BLOOMDALE – Abi Lee almost followed in her mother’s footsteps when she appeared in Elmwood High School’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Mom Cora played the Wicked Witch of the West. Lee was cast in the part of Glinda the Good Witch.
The school staged the production the last weekend of April.
Lee had auditioned for Glinda, the Wicked Witch and Dorothy.
“It just so happened I ended up with Glinda,” she said.
Both her parents – Ryan and Cora – had done theater while attending Elmwood; he was in the stage crew, she was in front of the lights.
“I had it in my mind when I heard we were doing ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ I want to play the role that my mom did. That to me … it was just another way for me to get closer to them,” Lee said.
She said she should have known dressing up as Glinda when she was little would foreshadow her role her senior year.
“It felt right that I ended up in this role.”
This was her seventh theater production at Elmwood, having started in fourth grade, and then every year from the time she was in seventh grade.
“I have always been into our theater here at Elmwood for so long,” she said.
Lee is going to college to study theater technology design.
When she enrolled in the digital video production program at Penta Career Center, Lee said that she discovered everything that happens behind the curtain.
The Penta program includes lab time and last year before the coronavirus hit, students were finally getting into theater “which is what I was really interested in,” Lee said.
She rotated through lighting, sound, costuming and set production and discovered that she enjoyed those areas as much as she did acting at Elmwood.
“I’ve really enjoyed it at Penta, and that’s something I want to continue to do,” she said about what she has learned.
Lee graduated May 23.
She will be studying theater technology design at Bowling Green State University, where she will be learning the technical side of theater. Throughout the year, there are different productions for which she will be given a task.
“You get to experience each spot, then build up from there.”
Lee said she is leaning toward set building; that’s what she really enjoys at Elmwood.
She helped build the set for “The Wizard of Oz.”
Her goal is to work at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as a theater technical director – the person that is in charge of building the sets, the lighting and the sound during the live productions.
At Elmwood, Lee was a member of the prom committee, color guard with the marching band, National Honor Society and student council. She used to play varsity golf.
She was a member of National Technical Honor Society at Penta as well as the drug-free club, SkillsUSA and Business Professionals of America.
Last year Lee made it to the BPA national competition, which was canceled, as part of a news broadcasting team. She again qualified this year for nationals with a news broadcasting team and finished 16th.
As a member of SkillsUSA, she and a classmate competed at the state level with a podcast they developed. They finished third.
Lee said she entered these competitions as a way to strengthen her verbal communication skills. She said she has no problem writing down what she thinks but speaking spontaneously can be a problem.
“My mouth can’t keep up with my brain,” Lee said with a laugh.
The audio competitions have helped her plan out how and when she is going to say something, she said.
“It’s really helped me a lot.”
It also says it helps at her job at Chipotle in Bowling Green, where she needs to communicate with her co-workers in order to get things done.