Ask Maria Stavropoulos what she wants to be when she grows up and there’s not a moment’s hesitation. The high school freshman breaks out in an ear-to-ear grin as she says, “An actress, of course.”
And for at least an afternoon last weekend, she got her moment in the spotlight.
Maria, 14, got a walk-on role in the Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” through a three-year-old partnership between the theater and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of sick children.
Maria has Marfan Syndrome, a connective tissue disease that affects her heart, blood vessels and spine and accounts for her taller-than-average stature. While not itself fatal, Marfan Syndrome comes with risks of dangerous aortic complications.
When her cardiologist at Children’s Memorial Hospital hooked her up with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Maria wished for acting classes. And she got them earlier this month at the John Robert Powers school – and a walk-on role in “A Christmas Carol.” She was not the only rookie on stage: NBC Channel 5’s Leeann Trotter also had a cameo, and the two hit their cues together.