New essential Chicagoan: Brenda Barrie
Barrie has been on our radar for a while (we first noticed her in a supporting role in BackStage’s 2007 Waiting for Lefty). But in the past year, the 29-year-old actor has really grabbed the spotlight with a succession of headlining performances that showcased the radiant charm she employs to endear (as Lulu in the Gift Theatre’s The Ruby Sunrise) or intimidate (as the alluring, amoral Aunt Dan in BackStage’s Aunt Dan and Lemon). The Northwest Indiana native even breathed artificial life into such undercooked fare as Ellen Fairey’s Graceland at Profiles Theatre. This month, she returns to Rogers Park’s Lifeline Theatre (where she scored a Jeff Award nom in last February’s Mariette in Ecstasy) as a grief-stricken housewife in Mrs. Caliban, adapted from Rachel Ingalls’s 1982 novel.
Barrie’s new Chicago essential Barrie can’t live without Millennium Park’s free summer concerts, such as the lunchtime Edible Audible Picnic series. “I love taking advantage of those: meeting friends for picnics, meeting my husband down there—that’s just such a beautiful treat for summer in Chicago.”