18 Things to Know About Jewish Actress Julia Lester

Lester, who recieved a Tony nomination for portraying Little Red Ridinghood on Broadway, comes from a family of performers.

The 76th Tony Awards was a big night for Jewish Broadway.

The revival of “Parade,” a musical about the lynching of Jewish American Leo Frank, won two of the six nominations it received, and “Leopoldstadt,” Tom Stoppard’s new play about generations of a Jewish Viennese family before, during and after the Holocaust, won four of its six nominations. “Leopoldstadt” star Brandon Uranowitz won for featured actor in a play. The two Jewish stars of “Parade,” Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond, were nominated but did not take home wins.

As much as we love Ben, Micaela and everything about “Parade” and “Leopoldstadt,” we’re not here to talk about them. We’re here to talk about another nominee: Jewish actress Julia Lester. Nominated for her role as Little Red in the revival of “Into the Woods,” Lester is an up-and-coming Jewish star who absolutely deserves to be celebrated.

With that in mind, here are 18 things to know about Julia Lester.

1. Julia was born in Los Angeles, California on January 28, 2000 to a Jewish family.

2. That makes her an Aquarius!

3. We can’t lie, she was a pretty adorable kid.

Those curls!

4. Julia comes from a family of performers. Her parents, Loren and Kelly Lester, are also actors. Her sister Jenny is a writer, director, producer and actor, and her sister Lily is a comedian, writer and actor.

5. Her great-grandfather was a member of a Yiddish opera company in Poland around the turn of the 20th century.

6. She attended Calabasas High School.

7. She identifies as queer!

8. Julia’s first big break was getting cast as Ashlyn Caswell in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in 2019.

9. In “High School Musical: The Musical: The Holiday Special,” Julia performed an incredible Hanukkah medley.

“Where’s the Mariah Carey version of a Hanukkah song? So, I thought [in the special] I would add a little bit of music video flare to Hanukkah,” Julia told the Jewish Journal.

10. You simply have to watch her performance of said Hanukkah medley:

11. In 2021, Julia co-produced her sister Jenny’s film “What She Said,” which we at Hey Alma deemed “the Jewish interfaith holiday movie you’ve been waiting for.”

12. Jewish representation is important to Julia!

I think Jewish family representation on TV and in movies is really important, and that includes Reform Jewish families,” she said in an interview with Hey Alma. “We grew up very much Reform, and I didn’t see a lot of movies about families like mine.”

13. Julia made her Broadway debut in 2022 as Little Red Ridinghood in “Into the Woods.”

14. That wasn’t the first time Julia was in “Into the Woods.” As a child, she was in a community production as Milky White the cow. (As a teenager, she played Little Red in a Los Angeles production of the show.)

15. James Lapine, who wrote “Into the Woods” with Stephen Sondheim, gave Julia’s performance a huge compliment.

“She’s bringing something a little punchier to it and more emotional shadings,” he told the New York Times. “She’s a more knowing Little Red Riding Hood.”

16. Watch her reaction to finding out that she received a Tony nomination:

Lea Michele indeed said her name!

17. Her dream Sondheim role would be Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd.”

18. Her next role will be Miss Marmelstein in an Off-Broadway production of “I Can Get It for You Wholesale” — a role first originated on Broadway by none other than Barbra Streisand!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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