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Our Working Life: The secret of my Success

Independent on Sunday, 10 January 1999

Our Working Life: The secret of my Success: Maria Friedman. By Stefan Lindemann

British cabaret star Maria Friedman is currently starring in the hit musical Chicago. Her previous successes include the musicals Oklahoma! and Oliver!* as well as her own award-winning One Woman Show.

"After School I had about 14 different jobs ranging from barmaid and receptionist to kindergarten teacher. I come from a musical family and was always interested in singing and dancing. My first real singing job I came across purely by chance. I was auditioning for a waitress job in the Beefeater but didn't make it. Some of the other girls there dragged me along to another audition for a singing group called Close Harmony and miraculously I got the part.

"Oklahoma! was the first big musical I did and again it was coincidence that helped me. My boyfriend and I went to an audition and they really wanted him. He persuaded them to take me on as well. I only got a very little part, but then I proved myself and after some time I ended up playing the leading role.

"My career is always like a big try-out. There is a lot of gut feeling involved, especially when I feel frightened. That's when I take a step forward, because I can't bear not to have a go and I'm not afraid of failure. I believe that tenacity and focus are more important then talent. There are so many talented people out there, but it will not get them anywhere unless they know what to do with it.

"Although I take things very seriously, I have a perspective on what is important in life. There is no point in being totally ambitious and arriving anywhere without friends, because you work in a team, on and off stage."

* NOTE: It is presumed that the reference to Maria appearing in the musical Oliver! is a mistake.

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