Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CBC-TV's 'Over the Rainbow' Narrows Down Field of Dorothys in National Callbacks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

CBC-TV's 'Over the Rainbow' Narrows Down Field of Dorothys in National Callbacks

Article excerpt

'Over the Rainbow' holds national callbacks

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TORONTO - A.J. Bridel of Kitchener, Ont., has been in love with the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" and its star, Judy Garland, since as far back as she can remember.

The 18-year-old singer-actress says her grandmother was born the year the Oscar-winning movie was released and often talked about it and encouraged her to watch when she was young.

"She always said to me, 'Oh, you're going to play Dorothy some day,' and I was like, 'Oh grandma!'"

On Thursday, Bridel was one step closer to that dream as she and 87 other Dorothy hopefuls from across Canada attended callback auditions for CBC-TV's upcoming series "Over the Rainbow," which is searching for a lead in a Toronto production of "The Wizard of Oz" that's set to open at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in December.

"This has been an amazing experience so far," said Bridel. "I mean, these girls are SO talented, so talented, and so nice. It's not as much of a competition as it is an amazing experience.

"It's a joy ride, you know what I mean?"

The callback auditions were held to pick the Top 20, who will get to a "Dorothy Farm" and meet the musical's legendary co-creator, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Hopeful Kylie McCullough of Lindsay, Ont., had a bit of a leg up on some of the competition, having already been in a production of "The Wizard of Oz" in her hometown when she was young.

"I got a munchkin (role) and I was so in love with the part of Dorothy and I'm like, 'When I get older, I want to play that part,'" she said.

"And I'm finally 16 and the age of Dorothy and I just jumped right to it."

Sherry Blake of Nanaimo, B.C., said her 17-year-old daughter, Emily, starred as Dorothy in a high-school production of "The Wizard of Oz" and has memorabilia from it displayed around her room.

"This is what she wants to do for her life," she said. "This is the big dream."

CBC should be applauded for creating the series, she added.

"I think it's wonderful to allow girls from across the country this opportunity," said Blake.

"My daughter wouldn't have this opportunity living on the island."

The countrywide casting call for Dorothy wannabes began June 1 in Vancouver. …

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