For one local Children’s Theatre Company member, scoring the lead role in “The Wizard of Oz” has truly brought her full circle.
At the age of 8, Maeve Moynihan, of Edina, got her first big gig as a munchkin on the main stage in CTC’s original production of the classic, magical tale. Now, at the age of 17, she’s returning to her roots but this time to play the coveted role of Dorothy.
Moynihan said she tried out during the open call auditions, where the performers were asked to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The competition was certainly tough — roughly 20 girls got a call back for the role but one stood out. When Moynihan heard she got the part, she said it was very humbling.
“For one, I feel very honored and just reflecting on everything, I’m just realizing how grateful I am for the people I’ve been blessed to be with,” she said. “A lot of the people who work at Children’s Theatre Company, I’ve grown up with so it’s just been an amazing experience. I feel so lucky.”
This isn’t the first big stage Moynihan has performed on — in her short 17 years, she’s been in productions at the Guthrie, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and the Minnesota Opera.
Still, the Children’s Theatre Company is an extra special place for her. For her role in “Wizard,” Moynihan is able to reconnect with the cast and crew she’s known for many, many years.
“The two men that play the Scarecrow and the Lion, I’ve known for so long so I feel like I can joke around with them and it really helps with our connection in the show itself,” she said.
Moynihan also gets to reconnect with the director, Peter Rothstein, and the show’s choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell.
“They both have such an amazing vision for the show and I felt that they did an amazing job of projecting that and explaining that to us and hopefully we have made them proud in that aspect,” she said.
After all, the story itself always conjures up so many memories and emotions for fans — including Moynihan.
“I think the ‘Wizard of Oz’ itself, it’s such a remarkable story that I think no matter what age you are, everyone can relate to it in some aspect. It’s this whole message of finding family and home within yourself — and home isn’t necessarily a physical place but more of an internal connection,” Moynihan said.
Once the show is over Moynihan will be clicking her real-life ruby red slippers to find out where she’ll be headed for college. She said she’s applied to a couple of schools but won’t have auditions until February. Wherever she lands, though, Moynihan said studying theater will be her main objective.
For now, she’s focusing on her winter schedule in the land of Oz, where she’ll be playing Dorothy until Jan. 8. Though many people know the story and might have seen a stage production before, Moynihan said the Children’s Theatre performance is a perfect treat for the holidays.
“I think this whole meaning of family, especially around the holidays, it’s so important to remember why we celebrate … and that is family,” she said. “I think seeing the show is a way to kind of just remind you to be grateful of what you have and I think also, while it is so meaningful, it’s really an enjoyable show.”
“The Wizard Of Oz” runs through Jan. 8 at the Children’s Theatre Company. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.