Viewers of the CBC reality show Over the Rainbow have chosen Danielle Wade to play Dorothy in a new musical production of the Wizard of Oz.
"I honestly couldn't believe it when they called my name," said the 20-year-old from LaSalle, Ont. "I never thought this would happen. This is incredible."
Wade beat out two other finalists — A.J. Bridel, 18, of Kitchener, Ont., and Stephanie La Rochelle, 18, of Ottawa — to earn the right to wear the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz show set to debut in December at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto.
The three finalists gave their final performances on Sunday night, and the winner, selected by viewers, was announced Monday night.
"I am thrilled with the outcome. Danielle is an extraordinary talent," said British theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber.
"We have been blessed with three really great girls in the final who will all have careers in musical theatre, but I know that tonight we have found a Dorothy who Canada can celebrate."
On Sunday's show, all three finalists performed a solo and, together, gave a group performance of Already Home from The Wizard of Oz musical created by Lloyd Webber.
The competition began last spring with hundreds of young women from across Canada auditioning for a chance to wear the ruby slippers. Judges selected 20 to train at "Dorothy Farm" over the summer, then whittled that number down to 10 to compete in the reality TV series.
Over the last eight weeks, Canadian viewers have voted for their favourites after seeing them tested on their singing and acting abilities.
Wade recently completed her second year at the University of Windsor, where she studies acting. Even though she has more than 10 years of vocal training, Wade says she was still surprised to win the role of Dorothy.
But like Dorothy, she says she is a girl whose dreams came true.