Tag Archives: The Beverly Arts Center

Big Fun in Chicago is About to Begin…

There’s little more than a week before “The Vic & Paul Show” opens at The Beverly Arts Center on June 15th.  Get your tickets here.

On the day before we open at The Beverly Arts Center, Victoria and I are joining our great friend, and my fellow Northwestern and Mee-Ow Show alum, Dana Olsen, for a special comedy show at The Wilmette Theatre on June 14th.  Our musical director Steve Rashid and our original “Vic & Paul Show” director Shelly Goldstein will also join us for a night of “Comedy for the Middle Ages”.

Here’s a recent Pioneer Press feature about “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood”…

You’ll meet the most interesting people in “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood,” Thursday, June 14, at the Wilmette Theatre.

First of all, there’s Mr. Olsen himself, aka Dana Olsen, the writer of such hit films as “George of the Jungle” and “The ’Burbs,” plus numerous TV scripts, who pursues his Hollywood career from the unlikely location of Wilmette.

Then there’s Evanston resident Steve Rashid, an Emmy-winning composer who is also a musician, singer, producer and recording engineer.

Two of Olsen’s other “neighbors” are Victoria Zielinski and her husband, former “Saturday Night Live” writer Paul Barrosse, stars of “The Vic and Paul Show,” an evening of comedy and music which opens a two-weekend run at the Beverly Arts Center the night after “Mr. Olsen’s Neighborhood.”

Lastly, there’s Shelly Goldstein, a cabaret artist and writer, whose numerous TV script credits range from “Laverne and Shirley” to “Flying with Byrd.”

Zielinski, Barrosse and Goldstein all live in Los Angeles but are gathering at the Wilmette Theatre with longtime friends Olsen and Rashid to relive their fun days at Northwestern University (blank) years ago. (Goldstein and Zielinski made Olsen promise not to reveal the dates.)

College buddies

“It’s kind of like we’re getting the old band back together,” 
Olsen said of the comedy-variety show he and his friends have 
created. “We first worked together in the ‘Mee-Ow Show,’ which is the annual comedy review on campus. [Rashid didn’t work on that show with them.] Then, different incarnations of us worked comedy clubs as a group for a while. After graduation, we followed separate paths in the industry. Now it’s years later and our parental obligations have diminished and we decided to start having some fun with each other again.”

Each performer is writing part of the program. Olsen has created a humorous Power Point presentation. Barrosse and Zielinski are doing a few pieces from “The Vic and Paul Show.” Goldstein will perform selections from her cabaret act, which she has presented all over the world.

Rashid is serving as musical director, as well as doing a segment of the show.

“Dana and I have been friends for quite a while through other friends,” Rashid said, “but we’ve never actually worked together. Whenever we get together, we spend a lot of time laughing so we might as well do it onstage.”

Rashid first worked with Barrosse and Zielinski in the 1980s when he was musical director for the Practical Theatre Co., which Barrosse co-founded in Chicago. He is also serving as musical director of “The Vic and Paul Show.”

In addition to participating in the musical numbers from that show, Rashid said, “I’ll have a couple of moments. One of the nice things about this show that Dana is putting together is that there will be several opportunities for all of us to be performing together, in one form or another, and we’ll each have a chance to do a little bit of what we do individually.”

Playing together

“We’ve written some 
sketches for all of us — which has been a real blast,” Olsen concurred. “We’ve been working together on conference calls and throwing ideas around in email, and sending rough drafts back and forth.”

Rashid recalled one of those conference calls. “They were practically writing sketches on the phone,” he said. “It was absolutely hilarious.”

Olsen said that the show’s theme is: “A humorous look at the trials and tribulations of middle age — an idea of different neighborhoods. Middle age being a neighborhood. Wilmette being a neighborhood. Marriage being a neighborhood. We’re taken the ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood’ theme and expanded it.”

Sounds like a great place to visit.

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Victoria & The Villager…

With two weeks before “The Vic & Paul Show” opens at The Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, Victoria had a conversation with another hometown neighborhood newspaper, The Villager

“Wine should be available during the show,” said Victoria Zielinski, who is one half of The Vic and Paul Show. “This kind of comedy goes best with wine.”

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.

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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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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” — Steve’s Photo Tour of The Beverly Arts Center…

Steve Rashid, the musical director of The Vic & Paul Show, took a scouting trip to The Beverly Arts Center – where Vic, Steve and I will be appearing this summer from June 15-17 and 21-24.

Here’s Steve driving up to The Beverly Arts Center, located on Chicago’s South Side at 2407 W. 111th Street. You can’t see her in this show, but Steve is with his lovely wife, Bea Rashid, a brilliant dancer and choreographer who runs the Evanston cultural institution, Dance Center Evanston. Bea took many of these photos, which explains why Steve ends up appearing in his own photo tour…

You can Steve in the lobby of The Beverly Arts Center. (Dressed in a snazzy jacket.) This is where you can walk in and buy a ticket to The Vic & Paul Show. It’s also where all the pre-show excitement and hobnobbing will take place before each performance.

This is another angle on the bright and sunny lobby – a pleasant environment that those who attend our Saturday and Sunday matinee performances will be able to enjoy.

Steve wanders upstairs, headed to the theatre balcony. Those who sit in the balcony to watch The Vic & Paul Show will be treated to an excellent view of the subtle bald spot on the back of my head.

This is the view from the stage, looking into the 400-seat house. I love all those colorful seats. This is going to be a really wonderful place to see our show.

Here’s Steve standing on the stage. It’s a deep stage with lots of playing space. I’ll have plenty of room to stagger around during “Whiskey Tasting”.

Here’s another angle on the house. All you folks on the North Side of Chicago should come down and check this theatre out during our run in June. It’s shocking that Evanston doesn’t have a performing arts center like this.

This is the view of the backstage area – where Vic will be getting into all of her hilarious wigs during The Vic & Paul Show. Note the covered baby grand. Steve Rashid can really make a baby grand piano sing. Steve can sing, too. The Beverly Arts Center has two baby grand pianos – but Steve will only be playing one of them. He could play both of them at the same time – but that kind of ostentatious virtuosity went out with Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

Here’s one of the four art galleries located in The Beverly Arts Center. What exhibits will be on display during our run in June? Make sure to ask when you’re ordering your tickets for The Vic & Paul Show.

The promotion for our June run is already underway. Get your tickets now!

See you in Chicago’s lovely and historic Beverly neighborhood this June when The Vic & Paul Show brings a celebration of comedy, music, marriage and martinis to The Beverly Arts Center.

For tickets, click here.

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