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How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, thanks to the The Sound of Music's family-friendly source material, this British reality competition is relatively safe for kids. There's nothing graphic in the way of language, violence, or sex, although there's a bit of "snogging" between the prospective Marias and a leading man later on in the series. The bad news is that, because it already aired in the U.K., stateside viewers won't get to participate in the show's outcome. But since the stage production it promotes runs in London, there's a silver lining, too: Your kids won't expect you to take them to see it.
What's the story?
In HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA?, musical theater icon Andrew Lloyd Webber hunts for an ingenue to star as Maria in his West End stage production of The Sound of Music. The 55 finalists selected for "Maria School" take part in an extensive audition workshop with theater producer David Ian, actor John Barrowman, and vocal coach Zoe Tyler. The pool is ultimately whittled down to 10 Marias, who sing songs from the show as well as pop songs and are judged by viewers.
Is it any good?
If you and your family enjoyed BBC America's re-airing of the British reality contest Any Dream Will Do, chances are you'll also like Maria, which has the added advantage of being tied to one of the most popular musicals -- and feature films -- of all time. Thanks to frequent broadcasts of The Sound of Music on television and community revivals on local stages, everyone seems to know the songs.
And as for the spirited Maria, who was first brought to life on stage by Broadway icon Mary Martin and later on film by screen legend Julie Andrews? Well, she's a kid-friendly problem that few parents would mind having.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how reality competitions like this one can help advertise a stage production and sell tickets that might otherwise not be sold. Why would producers want to hire an unknown singer over a professional performer and leave it largely up to audiences at home to decide who wins? Do you agree with the panel's decisions when it comes to the best Marias? Why are contestants required to sing pop songs as well as songs from The Sound of Music?