Tip No. 1: Get mauled by a pit bull
Lance Baker is one of Chicago’s finest stage actors, which is why we’re happy to report a pit bull mauled his wife in 2001.
With the settlement the thespian and his wife (director Kimberly Senior, who, we’re even happier to report, is doing fine) received as a result of the attack, the couple were able to purchase a Bucktown condominium. The windfall proved fortuitous in other ways: The couple has an 18-month-old son—with recently secured placement in a private preschool—and another child due soon. But as good as Baker is at his craft, the financial reality remains: no aggressive dog, no property.
Baker’s amazing fluidity has kept him uncommonly active, from roles in classics at the Court to new plays at the Goodman to regular fringe work. Small Equity theaters like A Red Orchid, where he’s an ensemble member, and Theater Wit, where he starred in the Chicago premiere of Thom Pain (based on nothing), have helped him maintain his alterna chops.
At the moment, Baker is suspended in a fairly typical scheduling purgatory. He’s been promised a role in Michael Mann’s upcoming Chicago-filmed Public Enemies, but was given no word about when he’ll be on set or even what part he’ll be playing. From a practical standpoint, this has meant turning down plays in order to take an indefinitely planned—but definitely lucrative—gig. “It’s still important to me to be a breadwinner,” Baker says.
So for the time being, Baker waits by the phone. In the House that Dog Built.
Next gig He’s turned away from multiple plays to accommodate his still-mysterious movie shoot, but he’s understudying A Steady Rain, at the Royal George through June 8.