Your first-ever stage role comes in 1983, when thirteen-year-old Brian and his friends audition to be Munchkins in Tularosa High School’s production of The Wizard of Oz. You tag along, and when they see you they ask if you’re interested in playing the role of Toto, the dog.
“Bark!” you respond.
You love it. Love, love, love it. Everything about it. The makeup, for example: you love watching your transfiguration in the mirror … [T]he experience is simultaneously real and fake … It thrills your soul. It also engages your mind. … Why is it, for instance, that when you’re onstage as Toto you’re on all fours, but when you’re making your way down the yellow brick road, which winds its way through the rows of the audience, you’re on your “hind legs”? The director feels there’s no other practical choice, so it’s okay. You don’t. You consider it a gross inconsistency that besmirches the meticulous realism of the rest of the high school production of The Wizard of Oz.
source: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
by Neil Patrick Harris, with David Javerbaum
Crown Archetype / Random House, NY