Lo­cal ac­tress on Yel­low Brick Road, hopes to meet the Wizard of Oz

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - BRAD OSWALD

SHE’S off to see the Wizard ... and Win­nipeg­ger Colleen Furlan has her sights set on col­lect­ing the prize that waits at the end of the Yel­low Brick Road.

“It would make my whole life,” said the 19-year-old mu­si­cal-the­atre per­former, who to­day will be named as one of the Top 10 fi­nal­ists in the CBC re­al­ity/com­pe­ti­tion se­ries Over the Rain­bow. “An op­por­tu­nity like this doesn’t come along very of­ten, es­pe­cially for a young per­former who’s just try­ing to break into the busi­ness. Ba­si­cally, be­ing on a show like this, and win­ning it, would make your whole ca­reer. I would be so grate­ful, be­cause I re­ally can’t see my­self do­ing any­thing else other than per­form­ing.” Over the Rain­bow, which pre­mieres Sun­day at 8 p.m. on CBC, is an eight-part tal­ent com­pe­ti­tion se­ries in which weekly per­for­mances and viewer vot­ing will nar­row the field un­til the fi­nal re­main­ing con­tes­tant wins the star­ring role in An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s up­com­ing Toronto pro­duc­tion of The Wizard of Oz.

Af­ter tak­ing part in the Win­nipeg tryouts dur­ing the show’s cross-coun­try au­di­tion tour last spring, Furlan was one of six lo­cals cho­sen to take part in the Top-100 tryouts in Toronto; when the field was re­duced to the Top 20, she was the lone re­main­ing Win­nipeg­ger.

Furlan, a Charleswood prod­uct who last spring com­pleted her first year of stud­ies in the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba’s fac­ulty of mu­sic, has spent the past three weeks tak­ing part in an in­ten­sive “Dorothy Farm” that in­cluded vo­cal and dance train­ing, ward-

Hosted by Daryn Jones; fea­tur­ing judges Thom Al­li­son, Ar­lene Phillips and Louise Pitre Sun­day at 8 p.m. CBC robe and makeup ses­sions, and per­for­mance-based com­pe­ti­tions that in­cluded an au­di­tion in front of An­drew Lloyd Web­ber him­self.

“This has been the best ex­pe­ri­ence of my life,” she said. “To be able, at 19 years old, to have some­thing this big hap­pen is ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble. It’s al­ways been a dream of mine to make it on­stage, and now that I have this op­por­tu­nity, the adrenalin is pump­ing through my veins non­stop. I feel like it’s fi­nally hap­pen­ing.”

Furlan’s TV-se­ries trip down the Yel­low Brick Road is just an­other leg in what has been a life­long jour­ney to­ward a show­biz ca­reer. A dancer since age four and a singer since age six, she has been a fix­ture in lo­cal High­land Dance com­pe­ti­tions and the Win­nipeg Mu­sic Fes­ti­val for most of the past decade.

Over the Rain­bow rep­re­sents a shift in her com­pet­i­tive ca­reer, how­ever, in that it will be viewer votes that de­cide how far she goes to­ward be­ing fit­ted with Dorothy’s cov­eted ruby slip­pers. And to that end, Furlan and her fam­ily are do­ing ev­ery­thing she can to drum up lo­cal sup­port — send­ing out cards and fly­ers, set­ting up a Face­book fan page (www.Face­book.com/ColleenMcGre­gorFurlan) and en­cour­ag­ing lo­cal sup­port­ers to fol­low her on Twit­ter (@colleenosaurus3).

“Win­nipeg is such a sup­port­ive community, and I re­ally do hope they get be­hind me,” she said. “I re­ally want to make a good im­pres­sion for our city, and to do that, I need their sup­port. It’s not a huge place like Toronto or Van­cou­ver, where many of the com­peti­tors are from, so I hope peo­ple at home will watch the show and vote for me.”

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