Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis provided steps to big stage for aspiring actress

By
From page A11 | September 07, 2012 |

Jill Winternitz/Courtesy photo

Davis bred a passion for performance in Jill Winternitz, 25, that became too spectacular for the town to contain.

So spectacular, in fact, that it prompted a 6,000-mile journey overseas to London. Her dream led to a prominent acting and dancing gig in the role of Baby for the United Kingdom’s national tour of the musical “Dirty Dancing.”

It was the many influences locally, however, that inspired that dream. Winternitz points to Julie Curry’s tap-dancing classes and recitals at the Davis Art Center as her first intoxicating taste of performance.

“Circa 9 and 10 years old you would often find me practicing routines in our garage, or more controversially, tapping under my desk at school,” Winternitz said. “My passion for dance was soon eclipsed by my love for acting when I played Clara in Ann Smalley’s ‘Davis Children’s Nutcracker.’ … It was after this magical experience that I declared to my parents, friends and anyone who would listen that I would be an actress.”

Winternitz was persuaded as a 14-year-old actress to pursue more sophisticated roles by Dave Burmester of the Acme Theatre Company. She auditioned and performed in Acme’s production of “Taming of the Shrew,” a Shakespeare play presented on the outdoor stage at the Pence Gallery.

Another drama mentor, Gwyneth Bruch, introduced the aspiring young thespian to musical theater and restoration comedy during her time at Davis High School. It was the last of a series of experiences that were essential in the next step of Winternitz’s path to an acting career — leaving her hometown.

Michigan (where she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2004), Los Angeles and even Russia became places of temporary residence while she trained an actress. Winternitz was accepted into London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 19, so she decided to relocate and complete her studies.

“While it was really hard to see her go, in our hearts we knew it was the best for her,” said her father, Bill Winternitz. “Basically, she has been focused on this since she was little more than 2 years old. Nothing has changed her mind from excellence. It’s amazing, and I’ve never seen another kid like her. She really has been focused from day one.”

That lifelong dedication paid off during an audition for a Broadway-esque tour of “Dirty Dancing,” a show based on the 1987 American romance film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Winternitz now dons a curly wig nightly for the role of Baby, played in the film by Grey.

The main characters do not sing, because all of the music comes from an onstage band. Winternitz said it is a rarity in musical theater to find a role based so strongly around acting and dancing. She expressed how much fun the show has been thus far, and how thankful she is to be a part of it.

“One of my favorite things about this job is hearing the great audience reactions to the iconic scenes and lines,” Winternitz said. “I’ve never seen such a vocal and enthusiastic crowd, and it’s very infectious. No matter what mood I may be in when I come to the theater each day, it’s impossible not to have a brilliant time doing the show. It all peaks in ‘Time of My Life’ at the finale with the audience often up and dancing along with us.”

The difference between American and English audiences mirrors a vast difference in environment, something Winternitz has adapted to over the six years she has spent working and auditioning in the United Kingdom.

“It was a real adjustment at first, especially with the lack of sunshine, but the cultural delights, and the indescribable buzz of living in such a vibrant world capital was distraction enough,” Winternitz said. “I’d like to think I still have my native Californian accent, albeit with a few English inflections perhaps.”

The tour runs through May 2013 and will visit more than 10 cities in England. Winternitz prizes the enviable opportunity to sight-see and experience foreign lands, but she still holds hope for a future back in California — eventually.

“The English always ask me why I chose to leave such a paradise as California, and the truth is, it was never about leaving,” Winternitz said. “It has actually been about expanding horizons, pursuing crazy dreams, and being open to the often surprising journey that life can take you on.

“And until my inevitable return home, rest assured that I’m waving the flag for Davis, even from these distant shores.”

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

.

News

DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
World travelers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Weightlifters causing a racket

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Police are our friends, right?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Wage plan has a big flaw

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

No support for militarization

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A better use for this vehicle

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

 
Light-hitting Cats fall

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants win nightcap in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Yolo Mambo to play free show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

 
Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Natsoulas to host mural conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Business

Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6