Lou Carlozo

Lou Carlozo is award-winning journalist who spent 20 years reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chicago Tribune. He began writing for Fra Noi in 2007, and claims maternal and paternal southern Italian lineage. The monthly Lou&A columnist and a music reviewer/writer, his work has appeared in Reuters, Aol, The Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and news outlets around the world. In 1993, he was a Pulitzer Prize team-reporting finalist for his contributions to the Tribune’s “Killing Our Children” series. He resides in Chicago with his wife of 21 years, a hospital chaplain, and their teenage son and daughter.

Television producer Elysabeth Alfano

As a Chicago native with a lifelong interest in the arts, Elysabeth Alfano has seemingly done it all: She’s run a glass art gallery and an accessories design company; she’s taught “Marketing on a Shoestring” at Columbia College; and she turned her TV show idea into the reality that is “Fear No ART Chicago,” which airs on WTTW Ch. 11. To say Alfano conjured the show from the ether wouldn’t be an exaggeration. The journey involved lots of cold calling to television networks; even when WTTW gave a green light, they couldn’t offer any funding. So Alfano aggressively courted her …

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Record producer Jim Tullio

While most dads in the late 1950s ranted and raved against rock ‘n’ roll, Jim Tullio had the unique situation of living under the roof of an accomplished jazz drummer. So when Tullio and his older brother came home with records by Elvis, Bill Haley and Buddy Holly, their old man Nicholas responded like a card sharp upping the ante. “My dad bought a record, put it down on the table and said, ‘This is what all these guys are trying to do,'” Tullio recalls. “It was by Little Willie John, the guy who wrote ‘Fever.’ Back then it was …

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Artist Esther Roby

Some kids get picked to decorate the hallways of their school with murals. Then there’s Esther Roby, who designed an intricate tile mosaic for her school in Rome during her formative years. No juvenile trifle this: Roby’s “Venere of Botticelli” still stands stands to this day as a testament to this native ItalianÍs artistic passion. “It was amazing growing up in Rome,” says Roby, 55, who now calls Geneva, Ill., home. “Rome is a magical town with so much energy, history and delicious food. And loving the arts, I was able to go see the most incredible masterpieces from renowned …

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Improv standout Michael Guido

You might expect that after graduating the University of Chicago this past spring, Michael Guido would put his high-powered B.A. in Biology to work on the job front. And while that’s still a distinct possibility, Guido distinguished himself at the U. of C. as a top comic talent in the Off-Off Campus improv group, a forerunner of the famed Second City. Given his academic track, no one could’ve imagined the younger Michael turning into a comedy talent, as he discovered improv as an incoming freshman. “I first tried out my second day in college,” the younger Guido recalls. “I’ve always …

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Musical Director Michael Teolis

When you head a vocal ensemble that bears your name, the responsibility to keep the musical selection and performances fresh and engaging takes on added significance. But for Michael Teolis, leading the 30-member Michael Teolis Singers is a labor of joy — one with clear connections to his Italian upbringing. Teolis, 60, traces his Neapolitan roots on his father’s side to a small village near San Clemente called Campo Galluccio in the province of Caserta. (His mother is of Polish, Scotch, English and Irish heritage.) And he recalls growing up with his paternal grandmother, who’d sing in Italian around the …

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Contrabassonist Susan Nigro

Susan Nigro calls herself a “contrabassoon crusader,” and the handle certainly fits this native South Side Chicagoan, who not only plays the instrument, but also gives lectures, demonstrations and workshops on it. She even commissions and performs new works for the woodwind, which dates to the 18th Century, but sounds modern and relevant in Nigro’s capable hands. “My goal has been to bring this often-neglected instrument out into the limelight as a soloist, so the general public can hear and appreciate its unique and fascinating musical qualities,” Nigro says. In fact, her work spans seven CDs, in addition to a …

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Costume designer Mark Mariani

The theater world has many unsung heroes: folks such as Mark Mariani who work behind the scenes to make plays look great. A Philadelphia-based costume designer, Mariani designed the costumes for “Freud’s Last Session,” playing at the Mercury Theater, where it made its Midwest premiere in March and runs through June. Created by playwright Mark St. Germain, “Session” centers on legendary psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud, who invites the rising academic star C. S. Lewis to his home in London. Mariani comes from Abruzzi and Basilicata roots on his father’s side, and Neapolitan roots on his mother’s side — a fact …

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‘Young Frankenstein’ stars Jeff Dumas and Devin DeSantis

Frankenstein is, of course, not an Italian name. But if you want to translate the zany humor of Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein’ to the stage, who better to tackle the task than two actors of Italian lineage? “I’ve loved Mel Brooks since I was a kid,” says Devin DeSantis, who pays the role of Dr. Frankenstein in the stage adaptation running at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace through March 16. “It’s a blast trying to pay homage to such a classic comedy. In addition to the well-crafted jokes and physical humor, there’s an opportunity to tap into the great …

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Playwright and attorney Charles Grippo

The Our Lady of Angels fire of 1958 looms large in Chicago’s collective psyche, right alongside the Great Fire of 1871. The blazed that killed 92 children and two nuns has never been fully explained, though playwright Charles Grippo tackles it his latest work, “When Angels Wept,” running through April 7 at Prop Thtr. “I was in third grade, attending Resurrection school on the West Side, not far from Our Lady of Angels” recalls Grippo, who traces his roots on his father’s side to Basilicata; his mother was Polish. “Our pastor, Monsignor William Gorman, whom I mention in the play, …

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Theater Producer Abbie DeSantis

Like few other producers in the Midwest, Abbie DeSantis can say that she literally grew up in the local theater scene: She’s been closely connected with it since childhood, learning the ropes from her grandfather, Drury Lane Theatre founder Anthony DeSantis. Today, Abbie produces for Drury Lane, working alongside brothers Kyle and Drew. (Cousins Jason and Tom VanLente also serve as producers.) “I love the quote, ‘Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire’ (‘No matter where you go or turn, you will always end up at home,’)” says DeSantis, whose ancestors hail from outside of …

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