Over the Rainbow names its winner

From a media release:


  • Danielle will star in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new stage production of The Wizard of Oz

Who will wear the ruby slippers? Canada’s votes are in and LaSalle’s Danielle Wade has captured the title of Canada’s Top Dorothy in CBC’s OVER THE RAINBOW. Danielle will play the iconic role of Dorothy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, opening this December at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, in Toronto, ON.

After being presented with the coveted ruby slippers, Danielle closed the show with “Over The Rainbow.” At 20, Danielle recently completed her second year at the University of Windsor, where she studies acting. She has more than 10 years of vocal training and recently played Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, The Musical, Cinderella in Into The Woods and was part of the cast in Carner & Gregor’s Barely Legal Showtune Extravaganza in New York City. Her previous stage credits include playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Sandy in Grease.

“I am thrilled with the outcome, Danielle is an extraordinary talent. We have been blessed with three really great girls in the final who will all have careers in musical theatre, but I know that tonight we have found a Dorothy who Canada can celebrate,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The Top 3 Dorothys performed “Sing” as part of a special group number accompanied by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a children’s chorus to open the show. Fan favourites followed including “Big Spender” by Danielle Wade and “Buenos Aires” by Stephanie La Rochelle.

OVER THE RAINBOW not only discovered Canada’s next big star, but has also gained CBC acclaim for its digital innovation. “The CBC made history with its first ever foray into a synchronized second screen experience; for the first time ever the audience got to interact and rate performances live, in every time zone, and then see their feedback back on the TV screen in real time,” said Jennifer Dettman, Head of Factual Entertainment, CBC Television. This was a remarkable success, as the audience rated the Dorothys’ performances more than 118,000 times via the magical crystal ball.

Starting in June, Dorothy hopefuls from across the country ran to auditions during the national casting tour. Following the national call backs in Toronto in June, the field was whittled down to 20 contestants who then endured hours of rigorous training, and auditioning for musical theatre legend, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Finally, the Top 10 Dorothys were debuted during OVER THE RAINBOW’s first live performance on September 16, hosted by Daryn Jones. The contestants performed a variety of Broadway, standards and pop numbers in front of a live studio audience each week as well as judges Arlene Phillips, the famed UK TV judge, dance choreographer and director, Louise Pitre, Canada’s first lady of musical theatre, and one of Canada’s most popular leading men, Thom Allison. On the weekly half-hour results episodes airing on Mondays, the bottom two Dorothys, as determined by a public vote, went head-to-head in a live sing-off, with the judging panel determining who was sent home.

About AJ Bridel – 18, Kitchener, ON
AJ graduated from Eastwood Collegiate Institute’s Integrated Arts Program, where she trained in vocals, drama and dance. Her theatre credits include playing Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Rusty in Footloose, Mimi in RENT, and Pepper in Annie. She is also a solo vocalist in the KW Symphony Orchestra and has sung the National anthem at various functions across her city.

About Stephanie La Rochelle – 18, Ottawa, ON
Stephanie is a recent high school graduate, a musician/songwriter and the 20th most viewed musician on YouTube (Canada). She is trained in singing, dancing, acting, guitar and piano. Her theatre credits include playing Anne in Anne of Green Gables and parts in Willy Wonka and Annie Warbucks.