Jessica Diaz, 29

We've seen a lot of Rizzos. None has been better than the bad girl played by Diaz in ¿The Original Grease¿ at American Theater Company. Diaz, who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains, is a big, laser-focused talent who went after the mixture of pain, defiance and vulnerability that make up one of this beloved musical's most appealing and enduring characters. ¿I like strong women,¿ Diaz says, unsurprisingly. ¿And with Rizzo, I get to play a little younger and go back to that time when things are all ahead of you.¿ Diaz says it has long been a goal of hers to work in Chicago theater. And although she's headed to grad school at New York University this fall, she plans to be back. Who cares if the neighborhood thinks she's trashy and no good? The Diaz Rizzo is all right with us. WHERE TO SEE HER: In ¿The Original Grease,¿ through Aug. 21 at American Theater Company
Brian Cassella
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