A collection of tightly-scripted comedy sketches, The Vic and Paul Show will make its BAC debut in mid June and will feature Zielinski, a North Beverly native, and her husband, fellow comic Paul Barrosse, who co-founded Chicago’s Practical Theater Company in the 1980s and who has worked as a writer and producer on such notable television show’s as “Saturday Night Live,” “Little People, Big World” and VH1’s “Behind the Music.”
According to Zielinski, The Vic and Paul Show is the result of conversations which took place around the couple’s kitchen table. It touches on politics, religion, and above all, relationships.
“We’re at that stage in our lives where the kids are grown and we’re thinking, what now?” she said. “But the show isn’t only about that. It captures the dilemma of being in a relationship at any age.”
A veteran of sketch comedy and improv, Zielinski met her husband while both were drama students at Northwestern University.
“We knew each other in college,” she said, “but we didn’t pay any attention to one another back then, because we were both involved with other people.”
After earning a Masters degree in Performance Studies, Zielinski joined the Laugh Track, a comedy troupe which toured Chicago colleges and clubs. She soon became involved with the Practical Theater Company, a comedy troupe which was started by Northwestern University students and which included such notable Chicago actors as Brad Hall, Gary Kroeger, Seinfeld star Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Zielinski’s future husband, Barrosse.
Zielinski landed several leading roles with the PTC, a troupe which enjoyed marked success during the 1980s, often rivaling Chicago ’s legendary Second City Theater. Her resume from that time also includes roles with the Goodman Theater, the National Jewish Theater and the Court Theater.
Zielinski grew up at 91st and Hamilton and attending Kellogg elementary school and Luther South high school. She grew up loving Original Rainbow Cones and Fox’s pizza, and has fond memories of afternoons spent at Ridge Park and Walker Branch Library.
“There’s not a better place on the face of the planet to grow up,” she said. “Everybody knows everybody else, and there’s a community feeling that truly epitomizes Chicago . I didn’t realize how special Beverly was until I was raising my own kids in L.A. , which is the complete cultural opposite.”
Zielinski and Barrosse were married in 1990, relocating to Los Angeles shortly thereafter to pursue opportunities in television. They have three daughters, Maura, Emilia and Eva.
Confident in the comedic taste of Beverly/Morgan Park, Zielinski is eager to return to the neighborhood of her youth.
“Audiences in Chicago understand comedy,” she said. “I think it has a lot to do with being raised on Second City .”
This is particularly true, said Zielinski, when it comes to the hot button topics of politics and religion.
“We feel very comfortable with our sketches about Chicago politics,” she said, “but that’s because we’re from there. And religion – well, nobody gets Catholic humor like somebody from Chicago .”
Zielinski describes the show as musical, colorful, and physical – a style throwback packed with contemporary material. It was well reviewed in L.A., and when it premiered in Chicago this past December, the Tribune called it “old time comedy done right.”
The 8-performance run of The Vic and Paul Show will take place from June 15-17, and from June 21-24. Tickets are $22 ($20 for BAC members) and are available at the BAC box office or by visiting www.beverlyartcenter.org.