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Everyone could use a little Sunshine in January

sunshine ramseyEveryone could use a little sunshine in January. And you’ll find lots of it at Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island.

Walcott-area native Sunshine (Woolison) Ramsey returns with another cabaret-style show, “A Night of Sunshine,” on Saturday, Jan. 3, and Friday, Jan. 9.

In 2010, Circa ’21 producer Denny Hitchcock came up with the idea for a show headlined by Sunshine and featuring a live band and a variety of music. His idea was no surprise to anyone who has heard Sunshine’s powerful pipes. She can really belt out a song.

“A Night of Sunshine” has been a hit from the beginning. This is the second year for two performances of it. The second performance was added because prior years’ shows were sellouts.

Doors open at 6 both nights, and the music begins at 7. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. They sell quickly. Phone (309) 786-7733, extension 2, for reservations.

Sandwiches and appetizers will be available for purchase, as will drinks from Circa’s bar.

Sunshine has been a member of Circa’s singing wait staff, known as the Bootleggers, since May of 2002. In addition to waiting tables, the Bootleggers perform a musical pre-show prior to each play performance.

Sunshine is no stranger to performing. Her resume includes recording songs in Nashville, and she has appeared on stage in more than half a dozen Circa productions.

By all rights, Sunshine and her sultry singing voice should be cranking out songs somewhere on tour or recording them in Nashville.

But as I wrote in 2010 prior to the first “A Night of Sunshine,” Nashville’s loss is the Quad-Cities’ gain.

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I’ll admit it – my hearing isn’t what it used to be.

That was evident recently when I was having breakfast with a group of fellow broadcast media retirees. One woman in the group was talking about her pet dog. She said that particular breed, a Basenji, doesn’t bark.

I misunderstood what she said.

“Did you say your dog doesn’t fart?” I asked in all seriousness.

The group erupted in laughter.

Copyright 2014 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This ran as a column in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Get ready for a night of Sunshine

Sunshine Woolison Ramsey

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.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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