Those familiar with The Wizard of Oz most likely visualize a man with white hair portraying the titular character.
But in this summer’s production of the much-loved story, produced by the award-winning Family Performing Arts Center at Bridgewater State University, actress Neha Groves is playing the “voice behind the curtain.”
Born and raised in India, Groves moved to the United States in 2005 where she attended Louisiana State University to pursue a master’s degree in physical oceanography.
Groves said it’s encouraging to see roles being less gender-specific.
“I don’t think we can afford to, or should limit ourselves to, specific genders or ethnicities playing specific roles,” she said. “Not only could we lose out on tapping into some amazing talent, but I think as part of show business, it’s important and incumbent on us to be at the forefront with progressive and inclusive outlooks on life, relationships and societal dynamics.”
As a child growing up in India, Groves was not encouraged to participate in non-academic activities. Because of this she did not have a creative outlet. This was tough, given she claims to possessing a type-A personality.
After obtaining her master’s from LSU, she started her career as an oceanographer. Despite her successful career, she still felt an urge to do something outside her daily routine.
To break out of her comfort zone, she enrolled in acting classes. To Groves’ surprise she immediately took to acting.
“I was like a fish to water. I loved it. I enjoyed the process of doing it,” she said.
Since then, the theater has become a central part of her life, with Groves appearing in many productions throughout the South Shore. She even met her husband, Dan, during an audition.
“Acting is very near and dear to my heart,” she said.
Groves encourages the community to make their way to campus to witness first-hand her interpretation of the Wizard during one of the scheduled shows (July 19-21 and July 25-28).
“This show is bound to be a crowd pleaser for all ages. With our excellent team, I know that we will put together a dynamite show that will be hard to resist,” she said.
For more information about show times and tickets visit, www.BSUtix.com.
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