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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert- Mercury Theatre Chicago

"Ayana Strutz does a number that is worth the price of the ticket- she is sensational."

Alan Bresloff (Around The Town Chicago)

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert- Mercury Theatre Chicago

"I will never forget the performance of Ayana Strutz as Cynthia, an entertainer with special skills. Strutz is hilarious and nearly steals the show with some athletic moves, comic lines, and juggling. You may not be able to look at a ping pong ball as just a ball again." - Kathy D. Hey (Third Coast Review)

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert- Mercury Theatre Chicago

"Ayana Strutz, a phenomenal dancer-acrobat- brings the house down." - Hedy Weiss (WTTW News)

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert- Mercury Theatre Chicago

"Highly Recommended- Ayana Strutz is terrific in the ensemble, but simply unbelievable as rubber-limbed Cynthia, Bob’s flaming and flashy wife, who demonstrates her special trick while dancing and entertaining in the local bar. She makes the 1979 hit, Pop Muzik” take on a whole new meaning."

- Colin Douglas (Chicago Theatre Review)

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert- Mercury Theatre Chicago

" And nod out to showstopper Ayana Strutz for her fierce “Pop Muzik”. Splits, cartwheels, ping pong balls… her physicality is unforgettable!" - The Fourth Walsh

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The King and I - Drury Lane Theatre

"Highly Recommended- Everything about this sublime production deserves a standing ovation.. in the musical’s balletic showpiece, “The Small House of Uncle Thomas.” narrated by Tuptim, and uniquely introduced with marionette puppets, much credit must go to the show’s exquisitely talented dancers."

- Colin Douglas (Chicago Theatre Review)

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Holiday Inn- Drury Lane Theatre

"Highly Recommended- The Drury Lane cast is stellar. This old-fashioned musical features a few topnotch leading actors, but relies heavily on a chorus of gifted, graceful triple-threats. This multitalented ensemble, who seem to effortlessly sing, dance and turn into new characters at the drop of a hat, is alone worth the price of admission." - Colin Douglas (Chicago Theatre Review)

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The SpongeBob Musical- First National Tour

"A sea of joy!... Director Tina Landau and her collaborators, including scenic and costume design genius David Zinn and ace choreographer Christopher Gattelli, unspool a host of entertaining production numbers within a world that is an iridescent riot of pinks, purples, greens, blues, yellows, and polka dots." - Don Aucoin (Boston Globe)

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The Music Man- Goodman Theatre

Chicago Tribune Newspaper Article- Shout Out: Ayana Strutz

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The Music Man- Goodman Theatre

"Dancing in this ever changing landscape of silhouettes to BRIGHT! is the talented cast. Some are dancing quite literally, with choreography and performance like the lightest of whipped cream. There are a lot of partner dancing moves where the female dancers seamlessly float above their partners heads. There are cartwheels galore, as Zimmerman’s trademark of blurring gymnastics and dance find new roots on Iowa terrain." - Amy Munice (Picture This Post)

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The Music Man- Goodman Theatre

"Zimmerman puts her trust in a who’s-who of Chicagoland musical theatre stars teaming with a detasseling cadre of nationally- and regionally-credited triple threats to present one of the the best singing/dancing stage ensembles of the year. Simply said, you’ve got to give this Iowa a try. If you don’t, it’s your loss." - Barry Reszel (Chicagoland Musical Theatre)

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A Chorus Line- Porchlight Music Theatre

“Another triumph for Porchlight. Porchlight Music Theatre’s singularly sensational production remains true to the script. The Porchlight production is full of radiant personalities (and tireless dancer-singer-actors) including... the upbeat attitude of the too short but eternally girlish Chinese-American dancer played by Ayana Strutz, and a slew of others, all distinctive and talented.”

- Hedy Weiss (WTTW News: Theatre Reviews)

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A Chorus Line- Porchlight Music Theatre

"But this depth also comes from this brilliant cast and their brilliant performances brilliantly directed by Brenda Didier. Of course, the talent is youthful and top-notch, as it must be for such a classic show... Ayana Strutz’s Connie Wong confidently struts and fills the stage despite her diminutive stature."

- CJ Burroughs (Buzz Center Stage)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"Petite aerialist Ayana Strutz, as Charlotte, enters in a plunge from the catwalk on silks, drawing gasps from all ages. She makes cartwheels look as easy as walking, and her gravity-defying performance embodies the beauty as well as the innate creep factor of a spider benefactor (especially when she scuttles around on her hands and feet with her spine bent backwards, chin and tummy in the air). Strutz’s fluid, well-rounded performance gives welcome contemporary color to Charlotte’s musing that if she can fool a bug, she can certainly fool a man."

- Alaina Johns (Broad Street Review)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"Ayana Strutz's sleek movements on the ground and from the silks are nothing short of spectacular... The most impressive transformation comes from Ayana Strutz as Charlotte. Strutz uses her acrobatic skills—descending on aerial silks and scurrying across the floor in a back walkover—to move like a spider, but her poise and dignified manner make her truly arachnid."- Rebecca Rendell (Talkin' Broadway)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"And when Ayana Strutz, the true star of this show as Charlotte the spider, makes her entrance, descending on gymnastic silks and doing a reverse, inverted crab-walk around Wilbur’s pen, the awed crowd applauded." "Charlotte does not touch Wilbur; she’s no hugger. Strutz plays her with a tensile braid of the automatic and the empathetic: She gazes at him, takes him in, and decides, matter-of-factly, to rescue him." - John Timpane (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"One of the most exciting parts of this production is Ayana Strutz, the actress playing Charlotte. Strutz is an acrobat and contortionist, perfect for embodying a spider. She descends from the ceiling in silks, and uses the set as her personal jungle-gym. After the show, she disclosed to the curious kids in the audience that she has only been training as an acrobat for two year after having grown up as a dancer." - Amber Kusching (BroadwayWorld)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"The spider Charlotte is always a key role and this time the role is played by Ayana Strutz, an actress who is also an acrobat trained in circus arts. She uses those arts impressively, doing tumbling, contortions, cartwheels, twisting, and all sorts of acrobatics to portray Charlotte the spider."

- Ruth Rovner (Daily Times)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

"The Arden production doesn’t deck out the actors in a pink pig suit or spider costume. It doesn’t have to. Adam Howard and Ayana Strutz are so convincing, he crawling and snorting in the pig pen, she, sliding up and down black silks extended from above. When either of them move across or above the stage, the audience, filled with children of all ages, goes silent. Strutz, a contortionist, is reason enough to go." - Frank Burd (Montgomery Media)

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

Andrea Cantor Photography- Philly Weekly

Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

Philadelphia Weekly Magazine Article

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

NBC Philadelphia Morning News Segment 

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Charlotte's Web- Arden Theatre Company

Interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

Podcast Interview with Showbiz Chicago

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

"While the dances and movements are entrancing on the whole, contortionist Ayana Strutz deserves a special mention: she's so crazy-good, it's hard to take your eyes off her."

- Kelsey Lawler (BroadwayWorld)

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

"Director Ray Jivoff adds a grace note of this aesthetic to this production with Ayana Strutz, an aerialist and contortionist who twists, bends and juggles through most of the play, adding amazement to the already kinetic show."- Gwen Rice (On Milwaukee)
 

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

"Chicago resident and Hawaii-born Ayana Strutz is excellent in her Skylight debut as Theo, the young son of the widow Catherine."- Matthew Perta (Showbiz Chicago)

 

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

"Again and again performers emerge from the ensemble to delight us with their skills, so frequently that it seems penurious to single out just two – Stephanie Staszak in several dance numbers and Ayana Strutz, whose abilities as mime and circus gymnast are constantly used to enliven numbers." 

- Dominique Paul Noth (Urban Milwaukee)
 

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Pippin- Skylight Music Theatre

"The show moves along fluidly as the dancers’ Bob Fosse-like movements, the soaring voice of Pastrana in the lead role, and the lovely lyrics of many of the songs- keep us engaged and entertained. Minor characters who also deserve to be acknowledged are Kathryn Hausman as Fastrada, the self-serving stepmother, and Ayana Strutz as Catherine’s duck-loving child.

One walks away from this one with a feeling of hope, despite the ever-present difficulties that surround us."- Julie McHale (TimeOut Theatre Critic)

 

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