Connie's climbed every mountain!

CONNIE Fisher is taking musical theatre by storm. As she prepares for her first UK-wide concert tour, which includes two dates in Suffolk, she chats to JAMES MARSTON about fame, singing and blue Smarties.

James Marston

CONNIE Fisher is taking musical theatre by storm. As she prepares for her first UK-wide concert tour, which includes two dates in Suffolk, she chats to JAMES MARSTON about fame, singing and blue Smarties.

CONNNIE Fisher nearly gave up on her dreams.

She was about to shelve her ambitions to be a singer and do something else instead.


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After leaving drama school she began auditioning for every West End production going.

And she quickly learned what rejection felt like.

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She said: “I look different, and that went against me, because I didn't have long hair and I'm not size eight. It was a hair and teeth thing - and I was too tall for the ensemble.”

To pay the bills, she worked at a Pizza Express, and in telesales, which she remembers as “completely demoralising”.

But then TV show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? came along and Connie has never looked back.

She said: “After drama school I was ready to move on but Maria rekindled my passion for performing.”

She went on to win the show saying: “I feel on top of the world, thanks very much. I won't let you down. Every night will be an opening night. Thanks for making my dreams come true.”

Connie, 24, spent 15 months living as a nun.

In that time, she climbed every mountain - about 300 times, forded every stream and spent countless hours getting misty about brown paper packages tied up with strings.

And she did it in stout brogues and a hairdo she dubbed “my nun-cut”.

She bowed out of The Sound Of Music in February 2008 and spent much of the rest of the year recording her first album which was released last month.

She said: “It is called Secret Love and it is a selection of love songs from the shows. It is really exciting for me because I was influential in choosing and selecting the songs on the album and each song is very, very personal to me.

“We are touring the UK with the album, it is the Secret Love Tour.”

And Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion is to play host to Connie on May 15. The tour also includes dates in Reading, Leeds, Liverpool and Lowestoft.

She said: “When we were selecting the songs Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a new song for me with Tim Rice called First Impressions Count.

“It is amazing for me to have a song written for me like that and it is the only original song on the album.”

Other songs include Someone To Watch Over Me and I Could Have Danced All Night.

Connie said: “They are songs we were told at drama school never to sing in auditions because they are overdone but I love them and the idea of the album is to make those songs my own.

“Someone To Watch Over Me means a lot to me as it was the first song I sang in the West End. I was in my third year at college and we went to a one-man Gershwin night at the theatre where they were taking requests. I was sitting in the front row and asked for the song and he asked me if I could sing and I got up and sang it, it was an amazing moment.

“I was also spotted by an agent that night so it is very personal to me and full of those memories.”

Connie said she also wanted to make a record other 24-year-olds will want to hear.

“It's not a Ruthie Henshall or Sarah Brightman album. It was important to me to make a musical theatre album for younger people - I wanted to take classic songs and make them sparkly and cool.

“Eva Cassidy has been a big inspiration for this album.

“She made old songs her own, and I wanted to give them that thoughtful, wistful feeling. It's mostly balladry - I couldn't get my beatboxing in!

“But it's classy and cool balladry. I'm going where no 24-year-old has gone before, I hope.”

Connie has loved singing from when she was a child on a farm in South Wales.

She said: “Performing is something that is born in me. I have spent my whole life performing. I love going on stage.”

With success comes fame - Something Connie seems to take in her stride.

She said: “You don't always feel like putting on make-up and making an effort but I find it all quiet amusing. You are a human being but people are interested in your life, before they weren't, it is weird. I don't think it has changed me but people do treat me differently.”

The summer saw Connie back in the theatre for the revival of They're Playing Our Song starring alongside Alastair McGowan at The Menier Chocolate Factory.

The nun's outfit was left behind for a 70s revival where Connie was able to indulge her comedic potential. Connie played to sell-out houses every night of the 10-week run which led to her being nominated for the “Best Actress In A Musical” award for What's On Stage.

And Christmas saw Connie's debut on the small screen in the lead role of the ITV1 drama Caught in a Trap, playing a woman obsessed with Elvis Presley memorabilia.

She said: “Doing the TV drama was an amazing experience. It was great fun, they were great actors and I had a brilliant time. I'd like to be Dr Who's assistant next.”

Outside the theatre and her career Connie enjoys shopping and badminton.

She said: “I am ambitious. I'd like to work on Broadway. I admire Julie Andrews, I think she is really talented and elegant.”

Connie has yet to let her fame turn her into a diva and she makes no outrageous backstage demands.

She said: “If I played Wembley I might ask for all blue Smarties or something - just for a laugh.”

Connie Fisher will be performing at Felixstowe's Spa Pavilion theatre on May 15. For tickets call the box office on 01394 282126. She will perform at the Lowestoft Marina Theatre on June 8. For tickets call the box office on 01502 533200.

Are you a fan of Connnie Fisher? What do you think of her talent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Connie Fisher won a full scholarship to the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, in London, graduating in 2005 with a first class degree in musical theatre, as well as the Gyearbuor Asante prize for the highest score.

I Could Have Danced All Night'

Secret Love

Next Time You Fall In Love (featuring Lee Mead)

True Love Ways

When She Loved Me

I Guess I'll Miss The Man

You Must Love Me

Someone To Watch Over Me

Make Up My Heart

If I Ever Fall In Love Again

Memory

If Love Were All

First Impression Counts

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