Rockville Centre native Gina Baez recently starred in the role of Anna in this year's production of The King and I performed by the St. Gregory Theater Group. Though the show ended on Aug. 15, Baez has already signed with a talent agency, as the South Side alum continues down the road to acting stardom.
Nevertheless, she said the all-volunteer production was a special experience for her. "Everyone [at SGTG] works as a family," she said. "They work together, and they put their hearts and souls into it."
Volunteerism is what drives Baez, she said, and what inspires her is working with her nonprofit organization, Kids Performing Who Kare — a theater group she founded for children 6-18 years old. For the last nine years, the troupe performed musicals to fundraise for Winthrop University Hospital's Cancer Center for Kids. Baez is also a cancer survivor.
Although Baez is "trying to live the dream," she said she enjoys both professional and volunteer productions for similar reasons. "As long as you're doing what you love and people come to sit in an audience and share that with you, it's all pretty awesome," she said.
A graduate of South Side High School's class of 2006, Baez earned her bachelor's degree this year at Pace University. The most recent of her many credits were parts in the play Chautauqua! at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in New York City and in the musical Under Fire with the New York Musical Theater Festival.