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Think your Cairn Terrier has what it takes to light up the stage?

The Gilbert & Sullivan Society is searching for two dogs to play Toto in The Wizard of Oz.

The only requirements are that they’re able to bark on command, and are flea-free.

“We need two in case one gets sick,” said Deborah Smith-Joell, the musical’s producer. “Toto is definitely one of the stars of the show. He is the one that starts all the trouble.”

Toto leads Dorothy into the tornado in the classic tale; the terrier is also responsible for unmasking the wizard as a fraud at the end.

When the successful pooch isn’t barking or leaping into Dorothy’s arms, it will be carried around by her in a basket.

Mrs Smith-Joell was all up for using a fake pup until director Nina French convinced her to go for the real deal.

The producer reluctantly agreed. She’s frightened of dogs and had never used an animal in a performance before. “I jerk when dogs bark,” she said. “I was bitten on the foot when I was a child and needed stitches [but] we want The Wizard of Oz to be as close to the original production as we can.”

The one lead she’s followed so far — a woman and a dog she passed on the street — didn’t get her very far.

“She had a Yorkshire terrier,” said Mrs Smith-Joell. “We might use that breed if we can’t find a Cairn. I said, ‘Does he bark on command?’ She said, ‘No, he just barks.’ I said, ‘Does he jump on command?’ She said, ‘No, he just jumps.’”

Canines are invited to try out at the show’s auditions on June 2 and 4.

The Wizard of Oz will run from October 5 to 14 at the Earl Cameron Theatre.

(Taken from The Royal Gazette - May 10, 2017 - Jessie M Hardy)


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