SOOKIE the dog could be set for stardom after landing a lead role in The Wizard of Oz.
The South Shields pooch is playing Toto in the musical show at Northern Stage, in Newcastle.
The show is being put on by the West End Musical Theatre Company, from June 24 to 28, and talented Sookie, a two-year-old lhasa apso, was chosen especially for the part.
His owner, Lesley Potts, explained: “My sister, Louise Mills, works with a lot of theatre productions all over the place, helping out backstage.
“She was talking to someone from The Wizard of Oz and they said they’d seen pictures of her dog on Facebook and wanted it for the show.
“She explained it was my dog and asked if I’d mind him being in the show.
“The hardest part was convincing our five-year-old daughter, Emily that everything would be OK.
“I asked if she’d like to see him on stage and she said no, and when I asked why she said it was because the Wicked Witch takes him away at the end.
“But once we explained the witch wouldn’t really be taking Sookie away she was OK with it.”
Lesley owns Breaking News in Fielding Court, South Shields, with husband Steven, where Sookie is a regular face.
Lesley said: “He’s already a bit of a celebrity. He’s got such a lovely nature and he often comes to work with me.
“He always walks up to the door to greet customers as they come in and everyone loves seeing him – they always ask where he is if he’s not there.
“He absolutely loves the attention, and of course it doesn’t help that everyone loves giving him treats.”
She added: “He’s very well-behaved and very good with commands so I think he’ll be great in the show, and it’ll be fantastic to see him up on the stage.
“I think Emily will be telling everyone he’s her dog so we might need to gag her while the show is on.
“I think it might be a bit emotional as well though, I filled up a bit just looking at the pictures. He’s our little boy.”
The Wizard of Oz tells the story of Dorothy, who is whisked away to the magical land of Oz after a tornado hits her hometown of Kansas.
It’s there that she meets a variety of characters like the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West, as she journeys towards the Wizard in hope of finding her way home.
To book tickets for the show, call 230 5151.