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items tagged with John Payonk

Phan-tastic: "Phantom," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 5
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2016-01-19 12:00:00

Patrick Beasley and Emily Stokes in PhantomLet’s get this out of the way: In case you're attending to specifically hear “Music of the Night” or other well-known tunes, the current production of the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Phantom is not Andrew Lloyd Webber's more famous version of the same story. Comparing Phantom to Webber's The Phantom of the Opera is like comparing a croissant to an éclair. Both are French, textured, and rich with flavor, but also two totally different experiences.
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By George, I Think They've Got It: "A Wonderful Life," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 27
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2015-11-17 12:02:00

Don Denton and Sara Tubbs in A Wonderful LifeI must confess: When I first saw the Jimmy Stewart film It’s a Wonderful Life on TV in the early 1980s, I was not a fan. Was I, I wondered, the only person on the planet who thought the story overly sentimental and a bit of a melodramatic mess? As I was to learn, I was not, for when the film was first released in 1946, some considered it a disappointing addition to director Frank Capra’s oeuvre. Although I have begrudgingly come to accept the movie on its own terms over the years, it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to see the November 12 preview of the musical production A Wonderful Life at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse. Would this, my first published review, be my “outing” as a Scrooge?


Read More About By George, I Think They've Got It: "A Wonderful Life," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through December 27...


Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Santa?: "Miracle on 34th Street," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 30
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-11-12 12:03:00

Grace Moore, Laila Haley, John Payonk, Katie Casel, and Krianna Walljasper in Miracle on 34th StreetThe Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse opened its presentation of Miracle on 34th Street on Friday, and if you’re familiar with the 1947 film classic this musical version is based on, you should know that Laila Haley, who portrays Susan Walker, isn’t on a par with the movie’s Natalie Wood. She’s actually so much better than Wood that it’s not even funny.


Read More About Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Santa?: "Miracle On 34th Street," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through December 30...


Pretty Awesome in Pink: "Legally Blonde: The Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through July 28
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-06-18 12:01:01

Sara King and Samantha Pauly in Legally Blonde: The MusicalSpeaking with producer Dennis Hitchcock prior to Friday's Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse performance, my partner thanked him for staging Legally Blonde: The Musical. And while I understand that many of Circa '21's patrons love their Church Basement Ladies, I share my partner's gratitude for the opportunity to see a bona-fide Broadway hit gracing Circa's stage. Having seen the production, I also appreciate how well director Jim Hesselman handled the material, playing up the bubbly, colorful fun of this stage version of the Reese Witherspoon movie.


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Aerosoul: "Hairspray," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through August 13
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-06-20 12:04:00

Tom Walljasper, Kristin Gilbert, and John Payonk in HairsprayThe Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s Hairspray lacks polish from what seems to be, in the chorus roles, a fairly green cast. Yet even though that softens the strength of the production, it doesn’t seem to diminish any of the fun. I had an incredibly good time watching Saturday night’s performance, and while the entire show isn’t quite worth the standing ovation it received, the final song, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” does deserve that special accolade intended for exceptional performances.


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