Reviews

"In John Payonk’s genial performance, the aging butcher Lazar Wolf becomes a sympathetic widower looking for love." 

~ Sylviane Gold, The New York Times

"My heart is so full of admiration for John Payonk. Last week he rescued The Most Happy Fella at the Goodspeed Opera House. Bill Nolte, who usually plays Tony, fell ill and couldn't finish his Wednesday evening performance. Payonk went on for Act Two. Nolte still wasn't well enough for the Thursday matinee, which I caught. So I'd be seeing Payonk's first full performance only 15 hours after his rescue operation. He was letter-perfect, not to mention note-perfect and blocking-perfect, too. When Payonk performed "Mamma, Mamma" - which ends with quite a long-held note-the audience was so impressed that it couldn't wait for him to finish, but had to applaud while he still had a measure or so to go. Here's another instance when Payonk shone. Some weeks ago I mentioned the difficulty an actor encounters when he must just sit on stage and watch another performer do a solo. During "Joey, Joey, Joey", Payonk let us see the inner working of Tony's mind as he hatched his plan to send Joe's picture." ~ Peter Filichia, Filichia Features on MTI

"There is however, one character in this show that is absolutely superb. John Payonk, I firmly believe, was placed on this earth to play the role of Tevye! The voice, the look, the compassion, the impeccable timing, and did I mention his amazing acting ability? He has it all!It is worth every minute of the rather lengthy shoow, just to see his performance alone. In my opinion, the qualities this man possesses, are unsurpassed by anyone who may endeavor to play this role. I can't fathom someone being a better Tevye, he is that good!" ~ Carl Rifenburgh, The Daily Reporter 

"...and that sensational baritone John Payonk provides an outstanding, honest interpretation of Mr. Potter. (Ironically, he's the show's most likable presence, and the only actor who, as A Wonderful Life's years pass, believably ages." ~ Mike Schultz, River Cities Reader



"Among the singers, the greatest accolades must go to baritone John Payonk as Rigoletto. Payonk has sung impressively in the past in Pamiro productions, but he was at top form this night. His resonant baritone yielded consistently pleasing musical results, and his stage presence was absolutely riveting." ~ Terence O'Grady, Green Bay Press-Gazette




"John Payonk (Don Pasquale) struck a wonderful balance between lovable and fatuous in the title role, which he sang very well."  ~ John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune




"Mr. Payonk --is a dominating presence, with his huge frame and massive voice, and a terrific, dry sense of humor in the drag part. His deep baritone, also acclaimed in opera, will be going from here to Michigan to sing the title role in "Rigoletto"; listen for a taste at the end of the Hairspray Big Doll House number." ~ Jonathan Turner, The Dispatch-Rock Island Argus


 


"John Payonk was brilliant as Tevye. He gave the milkman a quiet elegance, a fresh beautifully powerful voice and an energy seldom seen in those who portray Tevye. His sparkling eyes and wide smile instantly won our hearts. His “If I Were A Rich Man” was breathtaking. His overwhelming presence and booming voice and his acute timing gave Tevye depth and humanity. Payonk gave new life to the tired father. He was a fine Tevye whose operatic voice delivered his songs with gusto." ~ Tom Williams, Chicagocritics.com