Over The Rainbow In Toronto

Over The Rainbow was originally a British TV competition that followed the search for Dorothy in a new stage production of The Wizard of Oz. The winner, Danielle Hope, was chosen via viewers vote. This same production will be transferred to Toronto, and so a Canadian equivalent of the televised competition has been devised.

On Monday, June 18th, I was lucky enough to attend the initial audition in Toronto. This was a cattle-call style audition; literally anybody could try out at this stage, with no preference made to professional or unionized talents. The only qualification was that participants had to be over the age of sixteen and willing to wait.

When I arrived at 6:30 in the morning that misty and overcast Monday (registration and auditions only started at 9), I did not have realistic expectations for how many people would come to try out. I thought I'd come early to beat the rush, but there were already thirty to forty people in line ahead of me. On that day, the Glenn Gould Studio would see a huge amount of traffic, apparently unexpected even by the producers.

While waiting outside the Glenn Gould Studio for registration to begin, a camera crew appeared, and did some filming that will likely be in the show. It was crowd and reaction shots, but maybe you'll see me!

Inside, the people coordinating the event were doing their best to control the waves of Dorothies coming in. To my knowledge, there was nothing that would have hindered crowd control except for the sheer numbers. Kudos to the people who kept things going smoothly.

The wide-eyed participants who succeeded in the first few rounds of auditions were given a yellow 'ticket to Oz.' It was very cute, but perhaps slightly superfluous considering that they would be coming back to the exact same location later that evening for callbacks.

In order to audition, one had to prepare both 'Over The Rainbow' and a song of one's own choosing. I think the latter was meant for the later wave of auditions, because I never got to use it. I was eliminated in the first round.

"You have quite the voice in there," said the very sweet woman who was auditioning me, "but you're not ready for this competition. You also have a mature voice. Dorothy is supposed to play as sixteen, and that's not going to happen here."

It was good to get constructive feedback. I rarely get that at auditions. I left, found the friend I'd brought with me, and we went to watch The Avengers at the Scotiabank theatre after realizing that admittance to the CN Tower costs thirty-five dollars a pop.

(Can we just talk for a moment about the Scotiabank theatre? It's a fucking mansion. I loved going to see a movie there. And they have over a hundred flavours of pop. Remarkable)

A few notes about the people I saw at the auditions:

  • There were nobody presenting as male auditioning for Dorothy. I was actually anticipating this and got kinda disappointed when I saw no dudes. It would have been really interesting.
  • A little bit more worrying was the fact that I saw maybe three or four women of colour at the auditions. There were hundreds of women auditioning.
  • Though the competition is allegedly looking for 'a modern Dorothy', several participants came in dressed for the 1939 movie. Some even had ruby slippers. Most had pigtails. I have to say that my inner hair and fashion guy was like "Oh honey, no."
So that was my experience auditioning for Over the Rainbow. It was interesting, and quite worth the trip to Toronto.

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