Mostly Credited As: John Barrowman
Birth Name: John Scot Barrowman
Date Of Birth: March 11, 1967 (Age 48)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Mount Vernon, Glasgow, Scotland
Height: 6' (1.82 m)
John Barrowman, born March 11th, began his stage career during his formative years in his native Scotland. Taking center stage, he would stand on the counter at his mother's record shop in Glasgow, singing songs from the current TOP TEN. At home, his mother says, "He would sing kids songs and use a baking spoon as a microphone." Thus a star was born. But the roar of the crowd and the smell of the greasepaint was still away off for young John.
John at home in Glasgow; about 4 or 5 years old. He says the thing that looks like an egg cup here was often his "microphone".
Clan Barrowman was relocated by Caterpillar Inc. from Glasgow to Aurora, Illinois when John was 8. Now, despite crooning into mom's baking spoon and wowing them down at the record store, it wasn't until John's teenage years that the acting bug finally bit. It was at Joliet West High and at the Joliet Drama Guild, under the combined influence of supportive teachers, parents and a principal role as Barnaby in HELLO DOLLY during his freshman year (which spurred a bit of an uproar amongst the upperclassmen), that John finally began to hear his calling. He continued to perform throughout his high school years. With graduation looming his guidance counselor asked what he wanted to do with his life, John replied, "I want to go into the arts." The counselor said, "O.K., but what do you want to do to fall back on?" John replied, " If I have to have something to fall on, it will have to be my ass."
After High School in the summer of his Freshman year and Sophomore year at college John performed at the Opryland USA a musical Theme Park in Nashville Tennessee. It was here John learned the value of interacting and being accessible to his audience, something that has stood him in good stead throughout his life and career.
While working at Opryland, John was offered another theme park performance job with Disney. John however had other plans for himself and turned them down. The Disney representative told him, "You know. Most of the people who turn us down end up doing something really BIG. I'm sure we'll see your name in the future." John is a graduate of the United States International University in California. It was through USIU, John had the opportunity to return to the UK and study Shakespeare at a London University.
It was during his studies abroad John's big break came in the form of an open casting call. A young man who could sing and act and also do an American accent was needed to play opposite one of London's premiere theater stars, Elaine Paige in Cole Porter's ANYTHING GOES.
Shortly after the run began, John received a letter from that DISNEY representative. He wrote to say, "I told you so. The people who know what they want are always the ones we lose." (On a slightly ironic side note, several years later, John WOULD work for DISNEY but this time on his terms...as the Beast in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in London's West End.)
What started out as a six month study abroad, turned into a theatre career that hasn't stopped yet. From ANYTHING GOES, John landed roles such as Chris in MISS SAIGON, the title role in MATADOR opposite Stephanie Powers, Raoul in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, RED RED ROSE, Claude in the 25th anniversary revival of HAIR, Che in Oslo's production of EVITA, Alex in an Irish production of ASPECTS OF LOVE and SUNSET BOULEVARD opposite successively, Betty Buckley and his guardian angel, Elaine Paige.
While performing in the evening on the West End Stage, John also worked for the BBC "telly" as a presenter on such shows as LIVE & KICKING and ELECTRIC CIRCUS, as well as host of THE MOVIE GAME and 5's Company, a weekday magazine show.
It wasn't long before John's talent and good looks caught the attention of American TV producers,(a niece of one of them had a poster of John above her bed), they caught John in SUNSET BOULEVARD and flew him back to the States where they introduced him to American audiences in the Daren Star CBS television Series, CENTRAL PARK WEST. To come full circle, it was while John was filming CPW in New York, that he made his Broadway debut. Pulling double duty between shooting CPW and helping Betty Buckley, get ready for her close up, he once more stepped back into the shoes of the character of Joe Gillis in the Broadway production of SUNSET BOULEVARD. A few years later, John would also return to American Television this time for Aarron Spelling as Peter Williams in NBC's short lived prime time soap TITANS.
A blending of his cultures Scottish dress..American food.
John returned to the UK stage and earned a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for BEST ACTOR for his portrayal of Cal Chandler in the Donmar Warehouse's production of THE FIX. And back on the US stage, John received a BACKSTAGE WEST GARLAND AWARD for the Sondheim review, PUTTING IT TOGETHER, with Carol Burnett at Los Angeles's, Mark Taper Forum. (John reprised his role when the show transferred to Broadway in 1999.)
In addition to his stage and television work, John has also broadcast in concert for the BBC in THE MAGIC OF MUSICALS, from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. NATIONAL MUSIC DAY with Betty Buckley and a concert version of CALL ME MADAM with Tyne Daly. John's recordings include cast albums for HAIR, GODSPELL and THE FIX. Selections from MATADOR, RED RED ROSE and GREASE, as well as THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER. John's first solo CD, a six track mini CD is JOHN BARROWMAN: ASPECTS OF LLOYD WEBBER. A full length solo CD, released in 2000 is entitled JOHN BARROWMAN: REFLECTIONS FROM BROADWAY, and spans songs from all the various shows John has done in addition to a few special tracks. In 2004, John released his third solo cd, JOHN BARROWMAN SWINGS COLE PORTER, a collection of Cole Porter songs on First Night Records. Fans eagerly await more recordings.
John is also a member of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, an organization dedicated to promoting outstanding achievements in young people.
He recently returned to his roots to lead a theatre workshop for Joliet West High school, students hoping to pursue a career on stage. The Dreamers Workshops, open to all high school students, came into being partly due to Oprah Winfrey, "I watched a show about people giving back what they have learned in their life and giving it back to other people," John says. "I always wanted to come back to Joliet and do something after having some success in my career. I was given my greatest introduction to music and theater from Joliet West High School. It kills me today that high schools are cutting back on their arts programs," he says, for without them he wouldn't be doing royal command performances on the West End for the Royal Family and their invited guests or having Stephen Sondheim ask him to play opposite Carol Burnett.