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Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo


Best of the North Shore

By The Editors

Portrait Photography By Frank Ishman, Katrina Wittkamp and Rose Yuen


Here, we bring you the North Shore’s cultural warriors, forward thinkers and inspirational designers who continue to enrich our communities with new ventures and ideas.

Ian Barford is starring in Linda Vista, the world-premiere play by Tracy Letts that just opened at Steppenwolf Theatre. But while his 50-year-old character Wheeler’s best days are behind him, 50-year-old Barford is a sought-after and busy actor—happily living in Evanston with his wife, Anna D. Shapiro, and their 7-year-old twins. Barford became an ensemble member at Steppenwolf in 2007, but he has performed in many of the company’s best productions over the last 30 years, including the original staging of August: Osage County, which is also by Letts. Beyond Chicago, he was the dad in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time on Broadway, and regularly gets character roles on television and film projects. But it’s this newest work that will define Barford’s upcoming year. “It’s funny, it’s contemporary, the language is alive and full of Tracy’s razor-sharp wit and humor,” says Barford. “Wheeler is going through a difficult divorce, and some of his decisions are hilarious, and some of them are shocking. He’s so insightful about certain things but so stupid about others.” And beyond loving his character, flaws and all, Barford realizes the incredible place he is in. “It’s a privilege to be part of this company, to do this work, to be able to tell these stories with people of Tracy’s caliber,” he says. “He’s not only a close and dear friend; he’s an artist I greatly respect.” Funny, because audiences are saying the same thing about Barford—an actor it’s a privilege to spend time with—no matter what role he’s playing. Through May 21, tickets $20-$89, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago -Laura Hine