Opening Night at The Wizard of Oz

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Danielle Wade alongside Mike Jackson as the Tin Man and Jamie McKnight as the Scarecrow. Photo courtesy of Cylla von Tiedemann.

We're thrilled to report that The Wizard of Oz is off and running folks! Last Sunday, January 13th, marked the official opening of the show at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in downtown Toronto, and what a show it was!

The team here at Over the Rainbow was lucky enough to snag a few tickets so that we could offer our support to Danielle, and they even let us sneak around with a camera to grab some photos - outside of the actual theatre of course.


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The lobby at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, moments before the show started.

In case you're wondering, yes Rainbow fans, both Danielle and the show are fantastic. The young star from Lasalle, Ontario has come a long way since Dorothy Farm, and she looks right at home on-stage as Dorothy. Her performance of Over the Rainbow was particularly touching, bringing tears to more than a few eyes in the packed house.

Also there showing support for Danielle were some familiar faces. Judges Thom Allison and Louise Pitre were in attendance, as well as Rainbow runner-up AJ Bridel, CBC News anchor Dwight Drummond and Q's Jian Ghomeshi, just to name a few.


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From left, Danielle's sister Alexa Wade, Louise Pitre and AJ Bridel hanging out before the show.

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Thom Allison and Louise Pitre listen intently while chatting with friends during intermission.

We'll refrain from giving a full review here, but we will say the production does a wonderful job of rejuvenating the story while still remaining very true to the spirit of the original. You're in for a real treat if you're able to make it - the opening night audience was on their feet for a full standing ovation after Sunday's performance.

We caught up with the show's producer, a beaming David Mirvish at the after-party.


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Producer David Mirvish arrives at the after-party.

'This is the best performance I've ever seen of Wizard of Oz, whether it was in England or here,' he said.

Asked about Danielle Wade's performance, Mirvish added 'We're thrilled with Danielle. You know, we put ourselves in the public's hands, and you always have little trepidation, but they made the right decision and we've got a winner.'

Danielle and the rest of the cast arrived shortly after, where she was met by a flurry of reporters. Of her opening night experience, Danielle said 'It was awesome, it was so much fun, I cried at the end. It didn't seem real, to be honest.'

Casting her mind back to her first audition for Over the Rainbow, she said 'That seems like forever ago. And so much has happened since then, it's amazing. When I walked into that line full of five-hundred something girls, I never expected this to happen.'


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Danielle makes a grand entrance with Toto pals Tilley, Neddy and Winny.

And after thanking everyone involved in her success, Wade entreated fans to make it out to the show, saying 'Everyone should come see it, it's really fun, it's entertaining, it's magical.'

We can attest that the show is all of those things - and more. If you're one of the many that supported the Top 10 on Over the Rainbow it's truly a special experience to see the culmination of it all, and there's real live Toto on-stage!

To see more of what Danielle has to say about the journey so far, you can check out her interview with the CBC's Deana Sumanac.

If you'd like to catch the show, you've got until March 31st, and you can book your tickets by going to The Wizard of Oz website, get 'em while they're hot.

Break a leg Danielle!