By Farida Maître
Amazing is how Dannemora resident Ethan Korewha describes the moment he learned he had been cast to star in the latest National Youth Theater Company (NYTC) production. The Wizard of Oz, opening on Friday November 29.
The 21-year-old is delighted to play the wizard.
“It’s an absolute privilege,” he says as part of the enchanting musical from the all-time classic storyline of MGM which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.
“I had auditioned for the Tinman, but then decided to try out the lead role. I didn’t expect to play the character of Wizard and Professor Marvel in two of the series. I love being a part of the theater so much that I would be happy even if I entered the choir, ”he says.
Ethan, who has been associated with the NYTC since the age of 14, has performed in 17 shows to date with the NYTC. These include a variety of roles in the classics, including Annie, Cats, Shrek, Olivier, Peter Pan, Shrek, Aladdin and Pinocchio.
It didn’t take long for Ethan to realize that if you want to be a part of the cast of NYTC’s two productions a year, you’ve got to be quick.
Until recently, it took three minutes for registrations to fill up. The last time he was half an hour late to express his interest in the Cats production, he found himself on a long waiting list.
The Wizard of Oz is the 30th production of the NYTC. The charitable trust has worked since 2004 to bring confidence and life skills to young people through the dramatic arts.
Ethan is especially proud to have won a scholarship in 2015 for his role in Seussical.
Twice a year, the NYTC team selects two people to receive the scholarship. To qualify, they must show dedication, talent and clear and marked improvement.
The Wizard of Oz has a cast of 320 children including 240 on stage.
For Ethan, who also works part-time as a comedian, this will be his penultimate show, the last being The little Mermaid where his younger brother Ricco will be on stage for the first time.
The home-schooled 21-year-old knows he will have to leave the NYTC once he’s 22 and hopes to continue to be associated with it.
“It’s so nice to entertain people by singing and dancing. I never want to give it up, ”he says.
The Wizard of Oz will also have over 5,000 schoolchildren and teachers attending morning shows on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 November.
Kiri Te Kanawa, Aotea Center
On: Friday November 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday November 30 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday December 1 at 1:30 p.m.