Lisa Horner, currently playing The Wicked Witch of the West in Toronto’s The Wizard of OZ took some time out of her schedule to answer some of our questions about getting green almost every day. The Wizard of Oz is playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, and is currently booking until June 2. Tickets can be purchased via Ticket King.
Question: How did you get cast in the Wizard of OZ? Did you have to audition? What was the audition process like? Is the Wicked Witch of the West the role you wanted?
Lisa: I was given an audition that was booked through my agent. I was auditioning for the Wicked Witch, so they sent her material from the show and asked me to prepare that. I had one auditon for the casting directors and then I auditoned for the creative team. It was thrilling, nerve wracking and ultimately satisfying! Yes I definitely wanted to play the Wicked Witch, she’s fabulous!
Question: What was the rehearsal process like for this show? When did you start rehearsals, and how long did you rehearse for?
Lisa: We started rehearsals on Nov 12th and our first preview was on Dec 20th. The process was fun, but hard, your rehearse six days a week 10am to 6pm and once you get into the theatre you start some ten hour days. It was a very rewarding rehearsal process because our creative team were very helpful and very kind.
Question: Because the show had already run in London, how much freedom did you have in creating your role? Did you get to create it from scratch, or was it mostly directed from what had been done before?
Lisa: I was given tons of freedom to make choices that felt right for me. I was never asked to re-create anything done by anyone else. I was encouraged to make it all my own.
Question: You’ve performed in festivals such as The Shaw Festival and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, where you play more than one role in a season. How different is that from what your doing now? Is it harder?
Lisa: In the festivals you can go from one rehearsal process right into another, while you’re performing at night. So at first it can be tiring. But I find once your shows are up you get energized from doing something different.
Question: Obviously, you have to get green for the show. What is the process like? Do you use the same spray on makeup used in London?
Lisa: We do use the same green spray. We have about fifteen minutes to get from Miss Gulch into the Wicked Witch, so the spray makes it easier and faster. I have terrific people that do all that work for me so I sit there and let them do their magic!
Question: Does the green come off easily? Have you ever left the theatre still wearing your makeup?
Lisa: Well removing the makeup takes about a half an hour. I feel that you kind of have to embrace the mess. It’s several face cloths and a lot of wiping. I like to think I get it all off, but alot of times people will say that I still have some in my ears!
Question: What has the stage door reaction been like, since your playing the antagonist? Do you get recognized when you leave? How do children react who come to see the show?
Lisa: To be totally honest I’ve only had the chance to meet a few people at the stage door, my makeup removal takes too long! But the reactions have been great. Sometimes it’s hard for the kids to picture me without all the makeup on.
Question: You get to sing new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, since the Wicked Witch in the movie didn’t really have a singing part. Did you get to work with or meet Andrew during the rehearsal process?
Lisa: Unfortunately I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Sir Andrew, he’s a very busy man! I hear he’s coming to the show soon though.
Question: It’s be rumoured that you might be playing Mme. Thenardier in a Toronto production of Les Miserables. Can you confirm or deny that?
Lisa: Unfortunately I can’t say anything about that, sorry!
Well, it’s not a no, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed then!
Question: Your picture has been all over the web, posters around town, and on TV. How does that feel?
Lisa: It feels weird! But I’m undercover really because my face looks so different.
Question: If you could name one “dream theatre project”, any show, any cast, any director, and a role for yourself, what would it be?
Lisa: Gosh, I don’t think I could. There’s just too many! I look forward to whatever comes.
Question: What advice do you have for any aspiring actors or actresses trying to get a break in the industry?
Lisa: Be patient, be kind, take classes and work really hard. And save your money!
Question: If you could trade roles with anyone in your show, who could it be?
Lisa: That’s a tough one, probably one of Dorothy’s friends. I love everything that they represent.
Question: If not Les Miserables, what would you like to do next?
Lisa: I try not to think too hard on what comes next. This is a very spur of the moment kind of business and I’m just happy to be working in what I love to do, to be honest.
Question: What’s the best part about being in The Wizard of OZ?
Lisa: The people definitely! I have made so many new friends with the cast and crew. I feel like I’m part of a team that really cares about each other and the show.
We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Lisa Horner for taking the time to answer all of our questions! If you haven’t already, go see her as the Witch in this brand new production of The Wizard of OZ! She and the rest of the cast are amazing, and you will not be disappointed.