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Carisa Barreca — Second City’s sweetheart

By Kiley Peters, Comm ’08

Carisa Barreca, Comm ’02, earns lots of laughs as an actor at Chicago’s Second City e.t.c. Stage. She is appearing now in A Clown Car Named Desire. At the end of every show, before the bow, Barreca reminds herself: “You’re lucky and you’re living your dream.”

But don't for a minute think Barreca waited for a lucky strike. “Carisa has never sat back and waited for good things to come to her — she makes them happen her own say,” says Debra Krajec, artistic director and artistic associate professor in Marquette’s Theatre Arts Program.

From co-founding Matter Dance Co., an improvised dance company, with fellow alumna Gail Adduci Gogliotti, Comm ’02, to independently putting up dozens of comedy shows over the years, Barreca never stops. “Do everything and get good at everything because you’re going to need all of it,” she says.

There is no “average week” in the life of a Second City e.t.c. actor. They perform six shows Thursday through Sunday. Barreca’s weekend is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Want to know Barreca better? Here are some things she shared with Marquette Magazine.

• When she’s not working, she’s probably nerding out. Her favorite television show is Doctor Who. She loves Lord of the Rings and is a self-proclaimed “nerd-culture junkie.”

• She is notorious for her sweet tooth. She tries to bring baked goods for the cast once a week, has a candy stash backstage and sets out a giant vase of community Tootsie Pops to share.

• She keeps a toy owl named Hootbert in her lock. Hootbert travels with her to every Second City gig.

• She loves Walgreens and walks the aisles for up to 45 minutes sometimes — just browsing.

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