The hills are alive for Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth
PUBLISHED: 17:28 02 September 2011 | UPDATED: 19:55 20 February 2013
Verity Rushworth puts her birthday plans on hold to help out stricken star Connie Fisher, writes Janet Reeder
Poor Verity Rushworth instead of exploring the delights of the Big Apple on her birthday shes treading the boards in a dress made from sackcloth as Maria in the Sound of Music.
The reason is an even more poignant one. Connie Fisher who initially won the role in How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria will no longer be able to play the character.
The singing star was scheduled to perform the last shows but a vocal condition, means she no longer has the range to cope with the demanding role.
So with the Cardiff, Manchester, Newcastle and London still to come on the tour schedule, Verity was forced to cancel a 26th birthday trip to New York to step into Fishers shoes and will be performing in Manchester later this month.
However, if she was miffed by the thought of having to put in another nine weeks treading the boards as the worlds most famous singing nun, she wasnt showing it. Of course she was as shocked as the rest of us to learn that Connie, who had made the role her own as the winner of TVs search for a Maria, would be pulling out of the Sound of Music, possibly for good.
Its heartbreaking whats happened to her but its such a big massive part, says Verity.
It must be devastating as she created the role and weve all been wishing her well. But on a Selfish note, I am really happy to be continuing as Maria in the show, which Ive been touring with since January.
And it means Ill get to play Manchesters Palace Theatre for the first time ever, which is fantastic.
Veritys Manchester stage debut doesnt mean shes a stranger to the city itself though. Shes had plenty of nights out in the city, many of them with her friends from the cast of Emmerdale where from 1998 to 2000 she played long-running soapland character Donna Windsor-Dingle.
She says she and her fellow soap stars would often cross the Pennines for a night out at such hot spots as Deansgate Locks.
I really enjoy going out in Manchester, she says.
The Locks are really nice and my friend Sammy had her birthday party at the Living Room and I once had a night at the Lowry hotel with the girls and saw Will Young and Russell Brand.
So did the famed Casanova try it on?
Absolutely. Thats exactly what he did, replies Verity with a laugh, though its hard to decide whether shes joking. There again this was Russell Brand...
Verity herself is taken. Shes been in a relationship with Dominic Shaw, who she met when she was in Hairspray in Londons West End. He was a fellow cast member and they just hit it off, though now hes gone over to the other side and is resident director and choreographer of that other big show doing the rounds at the moment, Legally Blonde.
And when shes not with her boyfriend, shes hanging out with fellow cast members, usually curled upon the sofa watching a DVD.
I share with the girl playing Liesl cos shes not really 16. She is older! laughs Verity. The girl playing the Baroness is in our digs as well. We are one big happy family.
If thats the case then co-star Jason Donovan who plays the Baron is definitely the kid of the group.
Hes really naughty, considering how old he is, he doesnt act it. Hes the child, she says.
And hes so laid back. When I first met him in rehearsals I was obviously a bit nervous but hes like nobodys going to die. Hes really cool about it.
So was she a fan before she met him?
This is a tricky one. I was born in 1985 and I think he was big in the 80s and 90s so hes going to hate me for this he was a bit before my time! I am a fan now but when he was a pop star I didnt get into it. I was more a Boyzone fan. I missed out on the Jason craze.
The Sound of Music will be at the Manchester Opera House from September 6th-17th Tel: 0844 847 2277 for tickets.