Anyone who watched The Voice last year will know of Lucy O’Byrne. This coming week, she will be taking part in adaptation of The Sound of Music at Norwich Theatre Royal from October 18th-22nd. I’m sure most of you will know a little bit about The Sound of Music having watched it over various Christmases, but for those of you that haven’t (where have you been?!) The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, a young would-be nun who is sent to look after the children of a widowed naval officer. The story traces the world-famous singing Von Trapp family from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom at the start of the Second World War, as their beloved Austrian homeland becomes part of the Third Reich. It also has a captivating and extremely well-known soundtrack.
Lucy O’Byrne tells us a little bit about what this adaptation of The Sound of Music has in store for us:
Did you ever expect you would be doing something like when you auditioned for The Voice?
I never thought it would get to this level. The reason I went for The Voice in the first place was to get a bit more exposure which would hopefully lead to auditions, and then it just kept on going! My background is musical theatre, my dad was a musical theatre performer and is still a singer, my mum was a dancer, choreographer and director and my sister is an actress as well, so I grew up doing musicals. That’s what I came to London to do.
How did you end up playing the role of Maria?
The people from Bill Kenwright contacted my agent and my theatrical agent pretty much as soon as The Voice ended, which was way back in April. I had three rounds of auditions and I was really put through my paces! They knew I could sing, but they have to make sure they can trust you to take the pressure because Maria really is the centre of the whole story and she carries a lot of it. They tested me a lot. But it was good fun and an interesting process.
Were you excited it be offered the part?
It was amazing, I cried a little bit! When I moved in to my current house in London, my housemate had already been living here, and all around the house she has two or three framed pictures of Julie Andrews and one of them was the original Sound of Music poster, so when I got the news we both had a little bit of a moment in the kitchen. It was amazing to get to call my family and tell them I’d got it. Something like that was why I came to London. The Voice happened by accident, I couldn’t have begun to imagine this would happen to me.
Growing up in a musical theatre family, you are no doubt more than familiar with the film.
I knew all the songs, although I did have to learn Lonely Goatherd for the auditions because although I know it, I’d never learned to yodel before. That was quite tough! I think my yodelling skills are getting there, I’m still trying! I knew all the other songs, they’re so famous, and for someone who grew up in musical theatre, I grew up watching it.
This marks your professional musical theatre debut, are you feeling nervous, or will you take it all in your stride?
Performing is in my blood but I am nervous. I am just trying to learn it and focus on rehearsals. It’s big and as a debut it’s huge and big pressure because it’s such an important show to so many people. Everyone knows it, so many people have their own idea of who Maria should be, but I just want to make it my own.
This will be your first major tour too – any places you are really looking forward to playing in and seeing and exploring for the first time?
Most of the places on the tour I have never been to. The only place I have been to is The Lowry in Salford, because we filmed The Voice across the road from the venue in Media City and I launched The Sound of Music there, so have spent quite a bit of time around the area! I love Manchester as well, it’s fantastic so I am really looking forward to going back and spending Christmas there. My birthday is actually on Christmas Day too! I’m also really looking forward to going to Scotland because I have never been.
You’re from Dublin, Ireland, Maria von Trapp was Austrian and Julie Andrews is English – are you having elocution lessons to perfect your accent?
Maria will have an English or RP (Received Pronunciation) accent so I’m sure there will be plenty of people around to help me out. And I’ve been in England for the last two years, so my Irish accent is softening so hopefully I won’t find it too hard!
The Sound of Music will be at Norwich Theatre Royal from 18th-22nd October