‘Maria”s Simon Lee arrested

Canadian judge jailed for 'domestic dispute'

They’ve suddenly got a lot bigger problems to solve than Maria.

Less than 12 hours after the producers of the CBC TV series “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” were celebrating the selection of thesp Elicia MacKenzie to play the leading role in the upcoming Toronto production of “The Sound of Music,” news broke out that Simon Lee, one of the show’s three judges, had been arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning at a hotel in the city’s chic Yorkville district.

Charges of assault and forcible confinement came from a 24-year-old man who claimed Lee struck him and then stopped him from leaving the room numerous times. A third man was present, who called 911.

Lee had been absent from the final two episodes of “Maria,” but Andrew Lloyd Webber — a producer of the “Sound” revival who also appeared on the program — explained it away as “a personal family matter.”

In actuality, Lee had spent Sunday behind bars and wasn’t bailed out until Monday morning. The CBC is calling it “an alleged domestic dispute,” but no further details have surfaced.

Lost in the morning-after scandal was the win for MacKenzie, a 23-year-old newcomer from Vancouver, who had been picked by the Canadian public as the winner in the televised competish.

CBC show was based on the original BBC model, which launched Connie Fisher into stardom in the West End revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Lloyd Webber has successfully used this kind of television program to cast three West End shows, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Oliver!” On Broadway, the tactic has been applied to “Grease” and “Legally Blonde.”

That it was one of the judges (rather than a contestant) involved in a scandal and that the musical concerned is perhaps the squeaky-cleanest in legit history has combined to make the story front-page news in Canada.

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