Chelsea Woodard is one of 100 young singers who are competing to get cast as Dorothy, in the upcoming CBC reality TV show "Over the Rainbow".
The Weyburn singer was in Winnipeg on June 4 for one of the regional auditions. Chelsea went to Winnipeg with her mother Jennifer Woodard, while her father Darren and her siblings stayed home. "There was lots of nervous energy coming from all these other girls," said Woodard.
There were two rounds of auditions at the regionals, the first a preliminary round, and the second where they performed for Stephanie Gorin, the casting director for both "Over the Rainbow" and "Wizard of Oz".
"All the girls before me were so nervous, so it psyched me out a little," said Woodard. "I thought of my dad and that he would say, 'you gotta just do it as you will win it. You got to go in there and show them what you've got'."
Chelsea noted that for the contestants before her, that the performers were asked to leave the audition room while a decision was made. But after Chelsea's performance, she was given some advice from the casting director and a "Ticket to Oz".
"She told me that I was dressed up too fancy," laughed Chelsea. "Then added that because I was auditioning for Dorothy, that she was a farm girl, to think of it as more casual."
During Chelsea's first audition at the regionals, she performed a song from "Seussical the Musical", which was her most recent performance with the Do It With Class young people's theatre group in Regina.
But all the competitors had to know "Over the Rainbow", and Chelsea observed that she heard the song a lot during the competition. The difficult thing for her was "to make it different, to make it unique to myself."
"When you think about the words to 'Over the Rainbow', it's about trying to find your dreams and trying to reach for something that you may not access to right now," said Woodard. "It is about wanting your dreams to come true."
After facing some challenges with finding the right post-secondary program, Woodard was able to express those challenges in her song.
The top 100 finalists will travel to Toronto, Ont., for the first callbacks, and Chelsea will have her callback on June 21. During the callbacks, all performers will be required to perform for a panel of expert judges.
"I haven't been to Toronto before, so that is very exciting," said Woodard. "I am expecting that it will be an extensive workshop period, where there will be lots thrown at you in a short period of time. So I have to prepare myself mentally and think about what I will need to bring to it."
Chelsea is looking forward to auditioning with 100 other performers, and hopes to meet some new friends during her adventure. "The girls who I did meet (in Winnipeg) who moved on were really sweet and really excited as well."
If Chelsea makes it past the callbacks, she will qualify for the "Dorothy Farm" from Aug. 13 to 22. The top 10 finalists will be decided from "Dorothy Farm", and will participate in the production of the "Over the Rainbow" series from Aug. 27 to Nov. 9.
While Chelsea has auditioned before, and competed before for other singing contests, this opportunity is something new because it will be aired on TV. "The whole TV part of it makes me a little nervous. It is a whole different genre for me and it will be an experience," said Woodard.
The most important thing about this competition for Chelsea is the performance itself. "It is about landing a role in theatre. For me, it is about performing on stage. This would open up a lot of doors, it would definitely give me more networking and allow me to know other people in this industry. Even if I make it to the Top 10, I would have so much more than I had before."
"The girls who make it get a lot of fantastic training while they are there," added Woodard. "I feel that it would be a great experience, it is another thing to say, 'hey, I did that'."
The finalist chosen as Dorothy will be starring in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Wizard of Oz" musical.
Residents are encouraged to follow Chelsea on Facebook, by searching Chelsea Woodard, or follow her on Twitter, by searching @ChelseaAWoodard.
Building a social network is important, as the top 10 finalists of "Over the Rainbow" will require online votes to stay on the show every week. The two Dorothys with the fewest votes will battle it out to be saved by the judges.