MILFORD: Hants East Rural High student Emily Robertson has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before her; the chance to play the role of Dorothy in a major production of the Wizard of Oz that will be put on by the CBC.
Early in June, Robertson attended an audition to be one of the 100 Dorothy hopefuls to head to Toronto to compete for the opportunity to portray the character in a major production. After her audition, Robertson received a callback, and an invite to Toronto for what could be the taping of the forthcoming CBC reality TV show called ‘Over the Rainbow’; which will chronicle the actresses attempts to obtain the title role in the production.
The show will take on the format of such successes as ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ – ‘Canadian Idol’, wherein an audience vote will decide who moves on to the next round, and as such, the final role in the musical. Alongside the vote for Dorothy, the CBC is also hold a search for Toto; whom is Dorothy’s beloved pet.
Dorothy’s were chosen based upon their singing abilities and acting abilities.
“This role requires a lot of deep, emotional, feeling,” said Robertson. “It’s Dorothy, and she has a lot of problems – who she is; she wants to be bigger, get out in the world, and to do more. You really have to portray that emotional longing, and hoping.”
During the audition in Halifax, Robertson, alongside her fellow wannabe Dorothys, were subjected to lots of taping – interviews, things done with the individual Dorothys.
At the Toronto Audition, 20 Dorothy’s will be selected from the 100; from there, they will again return for another round of auditions, from there, they would be weeded down to 10 Dorothy’s, that would then duke it out for the role as the TV pans out.
“Amazing,” is what Robertson responded when queried as to how it felt to get the audition. “I mean, that’s really one of the words I can describe it as. It’s just incredible. I didn’t believe it at first – it was shocking. The audition was pretty nerve-wracking, but when you get in there it was natural; easy-come, easy-go.”
Robertson was pleased with how she performed in the audition, saying;
“It feels really good; but it’s also a challenge,” she said. “ I mean, I like challenges, but it will be a pretty interesting couple of days in Toronto. This is something that I love to do –so it shouldn’t be any problem at all.”
Going into Toronto, Robertson revealed that she’s nervous, however curious to see what lies in store for her while there.
“I’m kind of curious to see how it’s gonna work – how things will go down. I feel pretty proud that I got this far; even if I don’t get on during the Toronto callbacks, I’m really proud that I got this far. It was really great to go through something like this audition process – learn how the process works; how to be presentable, how people judge you, and what they’re looking for. That was really beneficial for auditions in the future.”
Robertson started singing when she was five-years-old, at the Maritime Conservatory – and she’s been acting since she was seven or eight. From there, she moved onto musicals, and productions in Truro at the Spotlight Theatre.
“Dancing was something I only recently started,” admitted Robertson. “I do really enjoy it –and I would really like to continue.”
Robertson’s received ballet and jazz dance training at the Truro Dance Academy, alongside theatre training, and regularly visiting a vocal coach.
“I went to Randolph Academy of Performing Arts in Toronto,” said Robertson. “Where I took a summer course last year, for two weeks; It was an amazing experience – I would love to go back because it taught me a lot about the triple threat (singing, dancing, and acting) and how it works in theatre.”
Robertson also went to New York for a week last December, where she studied dance at “Dance on Broadway” with her teachers and fellow students from the Truro Dance Academy. There, they learned choreography, alongside dance skills in Jazz, Ballet, and Contemporary.
“It was really eye-opening,” said Robertson. “It was a great experience.”
Robertson says that her motivation stems from her love for the performing arts;
“Probably my passion for doing it – I’d have to say that would be the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long, and it’s something I just love to do. I love to see the reaction for people when I sing for them, and how happy they get – especially my family members. My motivation as well, is to make my Mom really proud of me. I know she already is, but I do this for her – and I love seeing her reaction, and how happy it makes her. She wants me to do the best I can do, so I do it for her.”
Robertson went to Toronto on June 20, where she’ll find out just what lies over the rainbow.