Barbara Barsky’s Triple Threat

Barbara Barsky

Barb Barsky is best known for originating the role of Norma Desmond in the Canadian Premiere of Sunset Boulevard, her much lauded turn as Mama Rose in the Arts Club Production of Gypsy and her seven Dora nominated performances including Mimi Schwinn in Acting Up Stage’s A New Brain.

What musical will you always remember for its choreography/dancing?

Barb Barsky as Cassie
Ms. Barsky dances with the Music and the Mirror in the First National Company

I have a great fondness for West Side Story, Sweet Charity and Chicago. But for me the best marriage of dance and story will always be Michael Bennett’s A Chorus Line. The depiction of the dancer’s life was truthful and inspiring. Years ago I had the good fortune to be cast by Mr. Bennett in the first national company, and I remember the audition as if it were yesterday. We were all asked not to chew gum (as per the actual script) and to do a triple time step and a double turn. Even though these are the most basic of steps , they remain the great leveler. “Hello Twelve,” “The Music and The Mirror,” and of course, “One”… brilliant. More


The Year of The Child #2

I always wonder what the twins will think of musical theatre. Will they be avid fans who accompany me to opening nights from a young age? Or will musical theatre be the nerdy thing that their Dad does which they wouldn’t be caught dead getting involved with?

Into the Woods
Who didn’t watch this 1700 times growing up?

Wanting to find the balance between imposing my passions onto my children and NOT, I have been very careful to not introduce too much musical theatre to them. I haven’t yet made them watch the DVD of the original Into The Woods (do you think a 3 month old can appreciate the genius that is Joanna Gleason?), and our Annie wig will stay packed in the box this Halloween. More


Out There #1 – Beware the Biomusical

A few weeks ago, Chaplin opened on Broadway to middling reviews. Ben Brantley described the portrayal of the Little Tramp as “devoured by a swarm of man eating cliches” and The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that “its impossible to believe that [Charlie Chaplin] would express himself in such prosaic, cliched terms.” All of this heat over the reduction of a beloved icon to a simmering pot of bland stew got me thinking – why do some biomusicals sail, while others arrive virtually DOA?

Which one’s the Freaky Club Kid?

The history of the biomusical, while not prolific in its output, traces back generations and has born a few hits and a volume of flops. Marilyn: An American Fable infamously tanked amongst a chorus of dancing plumbers showering attention on a bathing Ms. Monroe. Coco, starring Katherine Hepburn as the mother of contemporary fashion, was a critical disaster despite moderate financial success (because of the marquee star’s fanbase). And Rosie O’Donell’s Boy George and Leigh Bowery megaflop Taboo received disparaging pre-press rivaled only in recent memory by Spiderman: Turn of the Dark. More


Craigslist Ad of the Week – Nightmare Catcher ($30)

This nightmare catcher was made from recycled items and has worked great for me until recently… I don’t know if it’s subliminal thought or spiritual mojo, but my wife took it down after a year of being up. She said she thought I didn’t like it for some reason??? (I made it…) I’m not sure I understand this myself yet, but I asked her to put it back up because my dreams had started turning back to nightmares a few days before I’d noticed it was down. When she put it back up my dreams got worse. If anyone’s interested in a nightmare catcher full of nightmares I guess this would be the one for you. I’m not sure what anyone would do with energy like that, but if you’re interested call me at eight-five 0 two-seven 6-5 nine-one-5.

Craigslist Posting ID: 3279794859


The Year of the Child #1

When we decided we were going to launch our “Musical Notes” initiative, I was asked to write a weekly posting, tracking the journey of an Artistic Director over the course of a season. While this was a great idea, it posed one problem – “Musical Notes” was launching exactly when I was taking a 5 month parental leave from Acting Up Stage to care for my newborn twins who were born on June 13! I wasn’t so sure that people who wanted to know what an Artistic Director does would be all that interested in how many diapers get changed daily.

(As a side note: I was going to gamble that I change the most number of diapers daily compared to any Artistic Director/Producer in the city until I remembered that Brian Goldenberg from Angelwalk Theatre has triplets.) More