Over The Rainbow runner-up Sophie Evans will make her dream of playing Dorothy in the West End production of The Wizard Of Oz a reality when she takes on the role for selected performances next year.
The flame-haired Welsh native, who finished second to Danielle Hope in the televised casting contest, will play the iconic role every Tuesday evening and during the weeks of 2 May, 5 and 12 September while Hope is on holiday.
The announcement was made earlier today, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright met Evans at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Lloyd Webber commented: “I am thrilled that Sophie will be joining Danielle and the cast to play her dream role of Dorothy. She is a huge talent and I am very excited to see what she will bring to the role.”
In addition to giving Evans her West End break, Lloyd Webber has helped the young actress with her preparations and ongoing training, funding her on a one-year musical theatre course at the Arts Educational School.
The Wizard Of Oz will begin previews at the London Palladium on 7 February 2011, opening with a press night on 1 March. Based on the screenplay from the classic MGM film, it tells the story of a farm girl who finds herself stranded in a magical land. With the help of some newly made friends – a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion – she embarks on a trip to the Emerald City to find the one person who might be able to send her home, the Wizard of Oz.
The new production will be reconceived for London audiences by the creative team behind the 2006 revival of The Sound Of Music, which included director Jeremy Sams, designer Robert Jones and choreographer Arlene Phillips. As well as all the favourite songs from the hit film, it will also include new numbers written by Lloyd Webber.
Hope and Evans are not the only Over The Rainbow contestants to be making their mark on the London stage. Lauren Samuels, who finished third, makes her debut as Sandy in Grease next week, and Steph Fearon, who made it all the way to show nine, is currently appearing in Smokey Joe’s Café at the Landor theatre.