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Doodles is off to see the Wizard as the winner of the Orchard Theatre's casting call for Toto

For a show called The Wiz, it was perhaps tempting fate to allow six excited dogs on the stage of the Orchard Theatre to audition for the role of Toto.

Back in February we reported on the open auditions for this year’s summer youth project at the Dartford theatre, with the lead role of Dorothy going to 14-year-old Jodie McMillan.

On Tuesday, Jodie shared the stage with six dogs vying to join her in the show, a musical version of the 1939 film The Wizard Oz.

Dog auditions for Toto, in the Wizard of Oz at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford.

The judging panel included Dartford Messenger chief reporter Thom Morris and Dartford Mayor Cllr Avtar Sandhu alongside the show's Natalie Taylor and Jodie McMillan.

Among those appearing was Pomeranian-cross, Little Red, a two-year-old from Windsor Drive in Dartford; Alfie, a four-year-old Yorkshire terrier from Parrock Road, Gravesend; and Yorkie bichon cross Molly, 13 months, from Brent Lane, Dartford.

Alongside them were Heston, a schnauzer from Rochester, and pug Miley Cyrus from Maidstone.

Janet James with Little Red and Mayor of Dartford Avtar Sandhu
Fintan Nicholls from Gravesend pictured with Alfie.

The skills they had to perform were walking in a circle, sitting down, and offering their paw.

They also had to forget their real names and answer to Toto when called from the other side of the stage by Jodie.

The clear winner of the role, however, went to jackadoodle Doodles, from Croydon, a rescue dog who has already modelled for Diva Dogs in Essex and appeared in numerous magazines.

Doodles, owned by Emma Morris, was full of energy on stage, and will now perform for four nights in the show, which runs from August 21 to 23.

WINNER: Emma Morris with Doodles.

Jodie, a Dartford Grammar School for Girls’ pupil, was in last year’s production, Footloose, playing Urleen, but was surprised to bag the lead role this year.

She told the Messenger: “I went to the auditions and got one of the principal parts last year, and I just really liked the people and so I thought I’d come back and do it again this year.

“I didn’t expect to get Dorothy so it was quite a shock.

“I’m quite calm about it all, though, and I just need time to learn my lines.

“Rehearsals start next week and I got my lines today, so I’ll be getting on with learning them now.”

Lynn Bristow with Molly and Jodie McMillan playing Dorothy, right.
Linda Russel with her dog Heston
Jaimie Hutt, with her pooch, Miley Cyrus.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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