Peter Pan at Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse in Rock Island, IL


I just lit Peter Pan at the reknowned Circa 21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island, IL with the owner/producer Denny Hitchcock, director/choreographer Jim Hesselman, costumer designer Greg Hiatt, scenic designer/paint charge Susie Holgersson, and sound designer Ray Malone.  Joel Gelpe is the music director, and Matt Carney worked his hind end off tenfold as my chief electrician.  Starla Williams corralled us all for the project (she’s head of operations) and bought lunch and dinner way too many times.

This was an experience I will not soon forget – all good moments, a lot of work (a lot of work), and a collective amount of about 22 hours sleep in over a week.  The theatre is unbelievably amazing and proud in all of its restored beauty – and along with a team of professionals that wanted to be there, I experienced an epiphany of art and collaboration that just happened one night during a rehearsal.  Everything came together in one of those magic moments we all hope for in our art, and it was exactly what I needed before my year-long journey in Sweden.  I wouldn’t trade out one older Altman 360Q, 65Q fresnel, R40 striplight, or Mole-Richardson 2.4K ERF for anything in this production.

Circa 21’s food is good, the wait staff performs before the show, and the theatre is mind-blowingly beautiful.  If you’re within travel distance of Rock Island, IL, go support these folks.  We’ve been getting great press – check out a review of the show from Mike Schulz at the River Cities’ Reader.

The theatre is amazing – have I mentioned that yet?  My first order of business when I arrived onsite was to figure out how to dedicate several of my limited supply of dimmers to lighting the inside of the venue.  Check out a few pics and a video:

circa 21

circa 21

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  1. Jim, that is pretty cool! I loved the movie and to see the lights setup was pretty impressive. I must admit that out of ignorance, I’d never thought of stage lighting — or light in general to be a profession. Once you think about the layman’s views of the complexities, it’s pretty impressive!

    • really? I’ve been doing it my whole adult life. I can’t imagine NOT designing lighting as a career! 🙂

  2. Oh Jeff, come on take it like a man! LOL We all know you did an amazing job. Jim, har en bra tid i Sverige. Thank you for all the work and creation you did for the show. Looking forward to working with you again. And a double thanks for the BEAUTIFUL scenic brushes. 🙂

  3. Interested in:

    Church Basement Ladies, A Second Helping.

    Saw the first at your theater via a bus tour. Wonderful!

    Would be interested in making trip on my own. Any info you might provide would be appreciated.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Sis Running
    Janesville, WI

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