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All Aussie Toto: Australian Cairn Terriers share the role in new Wizard of Oz

Right: Samantha Dodemaide and Toto. Photo by Brian Geach.

Producers John Frost and Suzanne Jones today announced their canine stars who will play the role of Toto in the upcoming Australian tour of The Wizard of Oz. Taking on the role of Dorothy’s loyal companion will be Australian Cairn Terriers Flick and Trouble, who will share the role.

The producers are also announced that they will be partnering with RSPCA as their official charity partner, which will see the production raise funds for the charity.

Hailing from Ballarat, Flick and Trouble are trained by Luke Hura, the country’s leading film, television and theatre dog trainer. In addition to these prized pooches, Luke trained Koko, the star of the film Red Dog, as well as Buddy who played Sandy for the GFO production of Annie in 2012.

“After rigorous paw-ditions across the country, we unanimously agreed that Flick and Trouble were the perfect dogs to play our Toto,” said John Frost. “They are clever and confident dogs that will be trained based on techniques using natural instincts and positive reinforcement for tricks from travelling in a “flying” house, to being carried in a basket by Dorothy and encounters with the Wicked Witch of The West. We know Luke will have a wonderful time training Flick and Trouble, and we have no doubt Australian audiences will fall in love with them too.”

Suzanne Jones said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with RSPCA Queensland as our chosen official charity partner. With Toto being one of the most-loved characters in the show, it seemed a logical and rewarding partnership. As Dorothy discovers ‘there is no place like home’; so we are looking forward to working with RSPCA in each state to raise money and awareness for ‘rescue dogs’, animals that have been abandoned, to help them find a new and forever home.”

RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend is also happy. “It’s a natural fit,” he said. “Toto has been adored by generations of children and we have hundreds of “Totos” looking for homes every day. The involvement of the Wizard of Oz team can only help draw attention to the fact that RSPCA animals really do make the best pets.”

To raise funds for RSPCA Queensland a limited number of tickets will be sold to the final dress rehearsal of The Wizard of Oz at 2 pm on Saturday 4 November at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC. Funds raised from the sale of the tickets will be donated to RSPCA Queensland to support their local animal care and adoption facilities. Tickets for the RSPCA dress rehearsal will go on sale soon.

Flick and Trouble will join The Wizard of Oz cast beside Anthony Warlow as The Wizard and Professor Marvel, Lucy Durack as Glinda the Good Witch, Jemma Rix as The Wicked Witch of the West and Samantha Dodemaide as Dorothy.

The London Palladium production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz will have its Australian Premiere in Brisbane at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from 4 November before travelling to the Capitol Theatre, Sydney from 30 December; the Festival Theatre, Adelaide from 3 April; and the Regent Theatre, Melbourne, from 15 May. Tickets for the Adelaide season will be on sale from 8 September.

Developed from the MGM screenplay, the London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz contains the Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg songs from the Oscar-winning movie score, all the favourite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

More stories in Showbiz News.