BWW Interviews: Danielle Wade on Growing into the role of Dorothy
Danielle Wade captured the heart of Canadians across the country when she won the role of Dorothy after a gruesome 'audition' process which was televised live on CBC in a 'Canadian Idol' style format called 'Over the Rainbow'. 20 Dorothy's started out at 'Dorothy Farm', and then one by one they were eliminated by popular vote until only Danielle was left standing to belt out 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.
Her prize has been performing front and centre on the Ed Mirvish stage for eight shows a week over the last ten months, which is one heck of a debut role for any leading lady. BroadwayWorld Toronto interviewed Danielle when she was still in contention for the role almost a year ago, and now we are thrilled to be speaking with her again to discuss how the role has changed her life:
It's been ten months since Wizard of Oz opened. What's life like for you now?
I'm now starting to feel like I have a 'normal' life again. When I first started doing the show and was doing Over the Rainbow it was a hectic time, but now I've found my groove and settled into a routine which is nice. It still feels like a dream, but like a dream I'm starting to wake up from.
Have you found the level of difficulty improving as you've been growing in the role?
Absolutely. It's a tough show, I do eight performances a week and I'm on stage for almost the entire time. Even the 'breaks' I get I'm often on stage but hidden. You need a crazy amount of stamina, but I've developed 'tricks' to help me through it. For example, when I'm locked in the tower I do an ab workout!
How have you grown in the role since you started?
I think I will always be nervous, especially given how I landed the role and how public it was. Also, I'm in the type of person who wants to make everyone proud - my parents, the people who voted for meand everyone who comes to see me. So there's always pressure to perform well but I've found different aspects of the character and brought different parts of myself to the role now that I've been doing it forawhile.
How has the audience reaction been?
It's great - we're still here which is awesome and I think shows that it's going well. It's crazy when you see people who've never heard of the Wizard of Oz or been to a live show. It's such an incredibleexperience for them.
How about the little kids? Have you found yourself becoming a bit of a role model for them now?
Definitely. The little girls are always the ones who recognize me! It's funny because I don't look like Dorothy on the street, but the little ones will start telling their parents 'there's Dorothy' and I think it's amazing that they do that and they want to meet me.
Are you excited to head out on tour?
Absolutely! Lisa (Horner) won't be staying with us as she's going to be in Toronto doing Les Miserables, and we're losing some of our ensemble members as well, so we will be having rehearsals before we head out. It'll be interesting for me to go by myself - since landing this role I've been living with Stephanie (another Over the Rainbow finalist) and this will be my first time living on my own and being away from home for a truly extended period of time. It's just crazy - I auditioned on a whim and now my whole life has changed.
If someone still hasn't seen the show, why would you tell someone to come and check it out?
It's a great night out for your family, you can sit at home and watch the movie but we're real people on stage and you can attach better to that kind of a story. People are enjoying it with us and we're having a great time doing it so I hope that people will come out and enjoy it with us.
When and Where?
The Wizard of Oz
The Ed Mirvish Theatre