The search is on to find the perfect singer to fill Dorothy’s red shoes in a new production of The Wizard of Oz that’s coming to the West End later this year. It all kicked off in Glasgow this weekend, where hopeful auditionees demonstrated why they thought they should take on the iconic role.
As far as I’m concerned, The Wizard of Oz is one of the true classics of cinema, a film that’s been enjoyed by generations and will probably continue to be enjoyed for many more. So it’s good to hear that Andrew Lloyd Webber and co aren’t simply trying to replicate it, but are really going for something new. In Webber’s own words, he wants “a Dorothy with attitude.”
He told The Sun: “She’ll be more Avril Lavigne than Judy Garland. Of course, Judy Garland made the role famous but I’m looking for a 21st century Dorothy… Okay, she probably won’t have strange green hair or anything, but she’ll be someone who would fit in on the streets here. She’ll have attitude and probably have an iPod.”
Certainly sounds like we’re not in Kansas any more!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that these auditions are being carried out as part of a new BBC reality show. Over the Rainbow will hit the airwaves soon, and will surely follow the winning formula of the previous shows I’d Do Anything, Any Dream Will Do and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Those three shows saw thousands auditioning for the roles that were eventually taken by Jodie Prenger as Oliver!, Lee Mead as Joseph (in his Technicolor Dreamcoat) and Connie Fisher in The Sound of Music – which this month is heading to Edinburgh for a run at the Playhouse. Seems like it’s a good month for Scottish musicals!
While I can’t see myself heading down to the auditions (you have to be able to sing for a start!), aspiring hopefuls can head to bbc.co.uk/dorothy to register and find out where try outs are taking place over the next few weekends across the nation – in Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester and finally London, from the 5th to 8th February. I wish you the best of luck!
With this new take on The Wizard of Oz sure to be a box office winner, it looks set to be another great year for West End theatre breaks, and for fans of Mr Webber in particular. Don’t forget that his eagerly anticipated Phantom of the Opera sequel Love Never Dies opens at the Adelphi Theatre on 9th March. Will it live up to the original? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!