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Retiree finds her encore career—as an actress

Judi Schindler vividly recalls her first big moment on the stage, playing the lead role in “Pinocchio” when she was 12 years old.

“The hardest part was in the carnival scene,” she says. “I had to transform myself into a donkey while hiding behind a piece of scenery.”

Now, at 75, she is again on the stage as a professional actress in Chicago. There was a detour of roughly five decades, three spent running her own public-relations firm, before she returned to her original love.

But it’s almost better it turned out this way, she says. “In my 20s, I would have been in competition with hundreds, maybe thousands, of young women who come to Chicago seeking careers in theater,” she says.

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