Meet the 10-year-old actress who has her sights set on Broadway

Even though she's only 10 years old, fifth-grade actress Jayd Steinke of St. Charles has already decided she is Broadway-bound. She wants to be a professional actress and believes Broadway will make her life “more amazing and fun, and you know, just right out there!”

Bitten by the acting bug at 6 in 2011, Jayd portrayed an orphan in the musical “Annie Jr.,” produced by the new Marquee Youth Stage theater group based in St. Charles. Fast forward five plays and five years, this young girl with a fiery passion for acting is starring in leading roles for MY Stage. In the fall of 2013 she was Jafar in “Aladdin,” and most recently was one of three actresses playing the Cat in the Hat in the musical production of “Seussical Jr.”

Jayd is one of the original members of the theater troupe and its youngest to join. Jayd says the first time she performed she felt a combination of excitement and nerves. “Once I was onstage I was actually kind of having fun. I looked out at the audience (and) I thought if I make the audience happy, I can be happy.”

Jayd credits her older sister and fellow MY Stage actress, Maya, 12, for introducing her to acting and helping her soar to success in her roles.

Like any antsy kid with energy to burn, Jayd fidgets in her chair as she talks about how acting is “really fun, hard and challenging.” But once those comments are made, it's as if a switch has flipped as she takes on a very mature and professional demeanor as she continues.

“I would describe acting as an amazing experience because it can just give you lots of feelings and emotions that you've never really experienced before.”

She encourages others to try it, saying that with a lot of practice, everyone can do it. Jayd is supportive of her castmates and believes everyone's role in a production is important no matter how large or small. “Every single part in acting counts,” she says, stressing each word as she says it.

Though a seasoned actress, Jayd admits she gets stage fright, but “once you get up there, you know more about what to do. Once you're out there-and when you get backstage-you don't even know what happened. You're just like, ‘What happened? What did I just do?' and then you remember it ... the moments you were out there and the amazing experience that you felt.”

For more info on MY Stage, go to or call (630) 762-0354.

  Jayd Steinke fixes a smudge in her Cat in the Hat whiskers makeup between scenes while rehearsing "Seussical Jr." recently in St. Charles. Laura Stoecker/
  Jayd Steinke, center, performs the opening number of "Seussical Jr." with castmates in the production by Marquee Youth Stage in St. Charles. Joining her, from left, are Andrew Perez, 10, of Geneva, Elyse Jens, 10, of St. Charles, Kathryn Dybas, 12, of St. Charles, and Ava Nunez, 11, of West Chicago. Laura Stoecker/
  Jayd Steinke is ready to rehearse the first scene of "Seussical Jr." Laura Stoecker/
  Jayd Steinke, 10, of St. Charles dons her striped top hat before taking to the stage for rehearsal of "Seussical Jr." in St. Charles. Laura Stoecker/
  Marquee Youth Stage director Connie Flores gives Jayd Steinke a funny hat for her supporting role as a Who in Whoville in a production of "Seussical Jr." Jayd's main role is as the Cat in the Hat. Laura Stoecker/

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