Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Beverly Review & Our Revue

With a little more than two weeks before “The Vic & Paul Show” opens at The Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, Victoria spoke to her hometown neighborhood newspaper, The Beverly Review.

Published as part of the May 30, 2012 edition.

by Caroline Connors

When Victoria Zielinski takes the stage at the Beverly Arts Center next month to perform with her husband Paul Barrosse in “The Vic and Paul Show,” it will be just like old times for the Beverly-born-and raised comedienne.

Although she’s lived in Los Angeles for most of her adult life, she said, she still has vivid childhood memories of ice skating at Ridge Park, eating ice cream at Rainbow Cone and spending long afternoons at the Walker branch of the Chicago Public Library.

“I don’t feel like I ever really left Beverly,” Zielinski said. “It’s in your blood.”

On top of that, she and her husband, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer, are returning to the stage to do a show together after a two-decade hiatus spent working day jobs in the television industry and raising three daughters, Maura, Emilia and Eva.

Zielinski and Barrosse met years ago while attending Northwestern University, and they went on to perform together in several comedy revues for the Practical Theatre, a Chicago- based theater company that was active throughout the 1980s.

They married in 1990, started a family and “haven’t been out of the house since,” Zielinski said.

Now that their “baby” is 16, the couple is resurrecting the creative spark that drew them together for the first time.

“Paul looked at me over Thanksgiving dinner a couple of years ago and said, ‘We’re either Vic and Paul who created comedy together, or we’re not,’” Zielinski said.

So the couple decided to pick up where they left off, creating a show that touches on the wacky world of marriage, child rearing and middle age. They spent five months creating the show at the kitchen table after work, drinking martinis and improvising just like they had done in their 20s.

“A lot of improvising occurred after 10 p.m., and it could get a little loud,” Zielinski said. “Our daughter came down the stairs a couple of times and asked, ‘Are you guys fighting?’ She got to see a part of us that she had not known.”

The show opened in Los Angeles in 2010 and played at the Mayne Stage Theater in Rogers Park in December 2011, drawing a diverse audience with its “slightly edgy” mix of music and sketch comedy laced with references to modern-day politics and tinged with a slightly vintage undertone.

“It’s almost like a tribute to [Mike] Nichols and [Elaine] May, who were a big hit on Broadway in the 1960s,” Zielinski said. “It’s an unspoken homage to that kind of comedy.”

A graduate of Kellogg Elementary School and Luther South High School, Zielinksi earned her bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees from Northwestern before devoting her career to comedy and improv. In addition to her roles in “Megafun,” “Art, Ruth & Trudy” and “Bozo Town” with the Practical Theatre, Zielinski has appeared in roles at the Goodman Theatre, the National Jewish Theatre, Court Theatre and as a member of the Willow Street Carnival, which sent her to Barcelona, Spain, to live and study with the renowned Spanish comedy troupe, Els Comediants.

The couple moved to Los Angeles in the early ’90s to further their careers as television producers, Zielinski said, but Chicago will always be home.

“In Beverly, you walk out of your house, and three people say, ‘Where are you going?’ and then give you their opinion on whatever it is you’re doing,” she said. “Here, I could be dead in my house for 20 months, and no one would notice.”

No matter whether she’s in Chicago or L.A., Zielinski is happy to be back on stage with Barrosse and celebrating the next phase of their marriage.

“We’re older and fatter than we were 20 years ago, but that’s A-OK. We’re not trying to be famous; we’ve got nothing to prove,” Zielinski said. “We think it’s cool to be empty-nesters. Paul’s my best friend, and this is our next step.”

“The Vic and Paul Show” will appear at the BAC June 15-17 and June 21-24. Tickets are $22 for non-members and $20 for members and can be purchased by calling (773) 445-3838 or online at beverlyartcenter.org.

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A Salty Salute to the Mayor of Chicago…

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Memorial Day at Arlington West

They’ve been doing it for nearly a decade now.

Every Sunday, from sunrise to sunset, a group called Veterans for Peace puts small white wooden crosses into the sand on the beach in Santa Monica, CA. Each cross represents a soldier’s life lost in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They call it Arlington West.

Years ago, when I first witnessed this solemn display, the crosses numbered in the hundreds. Today, there are crosses and Stars of David and Islamic crescents to represent the 6,447 fallen American servicemen who have given their lives in service to our county.

When the memorial began in 2003, Veterans for Peace would place one cross in the sand for each servicemen killed. As the numbers of lives lost has grown over the years, there are now an inceasing number of red crosses — each representing 10 lost American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

It’s an incongruous sight, this makeshift, ever-growing military memorial in the shadow of Santa Monica Pier and it’s bustling carnival atmosphere, surrounded by surfers, swimmers and other sun worshippers.  But it’s a necessary reminder of supreme sacrifices made on the other side of the world – far, far away from the pleasures of the Pier and the fun in the sun of Santa Monica Bay.

The goal of Veterans For Peace is to offer “visitors a graceful, visually and emotionally powerful, place for reflection.”

And Arlington West does just that.

Take a moment to ponder the following photos.

On this Memorial Day, pause to reflect at Arlington West.

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A Salty Salute to the Mayor of Chicago…

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“The Vic & Paul Show” Summer 2012…

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“The Vic & Paul Show” Plays the Best Location in the Nation…

This summer, July 12-15th at the 14th Street Theatre in Playhouse Square, I’ll be performing again in my beloved hometown — 36 years after my last turn on a Cleveland area stage as Broadway song and dance legend George M. Cohan in the Euclid Shore Center of the Arts’ Bicentennial production of George M!

I began my stage career as a freshman at Cleveland Central Catholic High School when director Dennis Behl cast me as Og the Leprechaun in the spring ’77 musical, Finian’s Rainbow.

Since I played football and wrestled, I was only able to do the spring play. (At Cleveland Central Catholic there was, thankfully, no dividing line between the jocks and theatre folk.)

In my sophomore year at CCC, the fabulous Mary Ann Zampino took over the Central Catholic theatre program – and I won the role of Coach Bart Bascom in You Were Born on a Rotten Day.

It’s still hard to imagine I wrestled at 126 pounds – and that Bart Bascom could wear such a tight t-shirt with complete confidence. (Those were the days, my friend.)

You Were Born on a Rotten Day was certainly not a classic theatrical property, but in the two years that followed, I had the opportunity to play two great American musical theatre roles: Marrying Sam in Li’l Abner (originated on Broadway by the famed Stubby Kaye) and, in my senior year, Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man.

Now, 36 years after playing the title roles in The Music Man and George M! – and, after a decade of work in Chicago theatre, a brief but memorable stint at Saturday Night Live, and a productive two decades in the television industry in Los Angeles, I’m thrilled to be returning to Cleveland with my very funny wife Victoria and my great friend and musical director Steve Rashid to perform our hit improvisational comedy revue The Vic & Paul Show from July 12-15 at The 14th Street Theatre in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.

The Chicago Tribune calls The Vic & Paul Show “Old school sketch comedy done right” – so go to the Cleveland Playhouse Square website to purchase tickets for an unforgettable evening of comedy, music, marriage and martinis.

This is going to be a very funny homecoming.

To all my Cleveland family, friends, and fellow Central Catholic alumni – I promise you an evening of laughs well worth the 36-year wait.

And, hey! The Tribe’s in first place – so, it’s all good!

Here’s the whole “Vic & Paul Show” Summer 2012 Tour…

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Just One Month until “The Vic & Paul Show” @ The Beverly Arts Center…

There’s only one month left to get your tickets for The Vic & Paul Show at The Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s South Side at 2407 W. 111th Street from June 15-24th. For more info about the show and the Beverly neighborhood — Victoria’s childhood home — click here.

See you at The Beverly Arts Center in June!

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