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Barrosse, Paul, 1958-



  • Existence: 1958    


Paul Barrosse was born in 1958 and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Cleveland Central Catholic High School where he made his directorial debut in the 1976 Catholic Theatre Conference One Act Festival with The Dumbwaiter, a one-act play by Harold Pinter.  Barrosse later matriculated to Northwestern University, joining the School of Speech class of 1980. While at Northwestern he became very active in the local theatre scene, participating for three years in the student-produced Mee-Ow Show and directing Of Mice and Men in 1978 as well as a controversial production of The Threepenny Opera two years later.

Before his graduation, Barrosse and his friends Brad Hall, Angela Murphy, and Robert Mendel founded Attack Theatre. Their first production was Clowns, written and performed by Barrosse and Hall, which made its debut at Northwestern’s Shanley Hall in 1979. The following year the group changed its name to The Practical Theatre Company, running its second season of plays at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in the summer of 1980 before finally settling in a more permanent home: the 42-seat John Lennon Auditorium, which was built in a storefront at 703 Howard Street in Evanston.

The Practical Theatre Company met great success throughout the 1980’s. The success of their fifth comedy revue, The Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee, led to Barrosse’s and three other members’ employment on the Saturday Night Live television program. The next year saw the Company’s improvisational show Megafun become temporarily more popular than the Second City’s concurrent production, and several months later their WTTW-hosted TV production “Made in Chicago: The Practical Theatre Company Meets Godzilla” won an Emmy. Later company improvisational comedy revues included Babalooney (1983) and Art, Ruth, and Woody (1986-1987).

Besides his work with the Practical Theatre Company, Barrosse enjoyed a remarkably successful career working on theatrical productions in a number of capacities. He acted on multiple occasions with the Goodman Theatre, The Organic Theatre and The National Jewish Theatre. As a writer, he authored several productions, most notably Elmo and June Confront Concepts Much Larger than Themselves, which was staged at The Stormfield Theatre in Chicago, The People’s Light & Theatre Company in Pennsylvania and New York’s West Side Arts Theatre. Barrosse cooperated with Second City founder Bernard Sahlins to establish the Willow Street Carnival theatre company, and shortly after this involvement he married his former Northwestern classmate and Practical Theatre cast member Victoria Zielinski.

Barrosse’s first employment in television was as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live in 1982. He went on to serve as a producer and writer for dozens of film and television projects, including VH1’s Behind The Music, PBS’s Future Quest hosted by Jeff Goldblum, Legends of Hollywood hosted by Robert Wagner, his own syndicated series Strange Universe in 1996, and the acclaimed television series Little People, Big World which began in 2004. He wrote multiple film scripts and worked on the production of numerous other television series and specials.

Barrosse also has explored a number of other career paths. He served as the lead singer for the rock band Riffmaster & the Rockme Foundation, for whom he also serves as a guitar player and songwriter.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Paul Barrosse Papers

Identifier: 31/6/114

Scripts and other materials produced by Paul Barosse (1958- ), an actor, and writer for television and motion pictures.

Dates: 1973-1997; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/2011