Will Wilson on Italian Food…

Whenever I think of Italian food I immediately think of celebrations, usually weddings and baptisms. There’s always so much food that many guests leave with doggie bags of their favorites. One of my favorite celebrations is St. Joseph’s Day, March 19, which always includes a St. Joseph’s Table.


Tradition has it, that during the Middle Ages Sicily faced a severe famine and the very poor had nothing but their faith to rely on. St. Joseph is known as the protector of the Holy Family, so it was to him they prayed to intercede on their behalf and end the famine.


In gratitude, when their prayers were answered and the famine ended, the people promised to make annual offerings of their most precious possession – food – in St. Joseph’s honor.


Since this feast day occurs during the season of Lent, tables set up in his honor include meatless dishes such as stuffed artichokes, pasta and fish, as well as breads, cookies, pastries, cakes and other delicacies.

 When you visit a St. Joseph’s Table, you often receive gifts of fava beans and breads. Fava beans play an integral part of the celebration because this was the food that saved the Sicilians from starvation. The bean is said to bring good luck, and it is believed that if the St. Joseph’s bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve.

Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 11:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pasta Fagioli

Minestra di Fagioli  (Bean Soup). Growing up in our harried home there is no greater remedy for what ailed you than a big steaming bowl of my father’s Pasta Fagioli (We pronounced it Pasta Fajul). My sisters called it garbage soup.

Beans and pasta simmering in a big pot along with whatever else he rescued from that ancient fridge denying it a dignified death march to the large yellow plastic garbage pail.

Not unlike his legendary potato concoctions or his inexplicably delicious omelets – the Pasta Fajule was never boring and never the same thing twice.

Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Barb Rosenbalm on Italian Food

Ya gotta love people who can think of a thousand different things to do with tomatoes and noodles in a bunch of different shapes but each with its own name.

 Is macaroni really any different than angel hair pasta? It is to Mama B!

Published in: on February 9, 2008 at 6:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Brian Barber plays Tommy

Hiya, I’m Brian Barber. I recently moved into Chicago, but I’m no stranger to the city as I lived in Naperville when I was going to high school. I went to college in Virginia where I attended Old Dominion University and studied Communications and Theatre.

After I graduated, I moved up here to try and earn a living as a working actor. Since moving up here, I’ve met many friendly people who live around the area. I love meeting new people and creating new friendships, and I think this is a hugely beneficial characteristic of mine. 

I think it’s really easy to be casual and set people at ease when they are around me. This lends itself to people being a little more friendly and thus helps build friendships that much easier. 

Were I forced to choose one job to do for the rest of my life; I certainly would have to pick something that has me working with and around people.

As a naturally optimistic and energetic person, I find that working with others really energizes me and keeps me going. This really comes forth when I’m working on a show.

You really have to find some sort of common ground with your partners, as you are putting yourself out there in such a personal manner, in my mind. And although this blog is supposed to be an introduction to me and who I am, while still having friendship as a theme, I think I’ve accomplished both.  I hope so anyway.

I really look forward to building these new friendships with this cast.

Published in: on February 9, 2008 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barbara Rosenbalm plays Momma Bennie

What do I bring to this show?

Well, being one of the older actors, I bring oldness. Other than that I’d say I bring a lot of thought. I like to think about the different options that words give us.

I guess the best example of a word that says a thousand thoughts is dude. How many ways can you say dude and get a completely different meaning? It’s like that.

 I love to find the character’s voice by the meaning behind the words. And I bring a very dry sense of humor. One of these days, the rest of the cast will see it!

Barbara on acceptance…

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

 Now that’s acceptance. When we can be who we are, meld with those around us and make beautiful music together.  Have a Coca-Cola on me, baby. 

Published in: on February 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scott Miller plays Feeb Esposito

Once upon a time, a self-conscious young man was getting ready to drive a pretty young lady home after dinner and a movie.  It was the dead of winter and it was snowing those huge fluffy flakes that coat the sky in a golden glow and seem to take a lifetime to finally touch the ground. 


The two had gone on a few dates, but were still quite shy towards each other and neither knew what the future held.  The young man noticed a large mound of snow and quickly dug his hand into it and flung a ball of it at the girl. 


She was shocked but amused and went to retaliate, but the young man grabbed her arm and the two gently grappled until they lost their balance and fell into the snow bank, inadvertently in each other’s arms. 


Time stopped as they lay there in the snow and the giant flakes seemed to hover right above them.  They were laughing, but eventually the laughter faded and they just looked each other in the eyes.  They then kissed, because nothing else made sense to do.


That young man was me, and that is one of those memories that I can picture in my head like it just happened yesterday.  It was a perfect moment.  It’s moments like these that we all hold onto in our hearts and our minds for our entire lives, because in these moments nothing matters but the moment itself.  We live for these moments.

This is romance.  In a way, we are all romantics, whether we admit it or not.  We all have experienced events that we exaggerate in our minds to grant more worth to the memory.  Often, without realizing it, we strive to create these types of events,  driven by the hope to experience something magical.

I am very excited to be part of Italian Lights, Not Stars.  It’s great to be part of a show that explores positive characteristics of humanity.  Romance being one of many.

Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Why I tell the stories I do…

There a lot of people in my world who keep expecting my next piece to be an edgy – hip play that pushes the boundaries and has lots of cool swear words and images. That isn’t going to happen. I just ain’t edgy.


People figure since I’m a blue collar dude from Chicago, I should be cranking out Mametian work rife with angst and f-bombs. There really is no reason to – Mamet already does it and very few do it better.


I try to tell stories that create a world that I would want to live in or at the very least control in some way or another. In some cases I want to recreate a moment so I can go back and fix what was broken for me – or for someone I love – in that moment. Sometimes I go back to pay tribute to the people or the event – or both. Sometimes I just want to go back because things were simpler in the 20th century.


My father used to take me to movies that were way over my head when I was a little kid and afterward we would go to the Majestic restaurant and get a cup of sherbet and he would patiently explain it to me. This created a passion for creating art that could be shared with a family across generations.


My mother and I used to write (terrible) pop songs. We pulled every cliché out of the book and arranged them with a forced rhyme scheme which I then typed up on her Princess Electra typewriter. Even the melodies we banged out on that old Sear guitar were predictable – but what a time we had. This created a passion to develop art with someone I love.


I tell the stories I tell because they are mine. They are my moments. They are my memories. I only hope I strike some universal chord with them and inspire someone else to mine their history for their won stories to share.  Thank you…

Published in: on February 4, 2008 at 9:01 pm  Comments (1)