Practical Theatre Company comedy troupe starts run of Evanston shows

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Practical Theatre Company comedy troupe starts run of Evanston shows
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The Practical Theatre Company's "Vic & Paul & Dana's Post Pandemic Revue" is playing the next 2 weekends at Studio 5 in Evanston.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Practical Theatre Company is a rousing comedy troupe that starting in Chicago over 40 years ago and is still going strong.

The company was first started by Northwestern University students who've kept performing together over the years.

Their "Vic & Paul & Dana's Post-Pandemic Revue" was supposed to do a run of shows this time last year but the troupe got COVID just before. Now Paul Barrosse, his wife Victoria Zielinski and Dana Olzsen will be performing at Studio 5 in Evanston along with musical director Steve Rashid.

"There's a lot of new stuff, there's stuff we were preparing to do last year and a renewed sense of determination that we've got to celebrate this, we've got to get back in a live comedy room," Zielinki said.

Paul was among the founding members who were playing at their new space in Piper's Alley when SNL came calling. A young Julia-Louis Dreyfus was part of the group then, but big time TV could cramp their free-wheeling style.

"It was adjustment to go from where you had the control; if you thought it was funny it got on stage and you immediately found out in previews if you were right or wrong," Barrosse said.

"A Chicago audience feels to me to be more present in the moment and are just up for looking for a great time," said Olsen. "Having the people right there and that mutual exchange of energy between the cast and the audience is everything."

"They know this form, they love this form, this is where it grew up, all the way back from the early fifties," said Barrosse.

"My wife and I built this theatre so this is our place," Rashid said. "We opened in 2015 and we love to have this as a gathering place for the community and this is a perfect thing for us to bring in here."

You can see "Vic & Paul & Dana's Post Pandemic Revue" at Evanston Thursday through Saturday, and next week on January 4 through 7.