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In Dorothy’s Shoes

Lea Michele from Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return talks about voicing the iconic girl from Kansas

May 02, 2014
CLARIUS ENTERTAINMENT

Dorothy Gale is voiced by Lea Michele in the new animated movie, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

Actress and singer Lea Michele, 27, has shown off her talents as a star on Broadway and on the musical-TV show Glee. Now, she’s headed to the big screen as the voice of Dorothy in the animated musical adventure Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which hits theaters in 3-D on May 9. The story finds Dorothy—from Frank L. Baum’s classic 1900 tale, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz—back in Kansas, until she has to return to Oz to help her friends, the Tin-Man (voiced by Kelsey Grammer), the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), and the Lion (Jim Belushi). The movie is based on the book Dorothy of Oz by Roger S. Baum, Frank L. Baum’s great grandson. Michele chatted with TFK about the role.

Lea Michele records the voice of Dorothy in the studio for Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

CLARIUS ENTERTAINMENT
Lea Michele records the voice of Dorothy in the studio for Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

TFK:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was made into a popular children’s movie in 1939. How often did you watch it as a kid?

MICHELE:

My mom says there wasn’t a day when The Wizard of Oz was not playing in the house growing up. I had plastic Dorothy slippers that I would wear, and I thought that I was Dorothy!

TFK:

This is your first animated movie. What did you think of the experience?

MICHELE:

I loved being able to wear pajamas into the studio and not having to be in front of the camera. But it is difficult. You really have to work your voice and do lots of different sound effects. You also don’t get to work with the other actors. You go in to the studio on your own.

TFK:

What was your favorite song to sing?

MICHELE:

“Even Then,” the one I sing with Megan Hilty and Hugh Dancy, was such a sweet song, but all of them are very uplifting and bright. Right now, musical animated films are so popular, and I think this film definitely can stand against any of them.

TFK:

One of the film’s producers described The Wizard of Oz as "the original American fairytale." Why do you think these stories have resonated with Americans for so long?

MICHELE:

They have such great themes of love and friendship and family and home. With such universal themes like that, they really can last a lifetime, from generation to generation.

TFK:

What do you admire about Dorothy in this movie?

MICHELE:

I really like her bravery. She has such a strong voice and such a charismatic personality. And she’s kind. I think that she’s a really good role model for young girls, as someone who uses her voice and speaks her mind but really does lead with her heart at the same time.

TFK:

In the beginning of the movie, Dorothy is upset at the thought of losing her home and moving after the tornado. Did you ever have to face any scary moves as a kid?

MICHELE:

After living in New York City my whole life, I picked up and moved across the country, away from my family, to work on Glee. It is really hard being away from them, so I understand the weight of having to leave the people you love.

Dorothy and her friends meet with the good witch, Glinda (voiced by Bernadette Peters) in a scene from Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

CLARIUS ENTERTAINMENT
Dorothy and her friends meet with the good witch, Glinda (voiced by Bernadette Peters) in a scene from Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

TFK:

How do you think you would react if you were dropped into the land of Oz?

MICHELE:

It would be my childhood dream come true. It’s such a magical place. I would want to put on those ruby slippers and skip down the yellow brick road all day long.

TFK:

Do you hope to do more animated musicals in the future?

MICHELE:

Yeah, I’m actually working on another one right now, and it’s really something that I find quite enjoyable. I obviously love singing, and to be able to act and sing at the same time for me is always such a pleasure.

TFK:

You keep a busy schedule, including working on TV, movies, books, and music. Do you have any tips for kids who might feel overwhelmed by their own schedules?

MICHELE:

It’s very important that, despite how busy you are, you take really good care of yourself. You have to be your best and strongest self in order to be able to tackle lots of things. So I always spend time with my family, I always get really good rest, and I keep healthy.

TFK:

Your fellow Glee cast member, Chris Colfer, is writing an upcoming episode of the show. Did you ask him to write anything special for your character, Rachel?

MICHELE:

I asked him if I could be in pajamas the whole episode and if Rachel could be under the weather with a cold, but he did not do that! Instead, he has me doing the craziest things. I will say though that my storyline involves puppies, so I am very happy about that. It’s really, really good.


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