Senior Delaney Echelmeyer is Playing the Wicked Witch of the West for Young Peoples’ Theater


Credit to Mackenzi Durrett

Senior Delaney Echelmeyer poses on the FHN stage in her witch hat. She has been involved in theatre for seven years. “My favorite part about performing is how a whole ensemble of people from such different lives can come together and create something incredible,” Echelmeyer said.

By Ashlynn Perez

Senior Delaney Echelmeyer is playing the Wicked Witch of the West: arguably one of the biggest bad guys in film history. Dressed in black with green skin and an army of flying monkeys to back her, she was a frightening villain in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Over the years, the movie has been adapted into several plays, and Echelmeyer performs the part of the infamous villain in the new production by the Young People’s Theater (YPT), an organization for teen actors.

“I’ve actually played the Wicked Witch before,” Echelmeyer said. “It was a Barnwell Middle School play called ‘OZ!’ Hopefully, this time it will be less high-pitched.”

Despite playing the evil villain, people who know Echelmeyer describe her as kind and big-hearted. Her skill as an actress allows her to play roles that aren’t her, like the Wicked Witch of the West.

“Delaney is very versatile,” junior Riley Lawson, vice president of FHN Drama Club, said. “She plays lots of roles that aren’t her. She can turn herself into different people completely.”

Echelmeyer was inspired to act by her older sister’s involvement in theater. Echelmeyer’s first production with the YPT was “It’s a Wonderful Life” in sixth grade, where she was a proud member of the ensemble. Now, as a senior, she is playing the main antagonist in the late March productions of “The Wizard of Oz” after performing 10 plays with the YPT.

Her acting abilities have improved through taking classes and getting feedback from her family. She has devoted endless time and commitment to drama, and it has landed her a big role in this classic play.

“She’s expanded her ability to perform in different roles,” FHN drama teacher Kim Sulzner said. “Everyone looks at her like this shy, quiet girl until they see her on stage. She’s phenomenal.”

Echelmeyer hopes to continue acting in the future. This performance of “The Wizard of Oz” will be one of her last plays while in high school, but she and those who know her believe that her curtain has not come down yet.

“She’s a great actress and a great person,” Lawson said. “Often, some actors have to become a little egotistical. That’s never happened with Delaney. She’s very good at acting, but she always stays Delaney.”