By Deborah Wilker
“This is my first real job!” says Danielle Wade, the bubbly 21-year-old contest winner who stars as Dorothy in the touring musical The Wizard of Oz, opening Jan. 7 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. “How often do you get to live your dream?”
Just over 18 months ago Wade was a college student working the 4-to-midnight shift at a Tim Hortons donut shop – a dreary 40-minute commute from her home in LaSalle, Ontario. “I had to drive my grandma’s old – old – van,” she says. “That car was at least 15 years old. It was awful.”
The up side? “I could sing my lungs out,” Wade says of how she’d seize the cold, lonely highway to practice. “It was the only time no one asked me to stop.”
All that driving paid off when Wade won Canada’s Over The Rainbow, a Star Search-style TV hunt that featured 10 finalists “auditioning” week-after-week to be Oz’s North American Dorothy.
The musical, an adaptation of the classic MGM film, was conceived in London by producer Andrew Lloyd Webber and features the familiar movie songs, plus some new ones from Webber and lyricist Tim Rice.
This current production on tour here originated in Toronto and recently extended its run throughout the United States and Canada. Whether the show ultimately ends up on Broadway or not, Wade says New York is where she’s headed no matter what.
“I know, there’s no place like home! But Broadway has always been my long-time goal. I’m having a blast.”
The Wizard of Oz, on stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 7-Jan. 19. Tickets are $34.50-$119.50. Visit browardcenter.org/online for more information.