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5 Questions: Aaron Fried

Actor plays the Cowardly Lion in ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Steve Duffy

Click your heels together and join Aaron Fried as the Cowardly Lion when he joins Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man on a magical journey through the Land of Oz to meet the Wizard.

What inspired you to want to be on the stage?

Aaron Fried: I have always loved singing and showcasing my talents for others. When I was 5 years old, I started singing in a group that performed music from the 50’s & 60’s. The hook for me was when my family took me to see “Cats,” it was my first Broadway show and I have been in love with the theatre ever since.

On the web

“The Wizard Of Oz” plays at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, April 12 – April 24. Tickets are on sale at the Citi Center box office, through www.citicenter.org or by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787), or through Ticketmaster.

What is it like being a part of the “Wizard of Oz”?

AF: It is an absolutely incredible experience. I am amazed how the story and the movie still inspire audiences even today. I love how the faces of little kids light up when they see us perform on stage. It is really a magically experience for everyone involved.

Can you talk us through the costume and make-up process of becoming the lion?

AF: I start the show off as Zeke the farmhand and then after the twister I have about 20 minutes to transform into the cowardly lion. I then become my own twister getting into the costume and getting my makeup on. And oh boy, there is a lot of makeup to apply. It would be a lot easier if I could spin like Diana Prince when she becomes Wonder Woman.

“The Wizard of Oz” is beloved by all. How is the story still relevant with today’s audiences?

AF: The show and the story is all about home. No matter where you go, home is a place in your heart and you always have the people you love with you no matter where your path takes you. It is also a message of personal acceptance. We have to learn to love and accept the differences of others. Love is a powerful tool and should always be used for good.

The Cowardly Lion is afraid of everything. Is there anything that you are afraid of?

AF: I am a big guy, but the rats in New York City really scare me. Some of them are so big, you definitely don’t want to meet one alone in a dark alley.