Category Archives: Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols
Growing up, Christmas Eve was a night I couldn’t wait for. Not only because I knew Santa would be coming, but because it was always a night I got to see all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We would drive to my grandparents and the kids would march upstairs to play together with the old toys that were still there from the generation prior to us. We’d rehearse and put on a concert for our parents (complete with ripped up paper snow) and we knew if we listened closely, we would hear Santa’s sleigh. We always knew we were too loud and rowdy when one of our parents yelled up the stairs because the dining room chandelier was shaking (which happened to be right under the room we were in and right above the table where they were playing sheepshead). Opening presents was always exciting, but not nearly as exciting as the quality time spent with family. It was a night filled with love.
After my grandparents all passed, the family rotated who hosted Christmas Eve for a couple of years and some family members stopped coming. Eventually, my husband and I decided we wanted to pick up the tradition. This year will be our 6th year hosting Christmas Eve and it’s now become one of the days of the year my daughter counts down until. The night is filled with family, friends, singing, laughing and, most importantly, love.
When John Cramer approached me about co-directing and shared the concept for the show, I knew I had to hop on board. I think just about every cast member has commented at some point how much the love the holiday season. It’s been fun hearing the stories from the cast on their favorite holiday memories. Thank you to our cast, crew and production staff for making this story come to life. Every time I work on a show, I’m reminded why community theatre is so amazing.
As you sit back and enjoy the show, you might find a scene reminds you of something, a character may remind you of someone, you might hear your favorite holiday tune, but what I hope the most is that you feel is just how much dedication and love went into this production. Happy Holidays and thank you for coming to the show! Enjoy!
It’s no secret that I love the holiday season. Starting with Halloween, continuing with Thanksgiving, thriving through Christmas, and culminating in New Year’s Eve, these three months are truly “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” I love the lights, the themed decorations, the family gatherings, the parties, and of course, the music and the stories.
The Cramers are more than a little crazy when it comes to celebrating the holidays. First, we decorate like we’ve been possessed by Buddy the Elf. We have seven 30 gallon bins full of decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s that we lovingly haul out of storage and display every year. But it is Christmas that really gets our attention. We have more than twenty 30 gallon bins full of holiday delights. A Santa collection, an elf collection, a village, garlands, wreaths, lights and more take over our home in a festive explosion of color. We have Christmas trees in our family room and all three bedrooms. Some years we add a fifth, or even sixth tree just because. I did say we were a little crazy, didn’t I?
This love of the holidays is where Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols came from. The show started out in 2005 as a musical revue performed at the Waukesha State Bank holiday party by me and my wife Kelli, and accompanied by Abby Lorenz. I put the show together featuring our favorite music and stories, with a little bit of history thrown in, and entertained the WSB employees for an hour.
Then I started thinking about how it might translate to a full production. Good holiday shows are hard to find. There are a handful of traditional classics like A Christmas Carol, Miracle On 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but every theatre produces them, so the holiday entertainment market is saturated with these old standbys. I wanted to create something that could be WCT’s unique holiday tradition so I took that WSB show and expanded it to a full two hour show, with opportunities for community members of all ages to participate. We produced it for the first time in 2009 with a cast of 65 actors ages 6 to 80, and a new tradition was begun. We followed that production with six more versions of the show through 2015. Each year the show changed a little bit, replacing some of the songs and stories with other fantastic songs and stories.
We took a break from the show for two seasons, but are now bringing it back with a brand new story line. I am very excited about this season’s version of the show, and can’t wait to share it with the Waukesha community. Happy Holidays!
Co-Director, Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
While the Waukesha Civic Theatre loves to show off its work in the performing arts, we are proud to present the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our very own lobby! Our display during the holiday season will be featuring pieces from artist Peter Dahlke. As a local business, we love to promote local artists for our galleries.
Peter is a Wisconsin native, living in the good ‘ole dairy state his whole life, minus the three years he served as a medical corpsman in the army. After completing his service, he attended the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education and a Masters of Fine Arts in printmaking and painting. Subsequently, he taught art at MPS and later got into assemblage sculptures. He also enjoys doing work in the areas of acrylic painting, mixed-media, and printmaking. Currently, Peter is a member of the Wisconsin Visual Artists and Milwaukee Area Teachers of Art. Having been in many art shows, we are honored to display his work in our gallery!
Peter credits his interest in assemblage sculpture (a sculpture that is comprised of objects arranged in a way that create a work of art) upon seeing work from Joseph Cornell, his mentor. While working on a piece, he said, “My constructions usually begin with the box into which I add found objects, moving them around until something of visual interest begins to develop.” If you are not sure how to go about viewing such figures, Peter has a few tips. He recommends having a sense of eccentricity, as well as an appreciation of the elements that make up the piece, while approaching his work.
There will be many opportunities to see this wonderful gallery featuring the work of Peter Dahlke. The display will be available for viewing at the end of November, through the beginning of January. If you want to maximize your visits to the theatre, the display will be up during the following shows: Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols, Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe, and Patsy Cline Live! Today, Tomorrow, And Forever. The exhibit will also be a part of the Waukesha Art Crawl on Saturday, December 6th, which occurs a few times a year and allows people to embark on a journey through Downtown Waukesha to view various art galleries!
For more information on the shows, visit: http://www.waukeshacivictheatre.org/index.html
Contact Mr. Dahlke at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By Abbie Bottom