Belfast Telegraph

Belfast girl in Over The Rainbow final 20

A Belfast girl has reached the final 20 in a television competition to win the part of Dorothy in musical maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest production, The Wizard of Oz.

Philippa O’Hara (23) will be relying on winning the hearts of the viewers of Over The Rainbow across the UK to stay in the competition which started last night on the BBC.

Producers are seeking to cast the central role of Dorothy, as well as her faithful dog Toto, for a production which will open in the West End later this year

The local starlet was set to play the role of Pitti Sing in a St. Agnes' Choral Society production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado at the Grand Opera House opening on April 13 but was forced to pull out after winning a place in the high profile competition.

She will battle two other Irish girls for the role. Helping Lloyd Webber find his Dorothy will be former opera child prodigy Charlotte Church along with EastEnders star John Partridge, and actress Sheila Hancock.

Last night the message boards of the Association of Irish Musical Societies were full of praise for the Belfast woman and urging all to back her.

Over The Rainbow will be shown every Saturday evening on BBC 1.

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