The Over the Rainbow auditions - the new CBC show searching for a Dorothy for Mirvish's Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams' musical The Wizard of Oz - kicked off in Vancouver on June 1st. Yesterday (June 18) in Toronto - 7,500km later - the final Dorothys have been found. Soon, the judges will whittle the final one hundred down to twenty at the callbacks. Over the Rainbow - with host Daryn Jones - starts on CBC in the fall.
Along the way, the auditions also stopped in Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal and Halifax. Almost five hundred Dorothy hopefuls turned out at the Glenn Gould Studio hoping to audition in front of Mirvish's casting director Stephanie Gorin. The queues outside were longer than the yellow brick road they all long to follow, with the earliest auditionee arriving at around midnight last night - that's dedication.
Starting off quickly, there were seven successful auditionees that will return for the callbacks within the first two hours. We got to speak with them and more Dorothys throughout the day to find out their thoughts...
On the lineups:
AJ Bridel: We got here at 7 o'clock and I couldn't even see the beginning of the line. It was a little intimidating, but I tried to stay positive. What else can you do?
Rebecca Codas: I was here at 6.45, warming up my voice with people staring at me in the street.
Ashley Nelson: It was crazy to see an open call that was so big
Kalie Woodcock: I was all by myself... reading... I got up at 5.15. I was such a zombie when I got here.
Olivia Paty: It was kind of overwhelming. I expected it, but when we got there it became real. There were so many girls who wanted this.
Kylie McCullogh: There were a lot of people that look so much like her but I have blonde hair, so I was scared... there are so many talented people here. And you're up against not even all the people that are here today but all of the people everywhere. It was really intimidating.
Alyssa DiMarco: I was surprised there were so many people here already so early. It's really humbling to know that I got a golden ticket with so many people to choose from!
On the atmosphere and anticipation in the holding room:
Lia Luz: Nerve-wracking. You're this close. This close to making it or breaking it.
Rebecca: It felt like a really long time, I was just so nervous. I was having little freak out sessions.
Allison Reed: It's overwhelming. You listen to everything everyone's saying and it starts to get you worked up. You have to stay in your own little world, otherwise it's so easy to get thrown off.
Ashley: You hear everyone warming up, it was just so crazy to see how talented everyone is. You see only one person come out with a ticket and the nerves set in...
Kalie: I'd rather relax. The buzz was in there, it gets you excited, but for myself it was nice to just sit, read and centre myself. Find where I am and go in there and do my thing.
AJ: Everyone was actually quite friendly. When I got through, people were excited for me. And I felt that too, when other people got through. Everyone has the same dream right now. If you allow yourself to be happy for someone else, it's ten times better.
Danielle Wade: The camaraderie back there is awesome. Everyone's so supportive of everybody else, and they're so talented. Everyone sounds incredible.
On performing for Stephanie:
Lia: My heart was racing!
Rebecca: You gotta stand on the X, enter from the right and exit from the right. Stephanie's there in front of this big white table... cameras... people...
Nicole McCafferty: To have Stephanie Gorin tell you you're talented and give you a golden ticket... it's so amazing. I'm so happy. I always pictured her as this cold, scary person, determining my fate... whether I live or die, because that's what theatre is to us. You go in there and she's such a lovely person.
Ashley: It's over in like five seconds, but it feels like forever. You just have to do whatever you do to get them to give you this ticket.
Georgia Lee Schultz: I was actually pretty calm auditioning which is kind of weird for me... usually I get really nervous. Maybe I should keep that up for further auditions?!
On getting through:
Nicole: I am so excited! This is beyond anything I ever thought would actually happen!
AJ: When I got the ticket I was ecstatic! Before, I was like, "if I get a ticket, I'll be happy, but I'll be humble about it..." but I was bouncing off the walls, so excited.
Kylie: I dropped to the ground. I ran out and my mum freaked out. She just kind of jumped on me! It was awesome.
Alyssa: I've wanted to be in a Mirvish production my entire life. That I'm this step closer to it means so much to me.
Georgia: It's kind of surreal right now. I'm kind of in shock. Once I tell my mom and my dad, it'll be more... there.
On the callbacks:
Lia: It just makes me realise that there's more work to come!
Ashley: We don't really know what they're doing to narrow it down. I'm guessing it's singing, dancing and lots of triple threat stuff... dramatics. I think it's going to be awesome, this is my first callback, period!
Nicole: I was really hoping to get some sleep tonight but now I know I've got a callback maybe I'll have to do some work instead!
AJ: So excited. So excited. I can't even put into words... I think I'll have the same attitude about it that I did right before I sang for Stephanie. I kind of told myself that I was going to put it all out on the table. If that's not enough, then it wasn't meant to be...
Kylie: I'm very excited to see what they're going to make us do and to see all the others that have made it. I'm nervous because there's going to be a lot of competition out there. But I'm ready...
On the possibility of doing pop as well as musical theatre numbers:
Nicole: My issue is that I don't really listen to that kind of music... to pick a song would be intimidating to me.
Kalie: I love to sing anything... men's songs, women's songs, just to test myself, to see what I can do.
Olivia: I'm going to go home and I'm just going to sing whatever song I want to just to warm up. It's interesting, I'll get to hear someone's opinion on my voice in another mindset.
Georgia: That'll be interesting. I love singing pop stuff, it'll be interesting to see how it works with my voice...!
When asked about the possibility of meeting Daryn Jones at the callbacks, the general reaction was an inaudible squeal. Here's the man himself exclusively telling us about his return to the CBC:
And Daryn can give you a bit more detail about the auditions: