Jamie hairspray.jpg

For Jamie Brooks, happiness is . . .  being on stage. One of her happiest moments, she says, was singing “Good Morning, Baltimore” in her high school talent show. “The spotlight was on me, and I loved it! I always love it,” says Jamie, 21, who just finished playing the Wicked Witch of the West in an UPS for DownS production of “The Wizard of Oz,” and is rehearsing to play Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” at the Palatine Community Theater this spring. With a grandmother with a passion for musical theater, Jamie’s been to more musicals than she can count, seeing several multiple times. The first show she remembers seeing was “Fiddler on the Roof” when it was on Broadway in New York. “I loved it! I’ve seen ‘Wicked’ on Broadway in New York, in Chicago, and in Kalamazoo,” she says. For more from the fun and funny Jamie, here’s the rest of Sam’s interview:

How many years have you been performing? “This is my seventh year. I’ve also been in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Lion King’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Music Man’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and I was Tracy Turnblad in ‘Hairspray’.”

 Do try-outs make you nervous? “No, I’m not nervous. I’m a very good actor.”

What did you enjoy most about playing the witch? “I loved melting, and singing the jitterbug song. I made it funny.”

Tell us about high school. “I was Homecoming Queen my senior year at Hersey High School. Some of my favorite things about high school were being part of the Dynamite Dancers, the Super Singers, the Super Buddies, and the Spirit Squad, AND the Homecoming game, the parade, and the dance. My friend Brett was Homecoming King—he’s an actor too.”

What’s life like now that you are at transition? “I go to Forest View. I cook lunch, have class, and go to work every morning. I do the coffee cart two mornings a week. I like using the iPad and doing the money. I also work in the food pantry at Willow Creek Church three mornings a week.”

Where else have you worked, and which job do you like best so far? “I’ve worked at IKEA and T.J. Maxx. I like working at T.J. Maxx best because I re-stock the clothes and shoes—and I like high heels and dresses.”

What other activities do you enjoy? “On Mondays, I have singing lessons with Michelle who also helps me with my lines, and with finding pitch.”

What do you like to do in your spare time? “I like ice skating, swimming, snorkeling, tubing, and watching Twilight and Liv and Maddy on Netflix. And I play my songs and dance like a crazy chicky. Some of my favorite songs are from Grease and Abba. I’d like to try waterskiing. And I try to do my treadmill everyday. I get $5 when I do.

“I also like to travel. I like Mexico best because I like the Secrets and Dreams hotels. I’ve also been to the DR, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. In the Bahamas, I went to a water park and went on the big slides. I was scared.”

Who’s your hero and why? “Robert Patterson. He’s quite a guy. He was Edward in the Twilight movie. He’s cute and dangerous.”

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to face? “I miss my sister, Hannah, and my twin brother, Max [who are both in college]. I also miss my dad when he’s gone. Making healthy shopping list is also hard. But I want to do it because I want to be in a bikini on the beach, and I want to get a ‘T21’ tattoo like my brother and my sister.”

Tell us about your dreams for the future. “I want to be on Broadway and live in a penthouse. I also want to be an actor, and a special ed teacher at a day care center. I love kids. I want to teach kids about acting, friends, and leadership. I also want to work at my Uncle Chip’s restaurant as a hostess and a bartender.”