The Wizard of Oz: Behind the Curtains

Spotlight on: Lisa Kate Joyce (Toto) 

Lisa Kate Joyce (She/Her/Hers) “There’s no place like home!” and the theatre has been Lisa’s home since she was 14 years young! She is ecstatic to return home and to the stage in this classic and iconic musical. She is a Boston native and spends her days playing pretend with the kids she babysits or playing pretend on the stage and screen! Select past credits include Willy Wonka (Wheelock Family Theatre), Peggy Shippen Is… (Chelsea Theatre Works), The Moors and The Salonnieres (Greater Boston Stage), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Off the Grid Theatre), Laughter on the 23rd Floor and The Man Who Came to Dinner (The Barnstormers Theatre). Enjoy your trip to Oz!


Lisa (left) as Toto

How have you prepared for this role? 

By unintentionally becoming a crazy dog lady! My life is currently going on walks in the woods, pumping puppies full of treats, and lots of belly rubs! I take care of my sisters 1-year-old Golden Retriever, Charlie, on the days that she works and then on top of that I have dog sat for 3 other pups over the course of the last month- Tucker, Maggie, and Riley! I have had no shortage of doggy inspiration when creating the physical life and sound of Toto!  

What is your favorite number? 

My favorite number is probably Jitterbug! I didn’t know it before doing this show and it is such a fun number to perform! I also love that Toto gets to join in on the fun! 

Lisa (center) as Toto during “Jitterbug”

What challenges have you faced? 

The biggest challenge I have faced throughout this process has been learning how to adapt as the Toto puppet changed, grew, fell apart, and then ultimately became what it is now! Our amazing props and puppet designer, Steven Doucette, had to engineer and re-engineer Toto many times to make him flexible but durable.  

Is this your first time puppeteering? What has this experience been like? 

This is my first time puppeteering this type of puppet! I toured with an original shadow
puppet show called
Flying Lessons for several years that used light and rod puppets and objects to project images on screens, walls, and people. That style of puppetry was more still and image based whereas Toto and the Crow have to live and breathe on stage. I have worked with some incredible puppeteers through the years, though, and have tried to emulate the specificity and magic that they have when bringing their puppets to life! I am having a lot of fun and have learned so much and hope people enjoy Toto’s storytelling! 

Lisa brings her dance skills and comedic timing to multiple roles in this production, including, Munchkin Mayor, Crow, Ozian, Apple Tree, Nikko, Winkie, and of course, Toto!


Lisa (far left) in green dress as Ozian


Check out Lisa Kate Joyce as Toto in
The Wizard of Oz now through May 1st, 2022.


Photos by Nile Scott Studios