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items tagged with Tom Walljasper

"Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects on Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2014-07-02 12:00:00

Lauren VanSpeybroeck, courtesy of Nick West PhotographyAs with many things in life, it can be blamed on a friendly purple dinosaur.

“I used to be obsessed with Barney,” says area actor Lauren VanSpeybroeck of her pre-school interest in performing. “I always used to pretend I was on Barney [& Friends], so I guess that’s where it started. And then I would see, say, The Wizard of Oz or something, and for that week, I would be Dorothy Gale from Kansas. My mom would take me to the grocery store and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re so cute – what’s your name?’ ‘Dorothy Gale from Kansas.’

“That,” says VanSpeybroeck with a laugh, “was probably when my mom was like, ‘Hmmm ... maybe she wants to play characters ... ?’”


Read More About "Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects On Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career...


Oh Boy: "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 8
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-01-20 12:00:00

James Fairchild, Dalen Gunn, and Collin O'Connor in Buddy: The Buddy Holly StoryFriday’s performance of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse left me wanting more – specifically, more of Kiarri Andrews’ and Nina Waters’ Apollo singers and Collin O’Connor’s Ritchie Valens. Andrews and Waters brought some much-needed energy to the first act, adding attention-worthy moxie and a whole lot of fun to their one scene. (Waters' character also sparkles, literally, with the help of costume designer Gregory Hiatt’s gorgeous pink column gown with watteau train.) Meanwhile, O’Connor, with his suave demeanor and smooth pelvic gyrations, whet my appetite for a Ritchie Valens musical, if for no other reason than to see the actor enjoy more stage moments as the singer.


Read More About Oh Boy: "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through March 8...


All I Want for Christmas Are Two Front-Row Seats: "A Christmas Story: The Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through January 4
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-11-11 12:02:00

Ben Klocke (center) and ensemble members in A Christmas Story: The MusicalThere's magic in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's A Christmas Story: The Musical, most notably in the fantasy sequences and any scene involving the children's chorus. Adapted from the much-loved 1983 movie, this stage musical is familiar without being an exact copy, making it a fresh take on the holiday-tradition entertainment. Plus, the musical numbers, by composers and lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, add a lot of fun to an already laugh-worthy tale.


Read More About All I Want For Christmas Are Two Front-Row Seats: "A Christmas Story: The Musical," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through January 4...


Parent 'Hood: "Things My Mother Taught Me," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through November 2
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-09-30 12:00:00

Daniel Crary and Cara Chumbley in Things My Mother Taught MeThe Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s Things My Mother Taught Me, which is about a young New York couple moving into a new apartment in Chicago, is one of those plays that requires patience, as the first half of the first act takes a while to get on its feet and bring in the humor. While Brad Hauskins’ Polish building superintendent Max elicited hearty laughs during Friday's performance through the actor's adept comic delivery and (eventually overused) “Uh-oh”s, not much else, early on, was all that effectively funny. Until, that is, the parents of the cohabitating Olivia and Gabe arrived, at which point it was clear that director Warner Crocker’s pacing for the rest of the show was going to be remarkable, and the comedic chaos amplified by the play's four parents fussing over their children.


Read More About Parent 'Hood: "Things My Mother Taught Me," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through November 2...


Depression? What Depression?: "Southern Crossroads," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through September 21
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-08-19 12:01:00

 Brad Hauskins, Tom Walljasper, Rachelle Walljasper, Lora Adams, Andrew Crowe, and Jody Alan Lee in Southern CrossroadsWith its charm, high spirits, optimism, and infectiously fun tunes selected and arranged by Steve Przybylski, there’s a wonderful specialness to playwright Warner Crocker’s Southern Crossroads. And in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's current production of the show, what's particularly special about what is already a good musical has a lot to do with director Curt Wollan’s cast members, who have an apparent love for the material and exude a palpable enjoyment in their performance of it. This piece transcends traditional musical theatre in a way that’s all too rare, pulling in its audience through a spell of song and hope.


Read More About Depression? What Depression?: "Southern Crossroads," At The Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse Through September 21...





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