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Jewish girl's nun ambition

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-08-13

Abi Finley

Abi Finley

A Jewish student from Manchester studying for an MA in acting and musical theatre at London's Central School of Speech and Drama is still one of the frontrunners to win the coveted role of Maria in a new Andrew Lloyd Webber production of The Sound of Music.

Abi Finley, 23 who also studied English at Leeds University is said to come from an orthodox family in Prestwich and took part in the Manchester auditions which landed her a part as a finalist in the BBC One TV show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

She says her creative talent comes from her mother Deborah. A keen amateur actress, Deborah was performing when she was pregnant with Abi and that Abi would kick to the time of music.

Her creative role models also happen to Jewish as well name dropping Barbra Streisand as one of them as well as Fanny Brice who Streisand played on stage and in film as Funny Girl. Why Fanny Brice? "For her drive, ambition, comedy timing and sense of fun," Abi says.

According to Abi, she has much in common with the Maria character. "We've both had bad experience of short hair, have a love of music, can't stop singing wherever I am, tomboyish qualities, rapport with kids and the ability to fall in love with a man with a large fleet!"

So why should Abi get the role? "To be the first Jewish nun," she says.

If Abi doesn't end up with the role of Maria, her plans are to continue with her studies so she can become a drama teacher.