Most Valuable Players

A Guide to Austin Stage Actors

Barbara Chisholm in <i>Abundance</i>
Barbara Chisholm in Abundance

Barbara Chisholm

On the scene since: 1985

MVP for: Zachary Scott Theatre Center

Recent roles: Annie, Misery, Zach, 2001; Gertrude, Hamlet, Austin Shakespeare Festival, 2001; Mrs. Sowerberry, Oliver!, Austin Musical Theatre, 2001; Macon, Abundance, Zach/Athena Dramatics, 2000; Olivia/Fabian, Twelfth Night, Sneck Up!/Vortex Repertory Co., 1999; Ethel, Nantasket, UT Dept. of Theatre & Dance, 1999; Boo Levy, Last Night of Ballyhoo, Zach, 1998; Marilyn, David's Redhaired Death, Frontera, 1997; Lita Encore, Ruthless! The Musical, Zach, 1997.

Honors: Payne nomination, Abundance; Critics Table & Payne nominations, Twelfth Night; Critics Table award & Payne nominations, Nantasket; Critics Table nomination, David's Redhaired Death; Payne nomination, Ruthless!.

An actor who might just be a living synonym for the term "stage presence," and not only because she's tall and striking and can belt out a tune. Chisholm (Chronicle Community Listings editor, Food writer, and spouse of Arts Editor Robert Faires) has an uncommon liveliness about her, an ebullience, a zest, a sparkle, that gives her theatrical characters a dynamic energy -- as witness her exuberantly optimistic mail-order bride in Abundance or her girlishly effervescent Olivia in Twelfth Night. Chisholm moves easily from drama to comedy and even to musicals, from Shakespeare to Simon, with nothing lost in the translation. Her bold talent and skills are equal to most any role, bringing to life both the mousily meek and the menacingly maniacal, sometimes in the very same character -- as with the deranged nurse Annie in the American theatrical premiere of Stephen King's Misery.

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