BWW Interviews: Getting to Know WIZARD OF OZ Newcomer Danielle Wade
The brand new Canadian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE WIZARD OF OZ opens this week at Saint Paul's The Ordway Center for Performing Arts and runs through Dec. 29, 2013. Dorothy is played by newcomer Danielle Wade, who won the coveted role in a Canadian reality show, much like Laura Osnes, Twin Cities native, did when she won the role of Sandy in GREASE on TV. BWW interviewed Wade enroute to Minnesota to learn more about her and this new production.
Q: You won this role from a Canadian television production, "Over the Rainbow" - how did you get involved in that, what did you have to do on the show and what was it like being picked to play Dorothy from that show?
A: One of my friends sent me an ad online saying that there were going to be auditions and I showed my mom. She said that we should go and the worst they could say was no and you would try again. Actually winning the show was unreal and something I never would have expected.
Q: What theatre experience did you have before appearing on the TV competition?
A: I was in University studying acting. I had done community theatre, but playing Dorothy is my first professional production.
Q: This tour is a re-imagined production of the classic THE WIZARD OF OZ from Andrew Lloyd Webber - can you give us an idea of what to expect from the show in terms of what has been kept from the film and/or stage version, what's been added and how different it is from what we've seen before?
A: Everything we all love about THE WIZARD OF OZ is still fully intact. The magic and splendour of what you see in the film is all onstage. There are a few new songs that ALW has added, which I think brings something special to the show. We try to maintain the same integrity that the film brings to the story onstage while bringing bits of ourselves to the show, as well.
Q: What has the reaction been in the other cities you've toured to in the U.S. so far? Do these audiences respond differently to the show than the people who saw you perform in Canada?
A: Reactions vary each place you go and night to night, as well. I find Canadian audiences a lot quieter. Laughs happen in different spots and there seems to be tears wherever we go. It's amazing how many people know and love this story.
Q: You've been performing in the show for about a year now... how are you keeping it fresh for yourself and your audiences?
A: We have a lot of fun out there each night. So it's not too hard to keep it fresh. But, I do give myself something to work on each night. Whether it be support a certain relationship with someone, or Toto. It varies all the time.
Q: What is your favorite song and scene in the show?
A: My favourite song is "Over The Rainbow" because no matter how many times you sing it, it never gets old. My favourite scene from the show might be all of the "If I Only Had A..." scenes. I finally make friends and we start our journey. I think it's such a fun part of the show and it really propels Dorothy into her leadership role.
Q: What have you learned about performing that surprised you since you began playing Dorothy?
A: I think it's amazing how much work goes into each performance. I used to sit in the audience and just see the magic and now being apart of it,I am amazed at the hours of practice, hard work and dedication that the cast, crew and creatives put in.
Q: Is this your first visit to the U.S.? to Minnesota and the Twin Cities? Do you have any expectations about coming here, or anything you want to do while you're here and not working?
A: This is my first visit to Minnesota and the Twin Cities. I am very excited, I have heard some wonderful things. I plan on wandering around. I love to explore.
Q: You'll be at the Ordway throughout December and over the holidays... Are you celebrating the holidays with your "theatre family" here this year?
A: This will be my first Christmas away from home which is sad but exciting. I will have my Wizard family and I am sure we will be doing Secret Santa and dinner of some sort. I think it's very cool that you become a family with your cast and crew while you are away from home.
Q: What's next in your career plans after this tour? Are there any dream roles you hope to play next?
A: I would love to make it to Broadway someday. I really look up to Laura Osnes who is from Minnesota herself. She won a reality TV show much like mine and she is now staring as CINDERELLA on Broadway. I would love to play Eponine one day or Natalie in NEXT TO NORMAL. Who knows, maybe I could even be in a brand new musical? :) The possibilities are endless.