Up next: In "Hello Dolly" at the Dury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.
"This is huge for me," says this hard-working 32-year-old actress of her new gig at Second City e.t.c. in the hit revue "A Clown Car Named Desire." No kidding. The blond Barreca, a bona fide singer and choreographer as well as a comic actress, is hilarious. She's no overnight sensation, but has "years and years of free improv shows" behind her. In fact, not so long ago, the Arlington Heights native and graduate of Marquette University was showing audience members to their seats at both the mainstage and the e.t.c. theaters from the host stand.
"I just wanted to get close," she says. Well, now she's there — and ready to take off.
Currently in "A Clown Car Named Desire."
Steep Theatre's production of "The Knowledge" was filled with potent newcomers to the Chicago theater scene, none more impressive than McCartney, a 24-year-old graduate of DePaul University. He played a sensitive schoolkid's worst nightmare — a hyperaggressive bully — and he did so with terrifying veracity and a powerful undercurrent of pain. "My years in Chicago have been the greatest of my life," McCartney says. "I only wish for the chance to continue working." We wish for very much the same for this impressive young actor.
Up next: Two Lights Theatre Company's production of "Pleasant Dreams" in October.
When they cast white guys at the Black Ensemble Theater, they have a good laugh and call it "nontraditional casting." But don't be fooled: They know what they are doing at BET, and Keating has some serious chops. This Minnesotan only arrived in Chicago last October, but Keating brought the house down in "From Doo Wop to Hip Hop," playing a singing mail carrier, no less.
"It was unlike anything I'd ever done before," said the 29-year old graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. "They were kinda writing as they went along, so it meant they really could cater to what you do."
Currently in understudy duties in "The Jungle Book" at the Goodman Theatre.
In the New Colony production of "The Bear Suit of Happiness," a play about gay servicemen, Jarosch played a character born years too early, with dreams of not having to hide his sexuality. This moving performance came from a 30-year-old graduate of Columbia College Chicago (and native of Grand Rapids, Mich.), who almost gave up acting. "I broke my foot a few years ago on opening night of a show," Jarosch said. "It kinda put me out of auditioning and the whole theater scene until 'Bear Suit.' I owe a lot to those guys at the New Colony for offering me this opportunity. It made me realize I'm at my happiest when working on a creative project." And darn fine he is too.
Up next: Auditioning.
Fresh from an enigmatic debut performance as a runaway in "Princes of Waco" at the Signal Ensemble Theatre last fall, this hugely talented young woman from Tempe, Ariz., then drew all kinds of attention for her heartbreaking turn in "The Knowledge" at the Steep Theatre this past spring, playing a tough, sexualized teenager with a soft core. It was a beautiful performance from a promising young star.
Braver, 21, dropped out of Cornell College in Iowa after her freshman year and moved to Chicago in 2011, not knowing anyone. "I am really lucky the way things have worked out," she said. "I've been able to work with people from whom I can really learn."
Up next: Auditioning.