IF there’s one word to describe Treyc Cohen it’s fearless.
The 27-year-old sang in front of millions of television viewers (and Simon Cowell) on ITV talent show the X Factor before she was eliminated from the competition during a sing-off with controversial contestant Katie Waissel.
But now she’s facing her biggest challenge yet, playing the lead role of Dorothy in 70s soul musical The Wiz – despite having no professional stage experience.
Taking a break from her last day of rehearsals to speak to The Guide, Treyc said: “I’ve never really done anything like this professionally. I’ve always been interested in drama and used to get involved in groups outside of work, but this is the first time I’d done anything like this.
“I’ve been working extremely hard and am learning a lot. The other cast members have been fantastic, working with me and helping me run through my lines. I’m so excited and just can’t wait to get started.”
For the uninitiated, The Wiz is an African-American, soul-inspired, retelling of L Frank Baum’s classic tale The Wizard of Oz – but the joint West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre production is set in the north of England.
Treyc plays a feisty Dorothy, desperate to escape her dull and dreary life, but discovers there’s no play like home after being transported to the magical world of Oz.
Her stint on the X Factor helped her switch to the world of musical theatre after she was recommended for the role by 80s pop star Sinitta, Simon Cowell’s right-hand woman on the show.
Treyc said: “Sinitta was a big support during the show and really helped me out. When the X Factor was over, she told me she knew the show’s choreographer and suggested I audition for the part. I went along and I was called back three times and had to learn a piece of script and a song and eventually got the role.
“I just can’t wait to get out there now. If you’d asked me a month ago I’d have told you I was absolutely petrified, but I’m so excited.
“I hope people in Leeds will come down and watch. It’s a fantastic summery show, with a Motown and soul vibe. I can’t wait to get up there and perform.”
Once the show is over, Treyc hopes to pursue her dream of recording an album. She said: “I’m so grateful the X Factor gave me the opportunity to show people what I could do – that’s all I wanted. I am going to jump at every opportunity I get.”
The Wiz will run at West Yorkshire Playhouse from Friday June 24 to Saturday July 16. Tickets can be reserved by visiting www.wyp.org.uk or calling the box office on 0113 213 7700.