Anthony Whitcomb- Tom Walljasper
Eddie Lawrence- Brad Hauskins
Barbara DeMarco- Jennifer Poarch
Elanore Von Maur Shubert- Carrie Saloutos
Nick O’Brien- Jeff Haffner
Mike Thomas- Tristan Tapscott
Director- Sean McCall (He also played Anthony Whitcomb in the production of “Shear Madness” at Old Creamery Theater in Amana)
Producer- Dennis Hitchcock (Owner of Circa ‘21)
The play is set in the "Shear Madness" hairstyling salon in Rock Island, Illinois (the city depends on where the play is being presented). Someone has been mysteriously murdered in the salon and the audience gets involved in the action by questioning the suspects, interacting with the characters, and attempting to solve the crime.
The characters include a flamboyant hairdresser (Anthony Whitcomb) and his flirty yet brainless assistant (Barbara DeMarco), along with an uptight older lady (Elanore Von Maur Shubert), and an older man who is a “used antique dealer” (Eddie Lawrence). Most of the dialogue is improvised by the actors, and the jokes told tend to revolve around references to current events.
The ending of this play is different every night as it depends on how the audience hears and sees the clues, questions the suspects, and votes on who they think is guilty.
Tom Walljasper said, “It will be different every night and because the audience is a character in this play, it is definitely the most unique theatrical experience I’ve had.”
Walljasper said the biggest challenge about his role is “imagine having to memorize a play that has multiple endings and then you realize you never know which way the play will go.”
“I admire that Anthony speaks his mind and he loves loves loves to dish gossip…in a fun sort of way...if there is such a thing,” Walljasper said what he loves about his character.
The play's original production was in Germany back in 1963 called “Scherenschnitt.” But in 1978 Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan translated and produced “Shear Madness,” and it has been running here in the U.S. ever since then.
“"Shear Madness" is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running play in the history of the USA,” according to shearmadness.com.
“Over 11.5 million people worldwide have joined in on the fun, and while no one has actually died laughing, some are still rolling in the aisles,” according to shearmadness.com.
Shear Madness opens on March 11, 2016- April 30, 2016. To get your tickets visit www.circa21.com or call (309) 786-7733. The ticket prices are $44.41 for Wednesday matinee (morning show), $50.16 for Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, and student tickets for day or night cost $29.26 (ages 18 and under). All prices include a professional production and a six entree buffet.
“For “Shear Madness the Buffet includes Carved Steamship Pork, Mama's Meatloaf, Honey Lemon Chicken, Parmesan Peppercorn Tilapia, Spinach Artichoke Lasagna, Wild Rice with Balsamic Mushrooms, Roasted Greek Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, and Garden Variety Blend,” according to circa21.com.
“Shear Madness” is the best play Circa ‘21 has done in a long time (10/10 stars), mind you that I have never seen a bad show at Circa ‘21. I could not stop laughing throughout the entire show.
Even though the show was written back in 1978 the hilarious jokes revolve around current events, so a lot of the show is improvised (not the whole show).
My favorite character in “Shear Madness” is Anthony Whitcomb, who is played by Tom Walljasper, a local Quad-City actor, His character brings a lot of the humor to the show with his quick wit and persistent flirting. I highly recommend everyone to go enjoy some “Dinner-tainment” at Circa 21’s presentation of “Shear Madness.”
Remember that the show changes every night, so you'll want to see it again and again.
*Photos courtesy of Circa ‘21*