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As we prepare for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest TV casting offering, Over the Rainbow, during which he hopes to find an ‘urban’ Dorothy and indeed a Toto, this fortnight’s video picks take a look back at some of the previous reality casting shows to see just what legacy they’ve left behind them. With more people than ever trying their hand at the televised musical theatre auditions, with varying degrees of success, perhaps Lloyd Webber’s preferred title for the new series, The Oz Factor would be more appropriate….

  • You can take the girl out of Blackpool… From her very first audition, it was clear that Jodie Prenger was a definite contender for the much loved role of Nancy. Talented of course, but it was her loveable demeanor and absolute likeability that made the panel want to hear more. And rather wonderfully, she hasn’t changed one bit – and after over 14 months in the role, it was a true pleasure to have Jodie perform at the WOS Award Winner’s concert last month where her shining personality and brilliant humour went down a storm and she was rewarded with her Best Supporting Actress in a Musical win.

  • Run away, as fast you can! - Sometimes a first audition is less successful, and after exhausting her singing skills and general charm, this happy hopeful had one final chance to wow the panel with her dance skills. Taken from the lesser remembered ITV foray into reality casting Grease is the Word, this clip reminds us that sometimes it’s best to simply bite the bullet and admit defeat. After all, there’s only so many times you can attempt a split leap and removing your shoes is unlikely to help!

  • OMG! I can’t believe he said that! - One of the benefits of filming an audition process is that Joe Public gets to see the good as well as the bad, and this includes the sometimes startlingly harsh truths casting directors and judging panels can quip. In the real world, actors are usually spared hearing this damning criticism face to face, but in the world of reality TV casting, the willing auditionees have to face the panel and accept criticism directly in front of fellow contestants and both a studio and home audience – terrifying!
  • She dreamed a dreamPerhaps one of the first and definitely most famous auditions captured on film is Lea Salonga’s audition for Miss Saigon, in the presence of Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Nicholas Hytner and Cameron Mackintosh – no pressure! A face of innocence, Lea is taught the melody with Schonberg at the piano, and quite effortlessly hits every note with beautiful tone and a gentle sensitivity way beyond her years. Knowing a good thing when they saw one, Lea went on to take lead roles in both Miss Saigon and Les Miserables, making her one of musical theatres most well known leading ladies.
  • Selections by David Grewcock. You can view
    these – & many more – clips on
    If you've seen something you think is worth a watch for theatregoers,
    then please email us the clip or a link to it.