gain some much needed experience.
Jodie had a successful run as Nancy from December 2008 to March 2010.   After Nancy, she starred in the touring production of ‘Spamalot’, and since then she has focused mainly on television presenting and acting.  She presents the Lottery midweek draw on an occasional basis, and has had guest roles in television shows including Hustle and Waterloo Road.
She is currently making her non-musical stage debut as Elsie Tanner in the West End comedy, One Man, Two Guv’nors.
Singing skill rating: 5/10
Followers of the official account on twitter, @Musicalmissy: 17,334
Success rating: 9/10
2010, ‘Over The Rainbow’ – Danielle Hope
‘Shy’ school girl Danielle Hope was an outsider to win at the beginning of the competition to be Dorothy.  It was only in the last few weeks that it looked likely that she would win.  She played Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ for a year from February 2011 to February 2012.  She was recently cast as Eponine in Les Miserables, the longest running musical in the West End.
Its a bit early to tell with miss Danielle Hope in terms of success, but she’s now been in two massive West End musicals and held her own – and, as a young zero-to-hero star, she is incredibly popular!
Singing skill rating: 7/10
Followers of the official account on twitter, @OfficialDanielleHope: 9,614
Success rating: 7/10
So, its been a mixed bag of success for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s zero-to-hero stars.  Two questions:  

Who is your favourite out of this bunch?  
And who will win his new search, Superstar?

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