The famous line “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” will shortly become all too familiar to a soon-to-be famous local pooch.
Auditions were held yesterday for the leading four-legged actor in the Citadel Theatre’s upcoming production of the Wizard of Oz.
Twenty-five well-behaved little canines polished their manners and dragged their owners to the downtown casting call, and were met by fierce competition.
“It’s like the Olympics,” director Bob Baker said. “They all look right, and most of them are trained very well.”
While the original Toto from the 1939 film was a scruffy Cairn terrier, the Citadel’s Toto doesn’t necessarily need to be of the same breed.
“People tell us they look like Toto — that’s why we’re here,” said Delia Kuzz, looking down at her two Brussel-Griffon dogs, six-year-old Callie and seven-year-old Gossip.
The audition process alone was a bit nerve-racking for the pair, who are used to doing tricks for a much smaller audience at home, she added.
The ideal Toto’s life, though glamorous, will be filled with long days under pressure, Baker said.
In addition to learning to obey a new master in four weeks of rehearsals, the chosen pooch will be on stage for six weeks, under bright lights, set changes, and an applauding audience of hundreds.
“I think fame will be the payment,” Baker said.