Spring Musical Q&As 2023: The Wizard of Oz — Jake Barnes
Role: Mayor of Munchkin City & Nikko the flying monkey
What’s your relationship with your role?
“I was definitely apprehensive about being cast as a munchkin at first, but it’s grown on me a lot since. I love working with all of the 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade munchkins, including my brother, [Timothy Barnes], because they’ve really started to bring the energy; I have yet to meet another group of people with nearly the same caliber of synchronized screaming. I’ve also enjoyed shaping my voice into a pinched, yodel tone and bending my knees for minutes at a time to make myself even shorter under my costume. I think I really embody the essence of a proper munchkin mayor. On the monkey side of things, I feel pretty similarly—making “monkey noises” took a toll on my voice last week, but I’ve made it through safely. It’s been awesome learning and executing aerial choreography, and definitely something I’ll never forget.”
What made you audition?
“My first show was FHC’s Joseph when I was a 6th grader in the chorus. My brother was Michael the year before in Peter Pan, and we’ve been doing shows ever since. Every year, I do the Summerstock musical in June, and the FHC musical the following spring.”
Do you like being a part of the musical?
“Musical theater has always been a great way to express myself, build relationships with friends, and have fun; I never want to miss out. At FHC, we definitely don’t have excessive amounts of guys active in the theatre program, but I don’t see why not. The musical always pulls me out of the late-winter malaise and into the spring with great gusto. I love working with all of my peers, seeing their talented performances, and celebrating it all on show weekend.”
What’s your favorite part about your role?
“As the Mayor of Munchkin City, I love entering the stage to proclaim myself and seeing all of the munchkins on either side of me. It was kind of awkward getting used to waddling in, smiling, and waving at all of the kids, but it’s so much fun now that we’ve got it figured out. As Nikko, [the flying monkey], it’s definitely doing the capture with Dorothy. Spending 12 hours one weekend to work on flipping was all worth it for such a great scene. It’s really unique, technical, and super fun for me. It’s all thanks to the fly crew, so I’m beyond great full for all the work they’ve put in to let me perform.”
What should we expect from the musical?
“You can expect a show led by a highly-skilled group of lead actors and actresses with next-level technology. There are flying characters, flying props, and crazy lights. Our production takes everything you know from the film and presents it in a captivating live-action experience with actors you already know.”
What are you most nervous about?
“Aside from the precariousness of the flying capture scene, in which I have to grab Dorothy by the hair and fly her away, I’m most nervous about staying short as a munchkin. It became pretty evident at some point that I was, believe it or not, on the tall side compared to Dorothy and the other munchkins, but my giant robes allow me to crouch without being noticed. Now I do everything in a squat position. The dancing is a slight challenge, but the biggest difficulty is the parts where I don’t move. I just barely was able to make it through the dress rehearsals without bailing and straightening up. I’m feeling like I should be able to make it through, but even if I can it will be plenty uncomfortable.”
Who is your celebrity icon?
“Johndale Donodingle (Don of the Christmas Jingle)”