Samantha Dodemaide plays Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
Anthony Warlow has top billing as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage version of The Wizard of Oz, but it’s rising star Samantha Dodemaide who skips down the yellow brick road at every performance. After understudying in Anything Goes, A
Chorus Line and Singin’ in the Rain, the young performer got her breakthrough in this show. But there’s a shadow that still looms large over her performance: that of the leading lady who made Dorothy famous in the 1939 MGM film. “It wasn’t until I started doing a bit of publicity and people kept talking about stepping into Judy Garland’s shoes that it really hit home how well known and loved this role is,” she says. Dodemaide’s job is to make the character her own while honouring Garland’s legacy and also make the story translate to a 2,000-seat theatre in 2018. And then there’s the challenge of working with the two dogs who alternate the role of Toto (and occasionally upstage her). “I’m such an animal lover, I’m a vegetarian for that reason. But in my pocket I have to have bits of freshly cooked meat for the dogs.” The one thing I admire most about Dorothy: “I love her courage. I love that she goes after what she wants but also has kindness. It’s how I want to live my life.” Òregent Theatre, 191 Collins St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9299 9800. www.wizardofozthemusical.com. $59.90-$169.90. May 15-Jul 1.
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