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Barrowman, John (b. 1967)  
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Accomplished actor and singer John Barrowman has won plaudits as a musical theater star, as well as for his roles in film and television. He is especially known for his extremely skillful interpretations of the works of Cole Porter, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Stephen Sondheim.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Barrowman was born on March 11, 1967. He spent much of his youth in Aurora, Illinois after his father, employed by the Caterpillar construction equipment company, was transferred to the United States.

Barrowman first became captivated by theater when he saw Peter Pan (book by James M. Barrie, music by Moose Charlap and Jule Styne, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green) as a small child in Glasgow. His initial acting experience came in a high school play, but he was planning to study to become a teacher. Before he entered college, however, he attended a production of Michael Bennett's Dreamgirls (book and lyrics by Tom Eyen, music by Henry Krieger) with his mother, who commented afterward that she believed that a career in theater was what he really wanted. Barrowman acknowledged that it was true, and the die was cast.

He enrolled in the musical theater program at United States International University in San Diego, California. During the summers after his first and second years at college, he sang and acted in shows at the Nashville theme park Opryland USA.

In 1989 he went to London on a study-abroad program to train in the works of Shakespeare, but when he won a role in a West End production of Cole Porter's Anything Goes (book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, and Russel Crouse), starring opposite Elaine Paige, he had the break that launched his career.

Barrowman remained in England, performing in many musicals, including the London productions of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's Miss Saigon (book by Schönberg and Boublil, music by Schönberg, lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr.), Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera (book and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Hart, music by Lloyd Webber), the twenty-fifth anniversary revival of Galt MacDermot's Hair (book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, music by MacDermot), Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, music by Lloyd Webber), and the 2004 revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's Chicago (book by Ebb and Bob Fosse; lyrics by Ebb; music by Kander). He also appeared in an Oslo production of Lloyd Webber's Evita (book and lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Lloyd Webber).

Even as he became an established star in the West End, he worked on two BBC children's television programs, Live & Kicking and Electric Circus. He also hosted The Movie Game and a magazine show, 5's Company, on British television.

Producers from CBS television who saw Barrowman in the London production of Sunset Boulevard brought the handsome young actor back to the United States in 1995 to appear in a series called Central Park West, which was soon canceled. While Barrowman was in New York for filming, however, he made his Broadway debut in Sunset Boulevard.

Barrowman appeared in another American television show, Titans, a prime-time soap opera that had only a short run in 2000.

He focused his energy on stage work, both in Britain and the United States, with great success. He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in The Fix (book and lyrics by John Dempsey, music by Dana P. Rowe) in 1997 and won a Backstage West Garland Award in 1998 for his work in the Los Angeles production of the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together.

He also scored in Trevor Nunn's 2002-2003 revival of Anything Goes at the National Theatre, where he reprised the role of Billy Crocker in which he had made his West End debut in 1989. Nunn also directed Barrowman's Shakespearean debut as Dumaine in Love's Labor's Lost, which played in repertory with Anything Goes.

Barrowman has also performed in numerous concerts and revues and cabaret evenings. He is especially known for his interpretations of Sondheim. Not only did he star with Carol Burnett and Bronson Pinchot in the Los Angeles and Broadway productions of Putting It Together, but he also participated in the Sondheim celebrations in 2002 at both Lincoln Center in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. He starred in the Kennedy Center production of Sondheim's Company, and also gave a memorable concert at Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

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John Barrowman. Photograph by Steve Barry.
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