Andrew Lloyd Webber's London Wizard of Oz Opens in Toronto Jan. 13
By Kenneth Jones
The new Canadian production of London's popular The Wizard of Oz, featuring the classic movie score punctuated with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and featuring Danielle Wade of LaSalle, Ontario — who won the role of Dorothy in CBC-TV's "Over The Rainbow" competition — opens Jan. 13 in Toronto following previews from Dec. 20.
This marks the professional debut of Wade. Producers Bill Kenwright, The Really Useful Group, David Mirvish, Troika Entertainment & Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures are behind the production — an all-Canadian cast marking the North American premiere of this new stage adaptation of the M-G-M picture based on the L. Frank Baum story. Performances play the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
Playing opposite Wade (who recently completed her second year in acting at the University of Windsor) is Gemini Award winner, film and theatre veteran Cedric Smith as the Wizard.
On the competition series finale, Wade said, "I've never auditioned for anything before. I hope they all go like this."
Lisa Horner, star of Shaw and Stratford productions and best known for her role as Claire in the Fringe hit My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, plays the Wicked Witch. Actor and choreographer Mike Jackson plays the Tin Man. Lee MacDougall (Mamma Mia! and a Dora Award winner for his play High Life) plays the Lion. Jamie McKnight, known for his performance in The Producers (and as one of the Canadian Tenors), plays the Scarecrow. Robin Evan Willis, star of many Shaw Festival productions, plays Glinda.
The ensemble includes Larry Mannell as Uncle Henry, Charlotte Moore as Aunt Em, Jordan Bell, Eric Coles, Sam DiGiuseppe, Chelsey Duplak, John Edwards, Kelly Grainger, Sarah Higgins, Julianne Hobby, Jason Huska, Zak Kearns, Ayrin Mackie, Anthony MacPherson, Stewart Adam McKensy, Julia McLellan, Kristen Pottle, Alana Randall, Adam Sergison, Sarah Slywchuk, Andrew Taylor, Jesse Weafer, Cleopatra Williams, Ryan Wilson and Alyson Workman.
As in London, Jeremy Sams (The Sound of Music, Broadway's 13, Noises Off) directs.
The musical is developed from the M-G-M screenplay, and includes "all the beloved songs" by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. Expect "We're Off the See the Wizard," "Over the Rainbow," "If I Only Had a Brain/Heart/Nerve" and more.
The Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon) is at 244 Victoria St. in Toronto. For tickets and information, visit mirvish.com.
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