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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 12:57 GMT
Hollyoaks star takes musical bow
Summer Strallen, Andrew Lloyd Webber and some Hollyoaks cast
Some Hollyoaks cast members went to see Strallen tread the boards
Actress Summer Strallen, who briefly starred in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, has made her debut as Maria in the West End musical The Sound of Music.

The 23-year-old was treated to a standing ovation at the end of her gala performance at the London Palladium.

"I tried my hardest and I hope that has been enough," she said.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who cast Strallen in the show and also planted her in Hollyoaks as a woman pursuing her West End dream, said: "She was fantastic."

'Superb' and 'magnificent'

He added: "We are very proud of her."

The composer revealed he would not rule out using a soap again to help publicise one of his West End shows, as he thinks the Hollyoaks project "seems to have worked".

Summer Strallen with some of the Sound of Music cast
The whole reason we did this was to bring a new generation to the theatre
Summer Strallen on bringing her Hollyoaks character to life

"I think the whole reason we did this was to bring a new generation to the theatre," Strallen said.

Despite Strallen's on-screen character being a West End amateur, in reality she is a seasoned performer and member of a theatrical family. Her sister is a former Mary Poppins star while stage star Bonnie Langford is her aunt.

Strallen is also up for an Olivier Award for her starring role in The Drowsy Chaperone.

"You can't beat a standing ovation at the London Palladium in the Sound of Music," Strallen said.

"It is what I have been working for my whole life," she added.

Daily Express theatre critic Simon Edge described her as "superb" and a "magnificent addition" to the production.

The London Evening Standard's Nicholas de Jongh said: "Strallen's voice, though sometimes a touch overcome by the 20-strong band, sounds pure enough for Do-Re-Mi and My Favourite Things."

Strallen's predecessor, Connie Fisher, landed the lead part in the musical after winning the BBC One show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

So long, farewell Hollyoaks
03 Mar 08 |  Entertainment
Webber plants Hollyoaks actress
01 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
Sound of Music star cuts workload
20 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Maria winner takes musical break
06 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Connie wins Maria talent contest
17 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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