Thousands of frocked hopefuls vied last year for the role of Maria von Trapp in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Sound of Music. The top 10 competed live on CBC’s reality show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? U of T theatre and drama studies grad Alison Jutzi (BA 2001 UTM) made it onto the show, only to be the first to go. But the experience has left her feeling like she can climb every mountain, as Lisa Bryn Rundle found out.
What was it like being on the show? I went into it thinking that it was just going to be a televised audition but really it was a reality show. You become a character on a television show.
Did you find yourself performing “good reality show character”? I was trying to be my most friendly, funny self. I never wanted to be caught scowling on camera so I was always trying to be very positive – my eyes wide open.
Was there a lot of inter-Maria backstabbing? There were people who got cut who were surprised, and there was some anger about that. But we mostly focused on getting our performances ready. No sabotage. I found it painful to watch the “So Long, Farewell” send-off for the eliminated Maria.
How did it feel doing it? Honestly, I was happy I got to sing a song I feel comfortable with. But I was in total shock, too. I didn’t feel bad until later. I remember changing out of my dirndl and crying.
Is there a post-Maria support group? No – we’re all still thriving. Things have actually been really good for me. I’ve been doing film and TV. Maria was the biggest, hardest audition I’d ever done. So now I can go for things and tell myself, “At least hundreds of thousands of people aren’t watching me fail right now.” I feel like I can try anything. And that makes me feel really confident in myself.
And do you have confidence in sunshine? I have confidence in sunshine and rain and that spring will come again. But mostly I have confidence in me.
You’ve come out with a comedic folk CD called Sandals. What is comedic folk? I write satirical songs. I call it folk because it’s just me and my guitar. And I make fun of things.
Give me a comedic-folk answer to the question “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” Um. I kind of want you to say “with duct tape” or something like that. I don’t want to be so negative. That wouldn’t be very Maria!