Profile: Zoe Nowak is playing her dream role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Does it get any more iconic than that?

First, a little known fact. When the tornado blows through Kansas and knocks Dorothy unconscious she is only 11 years old. In the classic film version, Judy Garland is 16 years old when she plays Dorothy on screen.

Zoe Nowak, who is playing Dorothy in the upcoming Dexter Drama Club’s version of the American classic, is 16 years old. She’s also very excited to be playing the lead part in one of the greatest fantasies ever told – and the most seen film in movie history.

Over the past month, Nowak has gotten to learn quite a bit about Dorothy.

“The things I admire most about Dorothy are her bravery and her willingness to do anything to help her friends,” she says. “She’s also very kind, loving and family oriented. It’s been a little challenging to put myself into the mindset of a 12 year old but it’s fun, too. She’s a lovely character and I’m so happy to have been given the chance to portray her.”

The Dexter Drama Club is celebrating the 80th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” with Fall Production shows Oct. 24-27 at Dexter High School CPA.

Nowak confirms that rehearsals have been following the yellow brick road and are right on course for opening night.

“Rehearsals are going really well,” she says. “We’re working hard to make it all come together – we’re memorizing lines, setting up blocking, practicing songs and working on choreography.”

This show really means a lot to Nowak.

“The Wizard of Oz is one of my all time, favorite shows,” she says. “Playing Dorothy has been my dream for years. I’m so excited that this is actually happening.”


Zoe, the daughter of Julie Arnold and Joe Nowak, is a junior at Dexter High School. She has been busy on stage during her time at DHS appearing in “Cinderella,” “Lion King,” “On the Town,” “Game of Tiaras (3D),” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Oliver,” and “Houston, We Have a Problem.”

“I love all the friends I’ve made by being in the Drama Club,” she says. “They’re creative, talented and so supportive! I also like being able to become someone else when I’m on stage.”

Nowak would like to go to college for criminology and profiling, hopefully at Michigan State. “I hope to be involved in some form of theater for years to come,” she says.

Right now, she just wants to go home to Kansas.


Directed by Erin Palmer, the show features Zoe Nowak as Dorothy, Anna Withrow as Aunt Em, John Brooks as Uncle Henry, Jackson Lewandowski as Hunk (scarecrow), Liam Fifelski as Hickory (tinman), Camden Markel as Zeke (lion), Jackson Helmholtz as The Wizard of Oz, Victoria Ward as The Wicked Witch of the East, Joey Hill as the Wicked Warlock of the West, and Maggie Needham was The Good Witch of the North.


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