Author Archives: Katie Danner

Vintage Mix – The Road To Germany

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is thrilled to welcome Vintage Mix to our stage!

 Vintage Mix is a mixed quartet of 16-year-old quadruplets that enjoy singing Barbershop, A Cappella, Standards, Show Tunes, Hymns, and Jazz selections. They are the 2016 and 2017 Wisconsin State High School Quartet Champions and have recently qualified as one of only two quartets to represent the US in a World Mixed Quartet competition in Munich, Germany this spring. You can support their journey here.

Over the past two and a half years, Vintage Mix has had many opportunities to perform both locally and nationally: Pittsburgh for the 2015 International Barbershop Convention; Reno for the 2016 Mid-Winter Convention; San Antonio for the 2017 Mid-Winter Convention; on the USS Milwaukee; Navy Pier for the Chicago Toy and Game Fair; WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour in Lexington, Kentucky; the Cannery Ballroom; the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; and the nationally syndicated news show Fox & Friends out of New York. Most recently, they performed the National Anthem at Lambeau Field for the 2017 Green Bay Packers Family Night.

Vintage Mix has been recording since 2016. They have three singles available and an EP that released January 1, 2018. They are juniors at Waukesha West High School where they sing with the Concert Choir and the Master Singers. Although they have been singing for just a short time, we are sure you will enjoy this young, talented quartet.

Opening for Vintage Mix is the Easy Days Barbershop Quartet. They are all members of The Midwest Vocal Express (MVE), a championship Barbershop Chorus from Greendale, WI. Easy Days competes as a Seniors quartet in the Barbershop Harmony Society contests, and has placed in the Top 10 in both the Illinois and L.O.L District contests. They are the 2009 Land O’ Lakes District Seniors Champions.

Enjoyed by audiences of all ages, Easy Days has established a reputation as a good singing, entertaining, full-of-fun quartet. Easy Days performs a fast paced, 45 minute floor show featuring a repertoire filled with familiar songs of the 30s and 40s, arranged to please audiences of all ages. Audiences appreciate Easy Days’ breezy banter and style which sets them apart from other a capella performers.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at 1:00 pm! Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by phone at 262-547-0708, online, or in person at the box office.

 

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The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: Waukesha South High School

The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) Mixed-Media Project

Waukesha South High School

The artworks in this exhibit were created by Drawing & Painting II students at Waukesha South High School. As a mixed media project, students explored various mediums including colored pencil, watercolor, and acrylic paint. Many of the works were collaged as a way of layering and extending the idea.

Traditionally, students have developed and created artworks through direct and indirect observations. This refers to drawing from life or using a resource to draw from, analyzing the subject and most times trying to recreate its likeness. The approach for this project challenged the norm. Students researched text from Shakespeare’s poetry and plays. Some put a contemporary twist to their work as in Shook-speare and Blood and Poison. Several students incorporated the disaster of Hamlet’s overthinking as in The Thought of Doom: What Happens When You Think, Don’t Waste Your Love, and The Lingering Thought of Madness Against the Danish, Starry Sky.

In She Will Move Mountains (Sophia), a student acknowledged a friend as her source of inspiration. Text was the resource used to guide their solutions. Of course, image and design supplemented the text – it was left to their interpretations.

All students wish to extend their gratitude for the opportunity to create works for the play and collaborate with the Waukesha Civic Theatre.

Theresa Leal

Art Instructor

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

“Tan tananta tanantan…” who could resist the iconic theme song from Raiders of the Lost Ark? This movie was the start and only movie in the franchise that hasn’t included Indiana Jones in the title. Harrison Ford’s leap into superstardom started with his role as Han Solo in Star Wars and was propelled in the first installment of the Indiana Jones saga. Despite having the dream team of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg behind the film, it was initially turned down by every studio in Hollywood. Only after much persuasion, did Paramount agree to do it. Can you imagine the 80’s without Indiana Jones? Yeah, you probably could, but it definitely wouldn’t have been as much fun.

We will have plenty additional opportunities to enjoy a nostalgic movie at the historic Waukesha Civic Theater. Future movies include Dirty Dancing, The African Queen, Apollo 13, Rear Window, and closing out the PIX Flix season none other than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Not to mention the remaining live theatre Mainstage shows.

You will not be disappointed in Waukesha Civic Theatre’s showing of this blockbuster movie from 1981 and what better way to start the New Year. So grab your popcorn and head on into the theatre and help us make this showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Waukesha Civic Theatre’s all time grossing of the 2017-2018 PIX Flix season, just like in 1981 when it was the highest grossing film of that year.

Archaeologists Challenge:

Keep your eyes open in the Well Of Souls scene, you can notice a golden pillar with a tiny engraving of R2-D2 and C-3PO from the Star Wars saga. They are also on the wall behind Indy when they first approach the Ark.

Happy exploring in this timeless adventure of a lifetime!

 

Rich Johnson

Board Treasurer

Meet Our Intern: Abbey Schaffer!

My name is Abbey Schaffer and I am a senior at Carroll University. This is my last semester, and I will be graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After I graduate, I am looking to further my education by getting my master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology, but first, I am going to spend some time traveling in Australia after Christmas.

I am always looking for new experiences and skills to gain, so I was interested in getting an internship for my last semester. I was able to get involved with Waukesha Civic Theatre through Carroll. At the time, I was looking for an internship close to campus and in our community, however I wasn’t sure where to go. Thankfully the university has some wonderful connections with different organizations in the community to help students like me find valuable internships. When Carroll suggested that I intern with WCT, I was very interested because I missed being in the theatre atmosphere. I spent some time in high school performing in shows and I really enjoyed working on the sets.

What I find most fun about working at WCT is the spontaneity of my position! There is always something different for me to do everyday! From folding playbills, getting lost in the props room, to lending a hand to help paint the set, it has been such a great experience to see what happens ‘behind the scenes’ of putting on a show. Also, being able to work with the WCT staff and volunteers have been absolutely wonderful! I have met so many creative and fun people who strive to make the community a better place. I am so thankful for all of the experiences I have gained and the connections I have made thus far.

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: It’s A Wonderful Life

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” – Zuzu Bailey

It’s A Wonderful Life has become synonymous with the holiday season in America, but when the movie premiered in 1946, it was met with a lukewarm reception. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when there was some confusion over rights and the film entered the public domain. TV stations began to air the film regularly, because they didn’t have to pay for it. By the time the rights paperwork was corrected, it had found its place as a holiday tradition.

The message of the film resonates as much among the Greatest Generation, immediately post-WWII, as it does today: Your life matters. Your contribution is important. You can, and do, make a difference. Nestled among the brilliant acting of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, that’s what really endears the film to viewers and why so many of us keep coming back, year after year.

The December PIX Flix film has become a holiday tradition for us here at WCT, too. Even though the title differs year to year, it’s a way for our community to come together, enjoy each other, and experience quality entertainment in a historic theatre. For only $5 a ticket, on a Monday night, there’s no better way to get family and friends together for an evening.

It’s A Wonderful Life is one of John Cramer’s very favorite films and both he and I hope to see you here at the PIX on Monday, December 18th, at 6:30 pm.

 

Happy Holidays!

Katie Danner

Marketing Director

 

Crafting The House Without A Christmas Tree: A Playwright’s Perspective

The reasons for wanting to adapt The House Without A Christmas Tree were numerous. Great story, complex characters, a father and daughter reconnecting….I could go on and on. The trick was in HOW to adapt it. Can you take what is there and expand it to a full play without losing the essence of the story? Well, I think you can and I think we did.

John and Kelli Cramer were a big part of this. They are the ones who introduced me to this story. It was one of their favorite holiday stories, and their affection for it was infectious. I read the book, I watched the TV movie, and I was hooked. I just loved it. But I did have some concerns.

First, there was not a lot of attention given to any character outside of Grandma, Dad, and Addie. The characters that were there simply did not have much to do. In order to become a Mainstage production, it needed some of these peripheral characters to become more prominent. The students in Addie’s class, for starters. I wanted to see a little more of the classroom world, and what kinds of characters there were, and seeing Addie in that world helps give us a fuller picture of her.

Luckily, we have an outstanding group of young and talented students in our A.C.T. (Academy at Civic Theatre) program. I had no doubt we had more than enough young talent to fill this classroom with some fun characters. And in the end, these students help shape our perception of Addie, and really do help to tell her story. And these are relationships and students we all experienced in our grade school years–the first crush, the destructive kid, the kid who always bragged about something, the know-it-all. There is something each of us can connect to in this colorful group of kids.

There was also not a lot for the teacher, Miss Thompson, to do. I wanted to find a way to see her grow throughout the play. A big key was adding the characters of the principal and his assistant. This provided the chance to tell a sweet, sometimes clumsy love story between the Eugene and Peggy, with Mrs. Kulwicki giving running commentary throughout.

The final major adjustment I made was that I wanted to lighten things up. The actual storyline between Addie and her father gets quite intense at times. I think the other characters in the play help to offset that drama and keep the story more balanced. I also think the culmination of all of these stories helps to make it a much bigger, more satisfying payoff at the end. There needed to be more hope, more optimism at the end, or else the struggle to get there doesn’t seem worth it. It would be like watching It’s A Wonderful Life, and having George Bailey be “sort of happy” to be alive at the end (spoiler alert-George Bailey lives and he’s THRILLED about it).

At the end of the day, I am a sucker for a sweet and heartfelt holiday show. And that’s what I think we have here. I think audience members will find themselves belly laughing in one scene, and getting choked up in the next scene. This show is nostalgic without being dated. The kind of show where parents can watch with their kids and not worry about questionable content. All of us involved in the show are very proud of that, and we sincerely hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Doug Jarecki

Playwright

MAD Corner/Director’s Note: The House Without A Christmas Tree

As Andy Williams said, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.”  And in the words of Blues Traveler: “If it’s Hanukah, or Kwanzaa, Solstice Harvest, or December 25th, peace on earth to everyone, and abundance to everyone you’re with.”

I love this season, and I love WCT’s tradition of presenting an affordable family show for the community to enjoy.  This season we present a story that is near and dear to my heart.  I grew up watching after school specials (anyone else remember those?) and one of my favorites was The House Without Christmas Tree starring Jason Robards.  There wasn’t a stage adaptation of the story available to produce, so we asked our own Doug Jarecki to tackle the project.  He used the original story, the after school special screen play, and added a few things of his own to create a funny and heartwarming stage adaptation featuring seven adults and twenty children.

Not only are we presenting this beautiful adaptation as our December Mainstage show, the holiday season at WCT is full of amazing entertainment options, including Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe, The Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concert featuring The Apollo Trio, our PIX Flix feature film It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Four Guyz In Dinner Jackets: Now In Technicolor!

If you’re looking for even more holiday season entertainment, don’t miss ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas at Next Act Theatre.  This is another Doug Jarecki script, and we are both in it.

And remember, if you’re looking for a good gift to give this season, consider our Festive Flex Four For $64 ~ or a gift card ~ or one of Joel Kopischke’s CDs … wonderful gifts of theatre to share with anyone, or to treat yourself!  Happy Holidays!

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director: The House Without A Christmas Tree

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: The House Without A Christmas Tree

My Mom had a plaque that said: “All hearts come home for Christmas.” Now that plaque hangs in my home every December.

As the year comes to a close, my grown children will come home from Iowa, Indiana, and Oklahoma, and we will continue our tradition of enjoying the holiday offerings at Waukesha Civic Theatre.

I’m thrilled that our theatre is offering a brand-new play; I predict it will become an instant classic, heartwarming and funny in equal measure.

The House Without A Christmas Tree is adapted from a popular 1972 made-for-TV movie of the same name. The Jason Robards film was shown regularly on CBS for five years and inspired several sequels.

Civic’s own Doug Jarecki wrote the play. A professional actor, Doug has been a linchpin in the success of this theatre, creating an Education and Outreach program that is second to none. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is a genuinely good human being. Oh, and he’s my homeschooled kids’ favorite teacher.

Enjoy!


Angela Penzkover

Past President, Board Of Directors

Star For A Day: It’s About The Process

What is Star For A Day (SFAD) and why do we do it? Great question! SFAD is challenging, energizing, scary, exciting, fun, funny, creative, silly, serious, educational, enlightening, exhilarating. I could sit here for another hour and not run out of words to describe SFAD. And if you asked me to sum up why I do it, I could answer with any of those words.

I have taught musical theatre camps for many years – camps that ran anywhere from one week to four weeks. And they’re amazing. Sometimes it’s working on individual pieces to perform in a showcase at the end. Sometimes it’s putting together a full-blown Broadway musical in a short period of time. No matter what the final product is, my favorite part is always the process. I love challenging students to try something they’ve never done, to think outside the box, to create and feel safe doing it, to explore and experiment and discover.

The first time I was asked to teach SFAD, I was a little bit terrified. Keep in mind that musical theatre includes singing, dancing and acting. How on earth were we going to pull off learning two songs in a class that lasted less than a couple hours? Then, send those students to other classes, including improv and dance, before coming together to combine everything we learned – sometimes hours earlier in the day. I quickly discovered some tricks to help me the next time. But more importantly, I discovered the thrill of fully immersing yourself into an 8-hour day and creating something magical.

Some skills I’ve watched students learn and/or use throughout the day:

  • Focus
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail

Some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Memorizing quickly with little time for repetition is hard. But kids are creative and they’ll figure out tricks to make it work.
  • Dance steps don’t have to be super hard to be tight and polished and effective.
  • Watching students problem-solve when something doesn’t work out is amazing.
  • Costumes can be simple or complex as long as we bring our imagination along.
  • Flexibility is key, especially when doing two group numbers. Sometimes you realize by the third group that another plan would have worked better. You know what? The kids can and will adapt like rock stars.
  • Working with others on a common goal is simply life-giving.

All of this makes me look forward to the next time I get to teach SFAD. All year round, I keep a running list of possible songs in my file cabinet. I look for pieces with repetition, pieces that can be split between groups, pieces that don’t require a gender or an age to be successful, pieces that allow for simple costuming from their closets, pieces that will push them, pieces that will guarantee success, pieces that will be worth learning – even if only for a day.

One last benefit to SFAD that needs to be mentioned: Working together so intensely helps create relationships. It breaks down barriers that we might have chosen to build. It forces us to see gifts in others we might not have taken the time to see. It builds friendships and trust and camaraderie and joy.

So why SFAD? Because it’s challenging, energizing, scary, exciting, fun, funny, creative, silly, serious, educational, enlightening and exhilarating.


Anne Van Deusen

Musical Madness Instructor

Theatre Tour: ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas

We have a very special opportunity for you! WCT’s own John Cramer and Doug Jarecki will be starring in ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas, Doug Jarecki’s hilarious holiday hit from 2015. The show is running December 15-23 at Next Act Theatre in downtown Milwaukee.

‘Twas The Month Before Christmas gives us a unique and hilarious look at Joseph and Mary, the three kings, and the innkeeper in the month leading up to that magical night in Bethlehem. This “smart, silly, and sweet production” (Mike Fischer, JSOnline) is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

WCT is offering a bus tour to see this show on Sunday, 12/17 at 2 pm for ONLY $50! This price includes the cost of a show ticket, ticket fees, transportation to and from the show, WCT administrative fees, and a tip for the driver.

The motor coach would leave Waukesha approximately 1:00 pm, and return to Waukesha at approximately 4:30 pm. We need a minimum of 25 people to participate, but we can accommodate up to 54 on the motor coach. This is an outstanding way to experience all of the holiday fun and none of the traffic or construction in Milwaukee.

*****REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1ST*****

To reserve your spot on the bus, simply email WCT Office Manager Meghan Hopper at mhopper@waukeshacivictheatre.org with your name, the number of tickets you’d like, and a phone number. You can also call (262) 547-4911 and register over the phone.

For more show information, including other performance dates, go to www.nextact.org.

We sincerely hope you can join us for this fun-filled holiday show. See you at the Theatre!