June Schreiner in New Orleans during her Tulane orientation last month. (Courtesy of the Schreiner family)

A year and a half before Bryce Harper came along, another gifted teenager made such an extraordinary debut in Washington’s big leagues that it was only natural to wonder: Should June Schreiner skip college to go pro?

The 16-year-old — then a junior in high school — beat out dozens of professionals to win the role of Ado Annie in Arena Stage’s hit “Oklahoma!” and got raves from critics as far away as New York. “Utterly irresistible,” wrote our colleague Peter Marks. “This young natural with comedic chops to spare is on her way, and it is going to be great fun following her ascent.”

But after graduating last month from McLean’s Madeira School, Schreiner tells us she’s putting off that ascent for a while — and headed to Tulane this fall.

Schreiner with William Patrick Riley in Arena Stage’s production of Eugene O'Neill's “Ah! Wilderness” in March. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

“The actors I respected most were ones that are really smart,” said Schreiner, now 18. “They went to school. They learned about more than just about how to sing, how to dance, how to act.”

Why Tulane? Her family visited New Orleans on vacation, and she fell in love with the place. “I’ve never been anywhere like it. I was like, ‘I could learn so much living here, this crazy city.’ It’s so messed up and so wonderful.” She may keep a hand in acting — she’s been in touch with a New Orleans repertory theater and still hangs out at Arena (“it’s like a family”), where she appeared again this spring in “Ah, Wilderness.” But at the moment, she’s not even planning on a theater major.

“I really want to study sociology,” she said. ”It’s the study of human nature, the study of human interaction — what better acting class, you know?”

Schreiner as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!,” with Eleasha Gamble as Laurey, left, at Arena Stage in November 2010. (Susan Biddle for The Washington Post)

Read earlier: A hot season for June Schreiner, Arena’s 16-year-old Ado Annie in ‘Oklahoma!’, 12/17/10

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