For years, Lauren Steinert heard people give her some of the same advice:
“It’s tennis or music.”
“You’ll have to pick one, eventually.”
“One or the other.”
Steinert heard them talking, but she didn’t listen.
Today, the standout tennis player and coach is also touring with Fiddler on the Roof as part of the show’s cast members. As for her love for music and tennis? Neither has taken a backseat.
“It was constant as I grew up. Everyone would say, ‘One day, you have to choose that one thing that you want to do.’ I found for me that tennis kept me grounded and almost protected me from the lifestyle that music sometimes brings out. I wouldn’t want to give that up.”
Her love for tennis and music started for Steinert nearly 20 years ago. She remembers being 6 or 7, sitting down to watch the US Open with her dad. She began playing and eventually found herself competing competitively at USTA events and training at Northwood Racquet Club under Matt Potts and the Northwood staff.
Through it all, music was always front and center. Steinert’s mother had taught her to play the piano at a young age, and eventually, Steinert discovered a love (and quite a talent) for singing. It wasn’t just the singing, though. Steinert had a love for what went into the singing.
“It was about developing technical skills. With singing and tennis, they were almost one and the same,” she said. “I was just so intrigued vocally with what went into singing, and developing. I see that being so similar to tennis, how you develop your game and build it piece by piece.”
As a high school student, Steinert was a star musically and on the tennis court. She knew she wanted to pursue music and theater, but also discovered an opportunity to compete on the tennis court at Moravian University.
There, she found the education to help her on stage, while also getting the chance to stand out with her racquet. She was a four-time letter winner, won the Army Reserve Sportsmanship Award, and finished her collegiate career with a winning record in both singles and doubles.
After college, she began pursuing roles in theater. She also became a certified USPTA Teaching Professional, and began working full-time hours at Northwood. She especially loves working with kids.
Her students and co-workers became used to her going from audition to the tennis courts, back to auditions, and back to the tennis court.
She credits Potts, the owner of Northwood, for giving her the chance to pursue both of her crafts.
“I cannot think of anyone more supportive of me and my career than Matt and the staff at Northwood,” she said. “They understand what I’m trying to do, and instead of holding me back, they pick me up. I am so thankful for that entire group.”
Steinert also credits Maia Knowles (who she calls her “work mom”) for her support, and went on to name numerous other Northwood staff for their support.
As a young woman in theater and tennis coaching, she said that support has been integral as she worked toward her goals.
Recently, Steinert’s work paid off in a big way. In 2022 she was cast in Fiddler on the Roof, and spent much of the year traveling around the country on tour. After some time off during the holidays, touring began again.
When she’s home, she finds her way back to Northwood, where she teaches.
“The kids are sometimes an inch or two taller, or they’ve lost a few teeth,” she said with a laugh. “I love coming back and seeing them, and catching up on what I’ve missed.”
When the show closes in 2023, she’ll be back on the courts. Or, who knows, she may be back on the road again. But either way, tennis will be waiting for her.
And for anyone who said she couldn’t excel at both tennis and music? At this point, hopefully they've changed their tune.