Today (August 30), CBC has announced the trio that will form the judging panel for Over the Rainbow. The fate of the final ten Dorothy hopefuls will be at the hands of Arlene Phillips, Thom Allison and Louise Pitre. The judging panel - and you - will decide who will go on to star in the Mirvish production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Wizard of Oz musical - set to open in Toronto this December.
As a familiar UK television judge, dance choreographer and director, Arlene Phillips will bring a multitude of experience to the show: her past stints as a panelist for Strictly Come Dancing; appearances on So You Think You Can Dance, DanceX and Strictly Dance Fever; and as director for Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michel Flatley's Lord of the Dance shows.
Thom Allison has had his fair share of theatrical experience as a headliner in Stratford Festival productions such as Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, My Fair Lady, Threepenny Opera, The King and I, King Henry VIII and Into the Woods. The Winnipeg born performer has also been part of the Canadian productions of Miss Saigon, The Who's Tommy and Rent.
Wrapping up the panel is someone who's no stranger to musical theatre, television or concert stages. A Tony Award nominee, Canadian Louise Pitre performed on Broadway in the smash hit Mamma Mia! as well as in Toronto and on the U.S. tour of the show. She is also known for her roles of Fantine in Les Misérables and the lead in Edith Piaf.
Over the Rainbow - hosted by Daryn Jones - will debut with a two hour première on Sunday, September 16 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) which will showcase the cross-country auditions and reveal the final ten Dorothy contestants, who will perform live.
The first results show airs Monday, September 17 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) where the judges will have to save one contestant after a faceoff of the bottom two; voted by the audience online or by phone.