By all rights, Walcott-area native Sunshine Woolison Ramsey and her sultry singing voice should be cranking out CDs somewhere, perhaps in a Nashville recording studio.
But Nashville’s loss is the Quad-Cities’ gain.
We get to hear Ramsey perform regularly with her fellow Bootleggers — the singing and dancing waiters and waitresses — in pre-shows at Circa ’21 Dinner Theater. And we’ll soon be treated to her one-woman music show on the Circa stage.
“A Night of Sunshine” is Ramsey’s own cabaret show, and it takes place Thursday, Sept. 23. Doors open at 6, and the show starts at 7. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 the day of the show. Phone (309) 786-7733, extension 2, for more information.
Ramsey has been a Circa Bootlegger for eight years.
“I love it,” she says. In the Bootlegger pre-shows, which precede all the theater’s plays, “I get my 15 minutes of fame.”
Circa ’21 producer Denny Hitchcock must recognize talent when he sees it. Ramsey says her cabaret show was his idea.
The show, which will have two acts, 45- and 30-minutes, respectively, features a variety of music.
“I sing ‘Purple Rain’ from Prince and ‘Heartbreaker’ from Pat Benatar,” Ramsey says. “I do the old, old country like Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand by your Man.’ And I do new stuff by Reba McEntire and Martina McBride. Then I even throw a little Janis Joplin in there.”
Ramsey will be accompanied by a seven-piece band. And if you’re a regular customer at Circa, she says you’ll recognize its musicians. Ramsey says the band members are Circa Bootleggers and actors.
“Pretty much everyone in my band has been on the Circa stage,” she says.
Thanks to a karaoke contest, some aspiring young singers also will be on the Circa stage Sept. 23, doing solo performances during “A Night of Sunshine.” Circa’s Speakeasy is hosting a kids’ karaoke contest on Aug. 14, 21 and 22.
There are two age categories, 8-12 and 13-17. In addition to performing during the cabaret show, the winners will receive $50 and a trophy. Details and a song list are available at circa21.com. There is a $10 registration fee, and all contestants must register in advance.
As for Sunshine Woolison Ramsey, if you look up the word “busy” in the dictionary, you just might see her picture.
If addition to her demanding Bootlegger job and preparing for the cabaret show, Ramsey and her husband, Jeff, have a 3-year-old son, Carter.
She also operates a Rock Island dance studio, Sunshine’s Performing Arts Studio.
“It’s going very well, although I could always use more students,” she says of the business. “It’s kind of nice. I used to be the big performer and travel and do stuff, and now I’m teaching the kids to do what I used to do.”
How does Ramsey get all her work done every day?
“I don’t know,” she says matter-of-factly. “Super woman,” she adds with a laugh.
Copyright 2010, by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in “The North Scott Press,” Eldridge, Iowa.