Actor James Ortiz with Kidsday reporters from left, Anna Zimmerman,...

Actor James Ortiz with Kidsday reporters from left, Anna Zimmerman, Juliette Christophel, Anthony Pepitone and Aodhan McGuinness. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We saw “The Woodsman,” an amazing play, at New World Stages.” It is based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, and tells the story of how an evil witch banned words from the forest and how a lumberjack was changed into a Tin Man. The actors had a lot of emotion and it put this marvelous play together. We were really impressed that they could tell such a touching story without a lot of words. This production has many dimensions and it is for kids ages 9 and older.

The story is about a lumberjack Nick Chopper, who falls in love with a wicked witch’s slave. The witch, a monster, birds and the Woodsman were played by large puppets. The story was told with movement and sound and the props and violin played a big part in setting the tone and helped move the story along. We highly recommend this play because it was really impressive. The whole theater was designed to match the dark woods on stage. It was spooky and dark and very interesting.

We interviewed actor James Ortiz who played Nick Chopper or Tin Man. James was a really friendly actor who interacts well with kids.

Does the Tin Man resemble you in any way?

Yes, we are alike because we both have crazy hair, close to our families, and have big dreams.

How long did it take you to become a puppeteer?

It took about three weeks.

Is it difficult to handle and manage the puppets?

Sometimes. In this show the Tin Man was heavy.

After the interview we took pictures and got autographs from James and most of the cast who sat in on our interview. The other actors were very funny during our chat with James. They were supportive and told lots of jokes. We all had a different point of view on the play. Juliette said she liked it when Nick Chopper became the Tin Man. Anna liked like the prologue describing the story. Aodhan liked when the witch was introduced and Anthony liked when the lion/bear fought Nick Chopper. This production is not your ordinary puppet show. They used life-sized puppets and it was interesting to see. We enjoyed this show and we highly recommend it.

The New World Stages is located at 340 W. 50th St. in Manhattan, and tickets can be purchased at

RATING: 4 smiles

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months