Stevenson student and her sister live out their acting dreams
Rehearsing a scene from "Fiddler on the Roof," Jim DeSelm (left) as "Perchik" lectures "Shprintze" and "Bielke" played by Jennifer and Julia (right) Baker. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 22, 2013 2:45AM
LINCOLNSHIRE — Real-life sisters Jennifer and Julia Baker were selected to act as sisters Shprintze and Bielk in Paramount Theatre’s musical production of “Fiddler on the Roof” March 6 – 24 in Aurora.
Jennifer, a Vernon Hills resident and sophomore at Stevenson High School, currently sings in SHS’s Advanced Chorus and has already appeared in a number of professional productions that include the Drury Lane Theatre’s “Ragtime” and the Porchlight Music Theatre’s “A Wonderful Life.” She will be playing one of lead character Tevye’s daughters, Shprintze.
Younger sister Julia, a fourth grader at Half Day School, will be playing another one of Tevye’s five daughters, Bielk. Julia is happy to have been given the chance to share the spotlight with her sister, and is excited to join the rest of Fiddler’s A-list cast and theater professionals.
Artistic Director and seasoned Broadway productions veteran Jim Corti said that he
“These girls are very special young ladies; I think the most remarkable thing is that they understand—they get it and they know what their part is,” said Artistic Director and seasoned Broadway productions veteran Jim Corti. He said had the parts in mind for the sisters after watching Jennifer in “Ragtime” and Julia in “A Wonderful Life.”
Q: Are you involved in theater and musicals at your school too?
Jennifer: haven’t done musicals at Stevenson because I haven’t had the time, but I might try out for them next year.
Julia: I do chorus and musical shows.
Q: When did you start doing musical theater and why?
Jennifer: I started doing theater in first grade in this camp in Northbrook because my friend said that her friend was a camp counselor at this place, and I had been taking singing lessons so I thought “sure, this will be fun because I can act and sing at the same time!” I ended up really liking it and doing that for a few years until I was in about fifth grade, and I was thinking that I wanted to be on a really big stage and get more into theater. I did a show around then called “A Wonderful Life” at Porchlight and really liked it, and I kind of went from there.
Julia: I used to watch Jennifer act and thought “oh, I want to join,” so I did Drury Lane’s “The Sound of Music. Then I thought “oh I should do ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ with my sister, that would be so fun if I could get that part.”
Q: Do you plan on pursuing musical theatre long-term?
Jennifer: I definitely plan on doing this long-term and I’m hoping when I’m older I can move to New York and try Broadway there, actually. I like acting and singing, and I also like to dance. I’ve been taking dance lessons since I was about five-years-old. I heard that the University of Michigan actually has a great acting program and so does Carnegie Mellon University, so I’m starting to look into those two because now that I’m a sophomore, it really feels like it’s coming up quick.
Q: Aside from your musical involvement, what other extracurricular activities do you do for fun?
Jennifer: I actually just joined PIVA club because my friend’s brother told me it was really fun. We’ve hosted things like “S Factor”—instead of “X Factor.” It’s really fun. In fifth grade and before that I used to play soccer and basketball, which I really enjoyed, but when I got older I had to find a balance. I definitely like acting better, but sometimes I’ll still go and just kick the ball around and play basketball
Julia: On Wednesdays I do basketball and on Saturdays, too. It’s really fun because I get to be with all of my friends.
Q: What is your proudest moment or greatest achievement?
Jennifer: When I was younger I saw “Annie” at Drury Lane, and I thought “gosh, I really want to be on that stage one day.” Then, when I was in “Ragtime” in seventh grade at Drury Lane, it was such a great feeling to know that I was doing what I had always dreamed of every time I was on stage.
Julia: Being an actor because not everybody gets to be one and it’s just so fun.