Actor: Paul Winarski
Hometown: Aldan, Pa.
Character: The Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel from “The Wizard of Oz,” put on by Theatre at the Grove from March 21 through April 13.
THE WEEKENDER: Describe your character.
PAUL WINARSKI: The Wizard is very much a victim of circumstance. He is a hot air balloonist from Kansas who accidentally lands his wayward balloon in Oz, where they proclaim him First Wizard Deluxe. He’s a good man, but really not a wizard at all, but he’s very good at keeping himself in the shadows and making himself into an enigma.
W: Do you believe you share any of the same qualities as your character?
PW: I identify with his sense of idealism, that journeyman troubadour quality he possesses, and, of course, as a lifelong man of the theatre, I share his sense of the melodramatic and the highly theatric.
W: What is your best line in the show?
PW: When presenting the “heart” to the Tin Man, he states, “And remember my sentimental friend, that a heart isn’t judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” Ever since I was a child watching the film, that line resonated with me.
W: What’s your favorite scene?
PW: The first throne room scene when the travelers come to ask me to grant their wishes.
W: If your character was a real person and you could hang out with him for a day, where would you go and what would you do?
PW: Oh, I think he would be a big fan of New York City. We’d probably take in the city, pop into a few swanky clubs for a drink or three, and be a couple of men about town.
W: If you could take three people with you on the journey down the Yellow Brick Road, who would you choose and why?
PW: A House Republican – he needs a heart. A House Democrat – he needs courage. And a Tea Party member – he’s in need of a brain.