Stephanie St. James

Stephanie St. James

Stephanie St. James, a hometown favorite with some big-time credits,  has been signed to appear in the 6th Street Playhouse production of the musical “Rent” in Santa Rosa next month.

St. James co-starred as Squeak in the national touring production of the Broadway hit,`The Color Purple,” adapted from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and produced by Oprah Winfrey, who acted in the 1985 film version by Steven Spielberg.

That tour, which opened in Chicago,  included a run in San Francisco, which opened in the fall of 2007.

The local actress, who graduated as Stephanie Smith from Santa Rosa High School in 1992, has been active in theater all her life, including performances as a child for the Santa Rosa Players, a precursor of the 6th Street Playhouse.

A student of locally beloved choral teacher Dan Earl, whom she credits as her mentor, she went on to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before starting her professional theater career as Stephanie St. James.

Her first professional show was a European touring production of “Fame.”

“Rent” will run May 28-June 27 at the 6th Street Playhouse. Admission: $15-$35. Information: 6thstreetplayhouse.com, 523-4185, ext. 1.

The rights to the play are now available to regional theaters, so look for more than production. The Raven Players in Healdsburg will present their own production of  “Rent” in August.

“Rent” is a modern rock opera, created by the late Jonathan Larson in the early ’90s, and based on Puccini’s “La Boheme.”