Arlington Heights native Carisa Barreca has never not known what she wanted to do with her life.
"I have been bugging my mom about wanting to do theater since I was in kindergarten," she laughs. "I wanted to do all the theater summer camps. I was really annoying as a child."
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"Sex & The Second City: A Romantic Dot Comedy"Where: Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, (847) 577-2121, metropolisarts.com
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays and 8 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 17; no shows Sept. 1, 2 and 15
Tickets: $28.50, stage tables $33.50
Annoying or not, all her nagging paid off: Barreca is back home in Arlington Heights as one of the stars of "Sex & The Second City: A Romantic Dot Comedy," currently running at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre.
It's fitting since she got her start here. As a budding actor, singer and dancer, Barreca performed in school plays at St. Viator High School.
"I did a lot of musicals and a lot of Shakespeare," Barreca recalls. "I got my first shot as a lead character at St. Viator when the lead for 'Crazy for You' got sick."
After high school, she went to Marquette University, where she studied theater and dance. Then, she moved back to Chicago to study comedy at Second City.
"I had been seeing Second City shows since ..." Barreca pauses, and adds, "well, since an age when I was way too young to be seeing Second City shows."
Since graduating from the Second City's acting conservatory, Barreca has been busy, performing with the musical comedy troupe Cupid Players and in Second City shows on Norwegian Cruise Line ships.
"We performed a 'Best of Second City' show," Barreca says of her cruise experience.
The Second City, Chicago's famed comedy theater, has a treasure trove of archived material -- 51 years worth of sketches. So Barreca got to perform classic sketches while aboard a luxury cruise ship heading to the Bahamas. Ah, the life of an actor.
Now, Barreca stars in and is helping to develop a new show. The result -- "Sex & The Second City: A Romantic Dot Comedy" -- is currently being staged at the Metropolis in what the press materials call "a pre-Chicago run."
"There is a little bit of everything in 'Sex & the Second City,'" Barreca explains. "Some archived material, some original material, and all of it structured so there is a through line.
"The unifying theme of the show is love, in a word," Barreca continues. "How hard it is to find love. And how easy it is to find if you are looking in the right places, which we rarely are."