The Dorothy Effect

Maybe you've heard this one before?

Parent: So what do you want to be when you grow up?

Child: An actor. I'm going to be famous.

Parent: Uh-oh.

Exposure is the name of the game in show business. Determination, hard work and loads of talent might not get you anywhere unless people have a chance to see you perform. Over the Rainbow does just that. It showcases young talent to the public, introduces them to an industry and is often the spring board a stable career in the arts.

And that's what we're calling The Dorothy Effect.

Wishing all of our Top 10 nothing but the best.

A show like Over the Rainbow can change the course of a young artist's life - essentially offering a shortcut in an otherwise long journey to stardom - or at the very least, regular work; a performer's bread and butter. And beyond the exposure itself, the experience builds a network in the entertainment world and perhaps most worth mentioning, it can do wonders for a young actor's confidence.

You might remember a short while back we did an interview with actress Elicia MacKenzie - who credits a big part of her success to winning CBC's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? Landing the iconic role as Maria Von Trapp in the Mirvish production of The Sound of Music effectively paved the way for what's now a successful career in musical theatre.

But winning isn't everything, as the saying goes. A number of finalists from Andrew Lloyd Webber's shows, both here and in the UK, have met with success.

For starters, Guelph's Alison Jutzi, who placed 10th on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? has since gone on to work with Toronto's famed Soulpepper Theatre Company, done a slew of commercials and released her own album. Waterloo's Marisa McIntyre, who finished 4th, just closed Queen For A Day, starring alongside stage and TV icon Alan Thicke. Richmond, B.C.'s Jayme Armstrong placed 3rd on 'Maria' and has a long list of theatre credits to her name - including (fittingly enough) Maria Von Trapp this past summer at the Drayton Theatre Festival's production of The Sound of Music.

Hop over to the UK and the pattern continues. Danielle Hope, who won the BBC's version of Over the Rainbow in 2010, is now playing the coveted role of Éponine in a West End production of Les Misérables. Runner-ups Sophie Evans and Lauren Samuels have also become West End veterans, and the list goes on.

As for our Dorothys, Top 9 finalist Michelle Bouey is off and running. Only a short time after Over the Rainbow she got an offer to perform in a show for Stage West Calgary. She says of her time on the show, 'I don't really have enough words to fully describe my experience on Over the Rainbow. I met people who I now consider my family, and who I really care about. How many girls can say they made it to the Top 9 in all of Canada? I'm so proud of myself, and of all the other girls, not to mention so thankful for the incredible opportunity. I learned so much on the journey.'

Michelle Bouey during one of her rehearsals for Over the Rainbow.

Unionville, Ontario's Julia Gartha, who placed 8th in the competition, is happy to report that since being on the show she was asked to sing in her town's upcoming Christmas concert. On top of that, she's been inspired to work on writing a play and 'a lot of new music'. Asked about the feedback she received on the show, Julia says, 'I truly appreciated all of the judges comments. They have helped me grow as a performer. I remember them telling me to have more confidence, because I was a good storyteller, but confidence was what I needed. I've really taken that with me and I have more confidence now than I've ever had! Hearing that from the judges was exactly what I needed. I'm so grateful for the experience.'

Julia Gartha performs during the second episode of Over the Rainbow.

We also caught up with Top 10 finalist Kelsey Verzotti who's focusing on continuing her voice and dance training and says 'There are some auditions I'm considering as well.' Kelsey is currently working on graduating high school in Calgary and says of her experience on Over the Rainbow, 'It was such a great opportunity for learning and personal growth and I learned that I'm a strong person. Even though I didn't make it as far as I would have hoped in this competition, I don't have any regrets just lessons learned! This is an experience I will remember for the rest of my life, and I would like to thank CBC and everyone involved for making it possible.'

Calgary's Kelsey Verzotti sings Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray.

And Coquitlam native Jennifer Gillis, who placed in the final six, has been cast in the role of Millie Dilmount in an upcoming production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Jennifer says 'I feel that I gained the mental and physical strength and maturity that it takes to be a Broadway actress in New York someday, I am so determined to get there. This experience made me grow immensely, and I now feel like I am more than ready to go out and chase after my dream.'

Jennifer Gillis sings Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins.

We're excited to see what the future has in store for all our bright young stars. They've proven to Canada that they have the drive, the talent and the passion - and we hope the exposure helps put them on the map as they continue their budding careers.

Answer the trivia question below to earn votes that you can use to save your favourite Dorothy from elimination!