Renae holds a BFA in Musical Theater from the University of Michigan, and is also an alumna of the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, where she studied directing as well as acting. As an actor and singer, herself, she has appeared on stage and in film, television, cabaret, concert and music video. Since 1997 she has been the founder/director I S.M.I.L.E. In New York Productions, a company of actors and vocal groups for special events. As an acting coach, Renae has guided her clients into feature films, pilots, episodic television, Broadway, National Tours, regional theatre and music videos. She is also called upon, by film directors, to help shape the performances of their talent on set and behind the scenes. She is recommended by major talent agents and managers as well as directors, teachers and parents of young actors.
It was amazing having Renae on set. Her attentiveness and dedication to the project took such a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to distribute my efforts and emphasis on places that needed my attention. There was an incredible synergetic trust between Renae, myself, and the actors. She without a doubt helped stimulate and hone my direction.
Tyler Wallach, writer/director of FROG
Renae is a treasure to child actors AND their parents! She is an amazing teacher and no matter how short the notice, always manages to find time to help! Since my son Logan began working with her, his number of callbacks and subsequent bookings has increased dramatically! Over the past few months alone, he has booked 4 voiceovers, 2 films and a recurring role on a new network television series! We are so very grateful that we found her and would highly recommend her to anyone looking to learn the art (and business) of acting!
Melissa, mother to Logan Smith - recurring role of Sawyer in NBC series THE BLIND SPOT.
The amount of new technique I've learned from Renae is unbelievable! She is extremely easy to work with and has as way of making sure everyone in the class gains something to benefit themselves as a performer. As a talented actress herself, the students in her class admire her skill and trust her teaching. Thanks to Renae, I feel even more confident as a performer AND a person. I'm definitely looking forward to working with Renae again in the future!
Logan Applin, (age 13)
“Renae is a phenomenal acting coach, and a wonderfully genuine person to work with. She has prepared both my son and my daughter for performances in films, and has raised their acting to new standards by guiding them in the creation of characters and understanding the subtext. Renae's warmth, empathy, and patience are rarely found in this industry.”
Claudia Murdoch, mother to Francesca and Julian Murdoch
“Renae is a true joy to work with! She is warm and compassionate and has the unique ability to bring out the very best in young actors. She coached my son for two feature film auditions and he booked them both! I honestly cannot say enough wonderful things about her and my son absolutely adores her!”
Jessica Weiser-McCarthy (mother of Jack McCarthy, age 6, No Letting Go and The Family Fang)
“My children and I are so glad to have met and worked with Renae. She coached my son prior, and during filming of a feature film. He had a principal role that was quite emotional and Renae was able to help him reach those heights! He has proven to do so well, and I know this was achieved through great teaching and technique. We look forward to working together again!”
Mother of twin boys
“My director and I hired one of Renae’s clients for a staged reading of my new play MERCY STREET, and knowing the time limitations that existed for rehearsal, we agreed that having Renae in the rehearsal room as the child acting coach would be invaluable. We were right. Her ability to work with both the director and the child, and in this case the writer, made all of the difference. The performance was wonderful. Our entire production team was impressed with them both and can’t wait to work with them again.”
Rebecca Burton, Writer/Director/Producer (www.mercyst.com)
“Peyton has adored Renae ever since their first coaching session together. She has an innate ability to teach young actors, by gaining their trust with her special warmth and kindness. It is in that safe, nurturing environment that children can open up and become the character they need to be in a scene. Renae is undoubtedly one of the best acting coaches in the business.”
Tara Kennedy, (Mother of Peyton Ella, Gretl, in the NBC Live Broadcast of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.)
“Renae Baker is a fantastic acting coach! Her expertise in her craft, personal investment in her students and pleasant personality is unmatched. Renae's sessions have given Emily that extra edge before going into an audition.”
Mother of 8-year-old Emily Rosenfeld (Molly, ANNIE, 2012 Broadway revival)
“I love working with Renae! I always look forward to seeing her because we have so much fun together! I've learned so much!”
Emily Rosenfeld (Molly, ANNIE, 2012 Broadway revival)
“Renae has been fantastic to work with! My boys have had great fun learning audition techniques, cold reading skills and improv. She treats the children with great respect while freeing up emotions to access their most genuine and confident selves. As a mother herself, she understands how young minds work and creatively connects with them so they learn to trust themselves as actors. In a world of acting and make believe, Renae is as real and sincere as they get!”
Mom of 3 happy actors
“Sometimes building a character can be complicated. Working with Renae makes that process quicker, easier and so much fun. Renae really knows how to get to the heart of forming a character and making good choices”
Zach Rand, 15-year-old actor on Broadway
(LES MISERABLES, MARY POPPINS, A CHRISTMAS STORY, BONNIE & CLYDE, THE WOMAN, LUCKY MCKEE)
“Renae is so good at helping Gabe discover the content between the lines, so he can walk into any audition ready to deliver a whole character. His number of callbacks and bookings has increased since he started working with her!”
Mother of Gabe Rush, 13, Broadway, feature film and TV actor
(MOONRISE KINGDOM, SACRIFICIAL LAMB, A LITTLE GAME, BILLY ELLIOTT)
“I had the great pleasure of working with Renae Baker in my previous film. Having to work with kids is a big challenge and having an acting coach as talented as Renae really makes a difference.”. I was able to trust my young cast in a way that I couldn't before. Renae helped actors from Broadway gain the necessary skill set confidence and professionalism required in film. I can't thank her enough for all the amazing work she did. Now I am working with Renae as often as I possible can.”
Television and Feature Film Writer/Director/Producer
“Renae Baker is an inspiring and talented acting coach. She has worked with my children over the course of a year, helping them to develop and grow as actors. Renae's guidance helped to lead, ultimately, to my son, Jake, booking the role of Michael in the National tour of BILLY ELLIOT!”
Mother of 10-year-old actor, Jake Kitchin
“With Renae, my daughter finally had that breakthrough, reaching that level where she is no longer just saying lines, but expressing real emotion through her eyes, movement, and voice. She has become a true actor. With both acting and song, Renae's training has been invaluable!”
Victoria Dollon, mother to 13 year old Coco Dollon (actress/singer/model)