Over the Rainbow reveals judging panel


From a media release:


  • Arlene Phillips, Thom Allison and Louise Pitre (pictured) will help guide Canada to choose a Dorothy to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Canadian production of The Wizard of Oz

Who’s off to see the Wizard? Arlene Phillips, Thom Allison and Louise Pitre are, as CBC Television reveals its panel of renowned judges for its exciting new series, OVER THE RAINBOW. The talented trio will help Canada decide the fate of 10 Dorothy Gales, with Canada ultimately picking one to star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Canadian stage production of The Wizard of Oz. It opens at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto this December.

Dance choreographer and director Arlene Phillips is one of the UK’s most recognizable TV judges. Her celebrated career includes being a member of the original panel for Strictly Come Dancing and stints on prime time entertainment shows, including So You Think You Can Dance, DanceX and Strictly Dance Fever. On top of working in a number of world-famous theatre, film, television productions and music videos, she’s also sat in the director’s chair for productions including Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.

Winnipeg born Thom Allison is one of Canada’s most popular leading men. He has been a mainstay at the Stratford Festival, having appeared in productions of Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, My Fair Lady, Threepenny Opera, The King and I, King Henry VIII and the Stratford Festival production of Into the Woods. Allison is a multi-award nominated performer of musical theatre, having been in the original Canadian companies of Miss Saigon, The Who’s Tommy and Rent. Following a yearlong run of his Broadway debut in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, he has received rave reviews for his current starring role as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime at the Shaw Festival.

Louise Pitre is Canada’s first lady of musical theatre, boasting a career that spans theatre, television and concert stages across North America and Europe. Pitre received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in the smash hit Mamma Mia! and in addition to headlining the Toronto, Broadway and U.S. touring company casts of Mamma Mia!, her signature roles include Fantine in Les Misérables (Toronto, Montreal, Paris) and the title character in Edith Piaf.

OVER THE RAINBOW, hosted by Daryn Jones, is an exciting new series coming this fall to CBC, produced by Temple Street Productions. The winner will star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz, opening at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto this December.

The series will kick-off with a two-hour premiere on Sunday, September 16 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). The first episode chronicles the cross-Canada audition process with girls competing to play the iconic role of Dorothy, as well, the Top 10 will be revealed and viewers will see them perform live for the first time.

In each live performance show the 10 Dorothys will compete, singing a mixture of Broadway, standards and pop songs. The first results show airs on Monday, September 17 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) where the bottom two, (as determined by a telephone and online public vote) will faceoff and one contestant will be saved from elimination by the judges.

One contestant will be eliminated each week until only three remain in the final performance episode. The competition will culminate in a showdown between the final three, with Andrew Lloyd Webber himself in attendance, and Canada choosing the winner.

In addition, there will be a search for a dog to play the role of Toto in the finale episode of OVER THE RAINBOW. The hilarious duo, comedians Deb McGrath of Little Mosque on the Prairie and Colin Mochrie, star of the summer series, Trust Us With Your Life along with award-winning dog breeder, Mike Macbeth, form the judging panel that will help to select the 10 most lovable contenders. After being featured on Monday night results episodes, there will be a weekly elimination until the winning Toto is adorned with the coveted red ruby collar, performing live on stage with the Dorothy finalists.