Sunday, December 21, 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

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

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

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8