Monthly Archives: November 2016

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: For Purely Elfish Reasons

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is a hidden gem right here in historic downtown! I’d like to welcome you to For Purely Elfish Reasons, the third Mainstage show of our historic 60th season. We are thrilled to present this new gem, by local playwright Jason Powell! Opportunities like this are one of the things that make WCT’s quality, live entertainment not just another night at the theatre. With such a wonderful, professional venue for our local talent, I’m honored to be a member of the Board. Yet, surprisingly, there are still some people who don’t know of this entertainment gem centered right here on Main Street! Please spread the word about our very own cultural cornerstone!

Between the Mainstage, Random Acts, A.C.T., Friday Night Live, Special Events, and our community partnerships with ACAP, the STEM Academy, Waukesha Reads, and others, we have a plethora of different entertainment options running year-round! Our special events – such as Festival Of Fools in April – provide entertaining and fun ways to support the theatre. We also have outreach programs like anti-bullying workshops, the Civic Broadway Singers, the Civic Senior Players, and many more! Our theatre arts education program offers classes at WCT and extends beyond our doors to teach kids in local schools. Likewise, we partner with Carroll University and UW-Waukesha for students of all majors to intern in our office or with our classes.

That’s right, we’re not just for actors! Whether you can pound a hammer, program a computer, alphabetize a file cabinet, or perform an aria, there are plenty of ways to get involved almost every day of every week. So spread the word!

You are also invited to join the celebration of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s proud achievement of providing challenging, enriching, and entertaining opportunities for 60 HISTORIC SEASONS. Having reached this elite DIAMOND status, we ask you to help us look to the future with your support. Without the generous support from our guests, we could not continue to provide these great services to the Waukesha County community and beyond. Please consider a donation today. Thank you!

I look forward to seeing you, and let me know what you think!

danner-jonathan-2010Jonathan Danner


Board Of Directors

A Note From The Playwright

For Purely Elfish Reasons has a kind of strange pedigree, as I keep on adapting it for different audiences and venues. It was originally written for an audience of very little children, commissioned by a company that then dissolved before they could produce it. I rewrote the show, adding brand new songs, years later for a six-person ensemble in Bay View’s Alchemist Theatre. (And those six people included the director, stage manager and accompanist, all of whom also played characters in the show and two of whom were me.) This third iteration was customized once again to fit the specifications of a big holiday show at Waukesha Civic Theatre, with a much larger list of characters and twice as many new original songs. I’m very grateful to WCT for allowing this now full-length original musical to continue its slow-but-steady evolutionary path.

Through all of the show’s permutations, the premise has remained consistent. I love the holidays and I love the Marx Brothers. Of course I love other things too, but the comedy of Groucho, Harpo and Chico has something else in common with Christmastime in my brain: They are things that I enjoyed a lot when I was a child AND which I still enjoy today. The holidays to me are all about family – both young and old. So when I found myself in the position of writing a Christmas comedy, it made sense to me to look to the comedians whose humor appealed to me as a young child and still appeals to me as an adult.

When I watch old Marx Brothers movies, I’m in awe of how timeless the material seems. Granted, some of the topical references sail right past my head, I’ll admit that. But their sense of timing, their playful use of language, the absurdity, the physical comedy … those things haven’t aged. It all feels very fresh to me…it’s “classic,” in the best sense of the word.

The idea of recasting the Marx personae as Christmas elves seemed a natural fit, to my mind. I learned after I wrote the show that one of the last projects that Chico, Groucho and Harpo worked on together was a sitcom pilot in which they all portrayed heavenly angels (complete with halos that looked like giant bagels, which Harpo ends up snacking on just a few minutes into the story). So I guess my impulse to cast them as characters from a Christmas song wasn’t too out of the box. It’s just that instead of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” I went with something more out of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

And from that impulse came For Purely Elfish Reasons, a show in which every single character is an elf who either works in Santa’s workshop or used to…including the Marx stand-ins Jules, Dolly and Lonnie (you can look up the brothers’ real names if you’re curious about those source of those handles). That was the other thing that appealed to me about the premise…I’ve seen shows that featured Christmas elves among the cast before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in which EVERY single character had pointy ears. Maybe it’s the Leonard Nimoy fan in me.

In combining the Marx Bros. with the North Pole, my “Christmas wish” is that Elfish has something for everybody. Certainly if you’re a fan of movies like Duck Soup and Night at the Opera, you’ll find some nods and winks, and some redux versions of a few classic sequences to make you smile. But ideally, I very much hope the show also taps into something timeless and classic, so that even if you’re completely unfamiliar with those old films, you’ll still find yourself tickled by the same things that bring a grin to my own lips…Not just the gags and punchlines and slapstick, but also that ineffable holiday spirit, that uniquely Christmas-y warmth that always gives me “comfort and joy” at this time of year.

jason-powellPlease enjoy the show!

Jason Powell


What Do Students Learn From Arts Education?

In 1997, a longitudinal study was initiated to determine the impact of the arts on the lives of the participants. In this study, more than 25,000 students were evaluated over a course of ten years through high school. Those students with consistent participation in theatre arts consistently showed improved academic performance and significant increases in standardized test scores. In a 2013 article in the Washington Post by Lisa Phillips, the top skills children learn from the arts was discussed. They included the following:

Creativity – lean to approach tasks from different perspectives and to “think outside the box”

Confidence – build the confidence to perform in front of large audiences

Problem Solving – develop skills in reasoning and understanding

Perseverance – learning skills and techniques through practice; developing new skills

Focus – maintaining a balance between listening and contributing; improve concentration

Collaboration – practice working together for a common goal

Dedication – associate hard work and dedication with a sense of accomplishment

Accountability – learn that their actions affect other people; Gain a sense of responsibility

Receiving Constructive Feedback – learn that critique is a valuable experience and contributes to the success of the final piece

An arts educator with over 16 years’ experience, Lisa’s comments were driven by a concern over an obsession with science, math, technology and engineering in our school systems at the risk of losing art education and the skills that come from it. I think she makes a valid point. Our community theaters are more than just an entertainment venue; they offer a tremendous benefit for personal growth. Perhaps you know of someone who has or may benefit from active participation in the theatre. Reach out and get involved!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator

The Impact Of Live Theatre

If you are like me, you have probably enjoyed many live theatre performances over the years. You most likely have your favorites. But have you ever considered the impact of that performance on the actors and members of the stage crew?

Community theatre not only provides the opportunity for more people to experience and be entertained by live theatre, it provides an opportunity to engage more people who perform in those shows. The impact, especially on our youth, can be profound. Many studies have shown that children that participate in live theatre have improved communication skills, are more creative, and have improved problem solving skills. Perhaps you have participated on stage at a community theatre, or someone in your family has.

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is celebrating their 60th season. With seven Mainstage shows and over 140 performances of all kinds on its stage, the Waukesha Civic Theatre impacts the lives of thousands of children in Waukesha County each year. Students at twelve schools benefit through the theatre’s education outreach program. Through a partnership with the nonprofit organization ACAP, the theatre brings the stage to children and adults with disabilities. The Mainstage shows have auditions open to everyone that is interested.

The Theatre provides classroom instruction throughout the year as part of their Academy At Civic Theatre (A.C.T) program. There are countless examples where a shy child with few social interaction skills, blossoms on the stage, demonstrating dramatic improvement in their ability to interact with others and improved performance in school. In a recent YouTube video, students share their experiences and the impact that the Waukesha Civic Theatre has had on their lives.

So the next time you are enjoying a performance at your local cultural center, stop and think about the performers, who they are, and the impact your presence is having on their lives. Support your local community theatre!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator

I Want To Be A STAR…For A Day!

act-summer-showcase-august-2016-126That’s right ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages (and especially children between the ages of 6 and 19) … Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Star For A Day program is back! Mark your calendars, young theatre enthusiasts: the first of this special set of one-day-only classes is coming up on Wednesday, November 23, 2016!

Just what is Star For A Day? We’re glad you asked! It’s a program through WCT’s Academy at Civic Theatre for students between the ages of 6 and 19. On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, Monday, January 23, 2017, and Friday, June 9, 2017 students in the School District of Waukesha will be off school. What are those students going to do for the whole day? Why, come to the theatre, of course!

Star For A Day offers classes for students ages 6-8, 9-12, and 13-19 starting at 9:00 a.m. and culminating in a free performance that evening at 5:00 p.m.

Each group has a chance at three different classes: choreography class Dance Fever, interactive improvisation in Incredible Improv, and singing with movement in Musical Madness. The jam-packed day also has an hour of group rehearsal before the evening’s performance.


6-8 Years

Dance Fever 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Musical Madness 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Incredible Improv 1:30-3:20 p.m.


9-12 Years

Musical Madness 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Incredible Improv 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Dance Fever 1:30-3:20 p.m.


13-19 Years

Incredible Improv 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Dance Fever 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Musical Madness 1:30-3:20 p.m.


All Students

Group Rehearsal 3:45-4:45 p.m.

Performance 5:00 p.m.


All classes take place at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. Students may sign up for one class for $25, or two classes for $50 – and then the third class is free! Register here!

Still not sold? You can get more information by contacting our Education and Outreach Administrator Doug Jarecki at (262) 547-4911 ext. 21 or at We also have information available on our website.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our great Star For A Day opportunities!

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Don’t Be A Grinch … Come See The Grinch!

By now you are all most likely aware of our new PIX Flix movie series, where we have brought the Silver Screen back to the PIX one Monday every month.  We are half way through our second season of the series, and our next movie makes me giddy. It is no secret that I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year, and I love, love, love, love, love holiday movies. I’m hoping to get a full house for our December movie, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, and more. This is easily one of my all-time favorite holiday movies, and I can watch it over and over.

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss and the original 1966 cartoon TV special narrated by Boris Karloff, the movie brings the wonderful world of the Whos to life. Ron Howard directed the movie, which has become the second highest-grossing holiday film of all time with over $345 million worldwide. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

And of course there’s Jim Carrey.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Jim Carrey’s 100% commitment to every role he plays. When Mr. Carrey first started having success on the big screen I was not amused. I didn’t understand what the buzz was about, but I saw every film he was in. Perhaps begrudgingly, but I saw it. Over time I grew to appreciate his genius, and now he is one of my favorite actors of all time. His ability to completely transform himself, both vocally and physically, is a wonder to behold. And his Grinch is pure brilliance.

I love quoting the Grinch. I’m no Jim Carrey, but it sure is fun to imitate him. This is my usual go-to:

The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?

The movie’s soundtrack is loaded with fun, funny, and sentimental songs, including “Green Christmas,” “Christmas Of Love,” “Better Do It Right,” and “Perfect Christmas Night.” And of course, Carrey’s inspired version of the classic “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is spectacular. These songs are in my personal holiday music playlist and always make me smile when they start to play.

The movie will be on Monday, December 19th at 6:30 pm.  Tickets are $5 each, and we have concessions (including popcorn!) and bar service.  It would be a great night for everyone that loves WCT to gather just before the holiday to celebrate this incredible organization, each other, a very fun and funny movie, and our NEW SCREEN and PROJECTOR!!!!! I’m hoping that we can get 200, or MORE, of our key supporters and participants to come see this movie. You can fully experience our projector and screen, purchased and installed a little over a year ago thanks to the generous donations we have received for our Spotlight On The Future Campaign.  (It’s never too late to give to the campaign, or give again to the campaign.  We are at 47% of our total goal). You can buy tickets online or at the box office by phone, email, fax or in person.  Get your tickets early so you are sure to have a seat! I’ll see you then, if not before!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

PS – click here to check out the rest of our PIX Flix series!

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: Interfaith Lifetime Art Competition Winners

From November 11 through December 8, 2016, the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is proud to host the work of 25 winners of the Interfaith Lifetime Art Competition. There will be an Art Crawl from 4 pm to 10 pm on Saturday, December 3rd. The gallery is open during regular box office hours. Here is a little bit about each of the artists:


Bill Allen – Arches

After his retirement in 1999, Bill Allen had time to pursue his love of oil painting. He has taken class at the Peninsula School of Art and The Clearing in Door County, Barnsite Art Studio in Kewanee and with James Hemple in Milwaukee. All of these classes helped to develop his style. Many of his paintings were inspired by photos from his travels. Some of his paintings are exercises that inspired him because of their colors and compositions.


Carl Basco – Country Church

The influential quote by the famous Danish poet Piet Hein summarizes Carl’s passion for art:

“I am a humble artist

Moulding my earthly clod,

Adding my labour to nature’s,

Simply assisting God,

Not that my labour is needed,

Yet somehow I understand,

My Maker has deemed it that I too should have

Unmoulded clay in my hand.”


Kenneth R. Beierle – Timberline Bobcat

The Bobcat or Wildcat can lick his weight in wildcats. Looking like an oversized Tomcat, he gets the name Bobcat from his absurdly short tail, which twitches with excitement, hangs inert or sticks straight out. The adaptable Bobcat lives wherever there is enough forest or brush land to provide adequate cover and food. The Bobcat is an expert tree climber, but hunts mostly on the ground. He hunts rabbits, destructive rodents, game birds and anything else that crosses his path. He is 26-30 inches high and weighs 15-30 pounds. The Bobcat displays the sensory tools of a superbly equipped predator. Keen eyesight, sensitive whiskers and excellent sense of smell and hearing; aided by the antenna like tufts of hair atop the ears. Cats’ dislike of water can be overcome by a cat’s lust for prey. Cats specialize in the long stalk, followed by the sudden, deadly leap for the prey that can include fish. The Bobcat relaxes in a favorite tree and is a solitary creature, hunting and living alone except for the breeding season in the late winter and early spring.

Five year Art Program at Boys Technical Trade School. I have juried many art shows; been painting for 73 years and still learning. Painting is my way to express myself and is ever present in my thoughts.


P J Boylan – Dragon 1/10

PJ is a retired lawyer and award-winning photographer. She earned a certificate in Professional Photography from the New York Institute of Photography. Primarily interested in travel, her subject matter is eclectic. Her images are captured primarily during her world travels. “Dragon” however was created from an image she captured at the Milwaukee Art Museum.


William K. Davis – Cityscape Milwaukee

“Cityscape Milwaukee” was inspired by the city view from the Third Ward Riverwalk on a sunny summer afternoon. The watercolor painting captures a skyline made up of Milwaukee’s architecture of varying styles, masses, and heights reflected in the Milwaukee River below. A towering crane, busy on new construction, a city roadway with flanking bridge towers, and tall light standards provide horizontal and vertical accents to the urban scene.

After retiring from local architectural practice, I began watercolor painting in the fall of 2004, at the urging of my wife. My interest was sparked by introductory painting classes with watercolorist Alice Struck of Cedarburg and has grown through participation in a number of workshops including several springtime sessions on remote Washington Island with Bridget Austin of Green Bay. Watercolor and sketching have now become major interests. I am a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, the Wisconsin Watercolor Society, the Cedarburg Artists Guild, and the Mequon Thiensville Senior Art League and have had the opportunity to participate in a number of one man and group exhibits.

I continue to be a student of the medium, hopefully growing in skill and understanding. I am always amazed at the simple beauty and free flowing potential of watercolor art.


Tom Halfmann – Bleu Jour

I have been doing this type of painting for a number of years. The idea for a painting might come from colors and shapes in architecture or nature, from moods created by a piece of music, or by the way summer-sunlight strikes a blank wall in late afternoon. I try to use line, color and angles to achieve a balance to my personal liking. I’ve always found a full-color palette to be a difficult juggling act, so I’ve drifted away from the reds and oranges, and use greens only occasionally. I find painting to be stress-reducing and stress-producing at the same time, uplifting and satisfying, and sometimes frustrating and demoralizing. I guess the same could be said about performing in a high school musical, learning to play guitar or in raising a family.


Michael Havice – Title: COME ON: Sandy – Big Bay – Lake Michigan

When I take a photograph I wish to prompt a viewer with feelings like, pleasure, pain, empathy, serenity, and perhaps desire. The image viewer creates a personal story derived from my image.

“COME ON: Sandy…” was taken in the morning of October 30, 2012. The winds were nearly howling and hurricane Sandy was pounding the Eastern Seaboard. Sandy’s torrents created a great deal of turbulence in Lake Michigan. I went to Big Bay Park in Whitefish Bay where I captured the 9am mood of the lake. I took many photographs of the turbulent lake that day.

I am a retired Associate Professor from Marquette University, Department of Broadcast and Electronic Communication. I served 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Photographic Arts (CoPA), Milwaukee.



My painting, DOWNTOWN MILWAUKEE RIVER-1908 is a composite of scenes from numerous old photos. The view in the painting is northward from just south of the Michigan Avenue bridge. The skyline shows the towers of Milwaukee City Hall and the Pabst Building. The steamship depicted in the painting is the Christopher Columbus. It was the only passenger whaleback ship ever built. It could carry 4000 passengers. It was constructed in Superior, WI in 1823. After numerous mishaps it was scrapped in 1936. In the foreground are some local fishermen having a day on the river.

The medium is acrylic. Historical and nautical subjects feature in many of my paintings.


Judith Kaiser – Oak Leaf Trail III

As an artist and art educator, I have been involved in the arts throughout my life: curatorial assistant at the Milwaukee Art Museum; Art History lecturer at Mount Mary University; coordinator of art appreciation programs at local grade schools; juror or art critique presenter; and artist, exhibiting my work in area shows. My daughter Anne and I currently co-teach an art class for children.

My family and I walk the Oak Leaf Trail in every season, especially in autumn. This Pastel — Oak Leaf Trail III—reflects two major stylistic themes in my work — luminous color and dramatic light. Late afternoon is a favorite time — of strong cross-lighting and long shadows.


Vickie Kapellusch – Full Blossom

This is my first entrance to an art competition. I have been painting for four years under the guidance of Al Minzlaff, first with Oak Creek Park & Rec., now at the Wilson Senior Center.

Interfaith and the great group of fellow artists at Wilson have brought a wonderful adventure to my life. I wouldn’t have tried this without the encouragement of my fellow painter, my sister, Sue.


Charlotte Kovac – De-Vine

My painting is of the ubiquitous climbing vine some of us were given to care for and watch grow at the office, classroom, or home. I chose this painting for the show because it illustrates techniques taught in classes I have attended, such as glazing, watercolor, and working with pen and ink. Fortunately, the painted vine outlasted the real one.


Geri Laehn – Spence Farm/Milky Way

On dark clear starry nights I enjoy stargazing, searching the sky for the elusive Milky Way and the Aurora Borealis. Not often but on occasion I get lucky and have the opportunity to photograph both at the same time.

This image “Spencer Farm w/Milky Way” was captured on September 13th 2015. Spencer is located just north of Marshfield in Central Wisconsin.

About me….

I’ve been involved in Photography for the past 20 years.

Active member and past president of CoPA (Coalition of Photographic Arts) past board member and exhibitions chair for 5 years of CoPA, Current member of the Underwood Fine Art Photographers, Board member Wisconsin Area Camera Club Organization & Active member of the Wehr Nature Center Camera Club

Additional work can be seen at the PH Dye House in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, Boerner Botanical Gardens n Hales Corners, the Blue (the gallery at Reuss Federal Plaza) in downtown Milwaukee and the gallery at PDM (Prime Digital Media) in New Berlin, WI.


Susan M. Leopold – Puerto Rico Holiday

I’m a watercolor painter, \both studio and plein air. My favorite subjects are flowers and fruits. I’ve been painting seriously about 10 years and continue studies with two teachers in an open studio.

As a Father’s Day surprise present, I painted a portrait of my husband. I wanted to show him happy, relaxed and suntanned in an exotic location – the Rain Forest in Puerto Rico. As a reference, I used a photo taken on a hot, sunny day and sneaked peeks at him during a four month period. He kept changing his look: new glasses, a hair cut, trimmed his beard, lost the tan and lost weight! Each change created new problems for this painter – add the new grey hairs, keep the smile or not…

Eventually, I just painted my impressions of him, remembering a special happy day. He decided to share the painting and encouraged me to enter this show.


Judith D. Lesniewski – Surreal Forest

I entered the world of art through the world of Decorative Painting, which is a method painting program. I learned so many fine art principles from the many teachers I took classes from over the years. I progressed to wanting to paint my own creations and joined the AC Art Association many years ago and have benefitted greatly from their programs and critique meetings. The piece I entered into this competition is the result of the many years of classes, critiques and risk taking that I have experienced.


Terrance Nickasch – Skipping Church

This photograph is titled “Skipping Church” to add a little humor to show the fun they were having at the time. I was not able to record the sound, but they could easily be referred to as a “giggle” of nuns.


Thomas Pscheid – “Fresh Snowfall – Menomonee River”

“Fresh Snowfall – Menomonee River” is a digital photograph taken of the Menomonee River as it winds its way through Wauwatosa. The snow, clinging to the branches, contrast to the flowing river to make a spectacular yet soothing image.

Tom has exhibited his art throughout Wisconsin for over 20 years. He is a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, Wisconsin Visual Artists, and the Wisconsin Designer Crafts Council.

Originally drawing in charcoal and painting in oils, he is a traditional landscape artist. Over many years, his photographs have been the inspiration for his paintings and drawings. Currently, he has been reexamining these photographs, and enhancing them on a computer. He has forged into photography as another means to express his view of the world we live in.


Carolyn Simpson – “By the Dawn’s Early Light”

“By the Dawn’s Early Light” is a watercolor panting developed from a picture I took on January 19, 2016 at the Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve in Grafton, Wisconsin. The air temperature was below zero, and my camera froze shortly after the photo was taken.

I started taking watercolor painting classes under Chris Sommerfelt at the Wauwatosa Senior Center in 2008. I continue to read and study about every Milwaukee Public Library System book on watercolor. My work has appeared and won awards at group exhibits in the southeastern Wisconsin area through my associations with the Wauwatosa Artist Workshop, League of Milwaukee Artists, and Wisconsin watercolor Society. Four paintings have recently been part of the 20013-2015 Watercolor Wisconsin exhibits at the Wustum Museum in Racine.

I thank the Interfaith Older Adults Program and their sponsors for supporting the visual arts and encourage all ages to create!


Ralph Skudlarczyk – Temptation

This painting depicts the temptation that humanity faces on a daily basis. It is a battle of choice – either right or wrong, since the beginning of time. Nothing has changed.

I belong to Bay View Art Guild. Attended Layton School of Art- Milwaukee. Have been taking various art courses during my life. As a career I became an electrician and continued art as a hobby (stress relief hobby).Now, retired, I am able to have the time to express and create what I enjoy the most.


Robert A. Socher – Fallen Leaves

My name is Robert A. Socher, 78 years old, residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The inspiration for this piece was a casual walk through Jackson Park during the past fall season and attracted to the different leaf formations, the slight changes of color in each leaf from various tree species. So I tried to capture these shapes and colors with the use of colored pencils. The original art work is not for sale but I would consider copies at some future date.


John Sowinski – Girl by the Window

I have belonged to the Wauwatosa Artists Workshop (WAW) for five years and attend Thursday mornings at MATC – Oak Creek. I have been painting off and on for 12 years. I am amazed that with just paper and paint you can create anything that your mind can conceive – Just love it!


Betty A. Storey – “Color”

I have spent 30 years researching my family genealogy. After the publication of the lineage of my maiden name [ANDREWS] I decided to change direction in my life and use the other side of my brain!

Over the years, I have had interest in art. I had attended a Basic Drawing class at MATC in the early 1980s; a pastel figure drawing class in the mid 1990s. Through the years other responsibilities and interests seemed to get into the way of having a scheduled time to concentrate on art projects.

I signed up for the Drawing and Painting class at Wilson Senior Center two years ago. The instructor, Al Minzlaff, has guided me to keep trying, to pay attention to detail, watch ‘the lightest lights and darkest darks’ and to stay active and involved. This painting is a result of his encouragement.


Loni Theisen – “Our Lord and Savior”

The subject of this charcoal and pastel rendering entitled ‘Our Lord and Savior’, was initially drawn as a personal statement to visually depict, defend, and publically celebrate the Christian Faith in a time when Christian beliefs seem disrespected.

Initially it was executed purely in charcoal pencil. Red pastel was added afterwards to strengthen the message. The key word that’s repeatedly been expressed by its

audience is: ‘Powerful!’

Loni Theisen is a MIAD graduate. She has been freelancing as a graphic designer for 23 years and is now concentrating her abilities in fine art. She started this

transition donating charcoal portraits through her parish to families who had recently lost a loved one as a memorial gift from her church. She now renders portraits on commission and has her work displayed in the Underground Collaborative Art Gallery at the Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Milwaukee. Please come visit and see more of her work along with several other very talented and diverse artists that display there.


Patricia Wiedower – Glimpse of Door County

The title of my picture is “Glimpse of Door County”. The inspiration for my painting is a photograph I have of the Door County lakeshore. I used to go there often but I haven’t been there for quite a while. The picture reminds me of the many peaceful walks I took along that beach.


Richard Yerkey – “The Hunter”

  • Always interested in Art & Drawing
  • Started taking Art at M.A.T.C. shortly after retirement
  • Pen & Ink and Pastel are his favorites
  • Donates most of his work to schools and non profit organization fundraisers


MAD Corner: To Kill A Mockingbird

This American classic is inspiring, beautiful, funny, and emotional. I am thrilled that WCT is producing this incredible script.  I think it is one of the best plays ever written, and in the hands of this awesome production staff, cast, and crew, it is sure to be a moving experience for everyone! And I am thrilled that we are able to partner with Waukesha Reads to help reach as many people in our community as possible.

I would like to thank everyone that supports WCT! We wouldn’t be here without you. All of our volunteers help us out in any number of ways by acting, ushering, serving on the board of directors, providing maintenance or office support, or working on sets, costumes, props. Our patrons come to WCT see quality live entertainment, the fruits of our volunteers’ labor. Our donors help keep us financially sound by their gifts to the Annual Operating Fund, the Endowment Fund, or by including us in their planned giving.

We will be closing our Spotlight On The Future campaign at the end of this calendar year. If you haven’t given a gift yet, or have but would be willing to give even more, we still need your help! This major gift campaign has a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. We have raised about half of our goal, but we need your help to reach the full amount. Please consider a gift of any size!

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and money that you give to WCT.

One way, and arguably the best way, to support WCT is to spread the word about Waukesha’s best kept secret. It always amazes me when I meet someone in Waukesha who has no idea what a fantastic organization we have right here in the heart of the community. Tell people about what we do and all we offer.

Enrich. Challenge. Entertain. That says it all, so keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone. We couldn’t do it without you.

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: To Kill A Mockingbird

Welcome to the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s historic 60th season!

Proof that To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a beloved classic of literature, cinema and theater is that I have a nephew whose cat’s name is Atticus and a good friend whose cat’s name is Scout.

How many people were inspired to become lawyers or understand social justice issues better because of the incredible moral role model of Atticus Finch?

How many childhood memories have been triggered by the touching point of view of Scout who looks at the world initially through innocent eyes?

That dedication to the wonderful characters in Mockingbird is why WCT is thrilled to collaborate with the 10th anniversary of Waukesha Reads whose programming you can learn about at

What a fantastic opportunity to read (or reread) the novel, see the electrifying live performance at the Civic Theatre, and watch Gregory Peck in his iconic role on November 13 at Dinner & a Movie.

Enjoy this historic pairing! Don’t forget to visit to see how you can save 19 to 26% on future WCT shows and score a Subscriber Benefits Card.

Nelson Larry 2011Larry Nelson

Board Director

Many Stories, Many Missions

Officially, Ex Fabula’s mission is “strengthening community bonds through the art of storytelling,” and we’re excited to carry out our mission in collaboration with Waukesha Reads. Over the years, however, I’ve come up with a series of unofficial mission statements based on stories about things that have happened at our events.

The first unofficial mission, “Host local events where people tell personal stories,” dates to the beginnings of Ex Fabula. In 2009, I and four other twenty- and thirty-somethings kept having the same conversation over and over. For example, after Amy Schleicher and I attended a StorySlam while on a work trip, we kept talking about how someone should start a storytelling organization with a more Midwestern sensibility back. Then, Matt Sabljak and I expressed the same wish after chatting about stories that we heard on the podcast This American Life. At some point Matt and his friend Adam Weise had the same conversation, and then I met Leah Delaney and repeated it. Eventually, it occurred to us that perhaps we were the “someone,” so we scheduled a time to connect at Maharaja’s lunch buffet. 90 minutes after some of us met for the first time, we were planning an event and brainstorming names for our group; six weeks later, we hosted our first StorySlam.

Down the line, we became better at articulating the reasons that we loved personal stories, and thus was born another unofficial mission: “Connecting family, friends, neighbors and strangers.” For example, Amie Losi told a story in 2010 that touched on two big events in her life: her marriage and divorce. After hearing that story on Ex Fabula radio, Amie’s sister reached out to her to talk more about those incidents. At the time of the divorce, Amie’s sister didn’t really understand what Amie was going through, but the personal story opened her eyes and brought the two closer together.

A variation of that mission would be “Making strangers hug each other.” One of many examples comes from Yetunde Bronson, who described her experience at the Spectacular in December 2014 as “That incredible moment when you tell a story about suffering from PTSD, and two Vietnam veterans come up to you afterward, hug you and thank you for sharing your story.” Aww!

Taking that mission one step further and you get “Create a platform for healing and learning through personal stories.” Nakia Hood experienced the power of telling his story as an Ex Fabula Fellow, and the day after his first event, he emailed saying “You don’t know the healing from hurt that has taken place by me just talking about my issues”. I thanked him for sharing because his story, which focused on his experiences in school as a young Black boy, also taught me a lot; I grew up in very different circumstances from Nakia’s, and although I’ve read research and news articles about our education system, his personal story was way more powerful.

Of course, our Slams aren’t all serious, so another mission is “Entertain people through interactive live events.” We’ve heard stories about all sorts of hilarious situations: skinny dipping, dating mishaps, childhood mischief, mistaken identities, and more. The audience is so supportive when people get vulnerable on stage, and it’s really nice to laugh hard with a group of people. Just thinking about these stories makes me giggle a bit!

There’s one last informal mission that I want to share because you can play a part: “Help everyone in the Greater Milwaukee region to share a personal story.” We’re trying to accomplish this by partnering with groups like Waukesha Reads and by providing lots of ways for people to share, including the UltraShort, which can be done without getting onstage, and the Terkel, an interview format. To that end, please join us at the Waukesha Civic Theatre this Thursday November 3rd at 7 pm for a free StorySlam. You can come just to listen – no pressure, I promise – or, if you have a true personal story to share, you can throw your name in the hat and then take the stage. Either way, we hope that one of our missions – formal or informal – can enrich your life as it’s enriched my life and the lives of so many others in Southeastern Wisconsin.

megan-mcgeeMegan McGee

Executive Director of Ex Fabula

Photo Credit: Kat Schleicher