Q&A With the Cast of The Wizard of Oz

Casts answers questions about current production


What is your role in The Wizard of Oz? Describe the character.

Senior Andy Larson: I am the Cowardly Lion and I am scared of everything. The majority of my lines are me freaking out over little things.

Junior Katherine Riedel: I am Glenda the Good Witch of the North; she helps Dorothy get to Weald city and ultimately learn the lesson from being in Oz. Glenda is very sweet and bubbly, but very mysterious. It surprises me the amount of people who don’t know what the Wizard of Oz is about. Come on, you live in Kansas!

Freshman Jenna Heng: I am an Ozian and a Jitterbug. Ozians are the citizens of Oz and singing ensemble. Jitterbug is the dance ensemble.

Describe a normal week in the months preceding the performances.

AL: We start off by learning songs; only vocals for a week and a half. Then blocking; where to go and what to do at certain times. Then just lines, no songs or dances. Then everything with tech.

KR: Practices are usually from 3-5 P.M. In the beginning we run lines and block the show. We also get called for musical and dance rehearsals and principals; every day is different. After winter break, everyone is there from 3-6 P.M. We then start running the show with the tech kids. The building of the sets gets stressful.

JH: Lately we’ve started staying until 6 and we’re running the show from the beginning to the end of the first act and adding in tech.

How has theater affected your life?

AL: I have gained a lot more confidence. Freshman year I was very very shy and it allowed me to come out of my shell and become more confident.

KR: Theater is the best thing I’ve done at school because almost every one of my best friends does theater. It has made me branch out and it’s the best thing. Everyone has their thing and theater is my thing; it’s what I love to do.

JH: I’ve made a lot of new friends through theater. It’s something I really got involved in in middle school. I would say most of my friends now are friends I’ve met through theater.


How has the loss of Houston affected the production of the musical and the theater program?

AL: It has given everything kind of a bitter-sweet kind of feel. It’s really sad because we all know he would have been in the show and rocking it. Everytime we learn something new we think, “Oh, he should be here.” It just gives everything kind of a twinge of sadness.

KR: It’s just weird because we all have to remember that the show has to gone on and we all have to continue going. Someone says something and it’s like, “Oh, Houston would have loved that.” He wasn’t afraid to tell you when you were doing something wrong. You knew he was telling the truth to help you. Houston had a lot of confidence in me and helped me become a better performer.

JH: I think everybody just started working twice as hard to perform the show for him.


Are you planning on pursuing theater after high school?

AL: I plan to do theater a little bit in college and I hope to do community theater after I graduate. I am studying music education at KU next year.

KR: I would love to do theater at whatever college I go to and be involved in community theaters. It’s not something I want to give up just because I’m out of high school. Arts management is something I’ve been thinking of pursuing.

JH: I would definitely like to continue through the rest of high school and after.


The show opens on January 30 at 7 P.M. and continues through February 1. House opens at 6:30. Tickets are available online and on the bridge this week and next week. Tickets are free with a student ID.