Belfast woman Philippa O’Hara faces an agonising week-long wait to see whether she has been picked by the public to be in with a chance of playing Dorothy in a new West End production of The Wizard of Oz.
Musical hit composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is looking for a talented singer to play Dorothy as well as a pooch to play her faithful dog Toto.
On Saturday, 20 finalists were whittled down to 10 by the judging panel which includes Lloyd Webber and Welsh singing star Charlotte Church. Eleven will eventually compete for the role as one lucky contestant from the rejected ten can be saved by the voting public.
Ms O’Hara (23) — who gave up the role of Pitti Sing in a St Agnes’ Choral Society production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Milkado which is opening at the Grand Opera House in Belfast next month — for the contest, was joined by 20-year-old Dublin girl Emma Warren and 19-year-old Katie Hogan also from the Republic in the ten fighting for the final place.
The trio had to perform the iconic song Over The Rainbow with the seven others in a fight for the final place.
Phone lines opened after the BBC1 show and the one with the most votes will get another chance to impress the judges next Saturday when the result is revealed.
Lord Lloyd Webber said Judy Garland's movie performance was “iconic” but he was not looking for an impersonation and wanted a modern Dorothy. “I'm looking for a girl who's a bit feisty. It's got to be a Dorothy who's got a bit of edge,” he said.
The contestants with a guaranteed place include glamour girl Amy Diamond, who had a small role in BBC1's Hustle, and Sophie Evans, who made it through to boot camp in 2008's The X Factor. Also through is Steph Fearon, whose father Phil Fearon was in the 1980s band Galaxy and whose mother Dorothy Fearon sang on the 1994 Baby D hit ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’.
Over The Rainbow follows other successful TV talent searches by Lord Lloyd Webber such as I'd Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do.
The first installment of the Over the Rainbow contest on BBC 1 on Saturday attracted more than seven million viewers making it set to become Lloyd Webber’s most successful TV contest yet.