In the Loop
Alumni News : Jan 28, 2015

Lauren Nordvig leaves corporate job to join cast of The Woodsman

By Leland Henry

After working at a branding firm for about two years, Lauren Nordvig (BFA Theatre Performance ‘08) left to pursue her passion to perform as a cast member in the Off-Broadway hit The Woodsman.

“It was a huge leap of faith and a different lifestyle choice, but every second has been completely worth it,” said Nordvig.

Based on the writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman tells the backstory of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man, the woman he fell in love with and witch that tried to keep them apart. Although this prequel is dark and at times heart wrenching, Nordvig said it ends “with a wonderful element of hope” as we see the rusted Tin Man about to be discovered by Dorothy.

After a sold-out run last year, this is the only show to make a return engagement to 59E59 Theaters. The Woodsman features multiple puppets, all of which were created by the writer/co-director and title character, James Ortiz. Nordvig, among playing other characters, controls the head of the half bear, half tiger puppet called Kalidah.

“Ortiz is a puppet genius,” said Nordvig. “It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but when it works, the audience forgets you’re even there.”

The hour-long production has very little dialogue and instead focuses on movement, puppetry and music. Nordvig said she hopes this “homespun and heartfelt” way of storytelling reintroduces the notion of magic in theatre making. 

“I hope people leave feeling like seeing live theatre is something that is magic in a way that is different than films or anything else,” said Nordvig.

A company member of the Hippodrome State Theatre, Nordvig was previously seen in Venus in Fur opposite Associate Professor Tim Altmeyer.