Category Archives: Mainstage Performance
This is a bittersweet moment. Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols will be my last show at WCT as Managing Artistic Director.
I care deeply about the Waukesha Civic Theatre, and have put my blood, sweat, and tears into my work here for more than 15 years! It has been my honor and my privilege to be part of this amazing organization and to work hand in hand with the people that are the theatre’s life source.
Thank you for the support you have given me, the WCT staff, board of directors, volunteers, and the entire WCT Community.
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. This year’s adaptation is near and dear to my heart, with the Bickford family and friends based on my own life and circle of family and friends. I’ve loved working on this show again, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Not only that, the holiday season at WCT is full of amazing entertainment options, including An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern, I Got Yule, Babe, our PIX Flix feature film The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Comicality.
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 … wonderful gifts of theatre to share with anyone, or to treat yourself! Happy Holidays!
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.”
Co-Director / Choreographer
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!
Introducing some members of the cast of Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols! The show runs November 30-December 16, 2018. Tickets are available online 24/7 or at the box office, two hours before any performance and Tuesday-Friday from noon to 5 pm. See you at the Theatre!
Happy Holidays and welcome to the 62nd season and return of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s production of Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols. This production started from the creative mind of our very own Managing Artistic Director, John Cramer. John will reprise his role directing and updating his original WCT classic. I still remember the early variety show in which my oldest son had the pleasure of playing Charlie Brown back in 2011. Also, my youngest daughter elated the audience singing “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” in 2015. While the show has changed throughout the years, it is still one of the best ways to enjoy the Holiday season. I hope you, like me, are looking forward to seeing what surprise John may have in store for us in the return of this beloved Holiday adventure. This family-friendly show never fails to captivate the essence of the Holiday spirit.
Thank you for supporting our theatre with your patronage. Please also remember there are many ways to support the theatre while providing you discounted ticket prices with our Festive Flex Four For Sixty-Four membership available throughout the Holiday season. You can also take advantage of our Terrific Tickets by utilizing your ticket stub for you or a friend to see this show again for half price.
The theatre also welcomes many different volunteer opportunities to help support everything that goes into shows and keeping the theater immaculate. Volunteer opportunities include ushering, maintenance, set development, and serving on a committee or on the Board. These are just a few of the opportunities to help the theatre.
Enjoy the show and please have a safe and Happy Holiday!
Board of Directors
Welcome to the Waukesha Civic Theatre and this performance of Billy Elliot The Musical. In my tenure as a board member, I have heard repeatedly from our patrons their desire for WCT to bring modern and challenging shows to the community. What show better fits that bill then Billy Elliot, an award winning show that has thrilled audiences around the world while promoting acceptance and open mindedness and positively challenging notions of traditional gender roles. Scored by Elton John, this show is a great showcase for local talent of all ages to sing, dance and perform.
Waukesha Civic Theatre counts on your support to be able to continue to bring great performances and opportunities to our community. Let your friends, family and neighbors know how much you enjoyed this show and spread the word on social media.
The board, cast, crew and volunteers, not just of Billy Elliot but from the dozens of events each season, sincerely thank you for coming out and being a part of the Waukesha Civic Theatre.
Thank you and enjoy!
Board Of Directors
Just in case you’re confused about why you are still getting a Cramer’s Corner from me…the explanation is simple. Even though I am moving on to the Oconomowoc Arts Center, I am still helping out at WCT on a part-time basis as we work through the transition to new leadership. I’ll be around for November for sure, and maybe even into December, so you might still catch me hanging around the theatre.
We’ve got a lot going on as we head into the holidays, so there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy and to get into the spirit of the season.
Our second Mainstage show, Billy Elliot The Musical, continues for two more weekends through November 11.
Our Random Acts Of Entertainment continues with a tribute to Carole King and James Taylor. You’ve Got A Friend performs November 5, 6, and 8 and features Kerry Bieneman, Casey Olson, and Melissa Cardamone.
Our fifth PIX Flix film of the season is North By Northwest on Monday, November 12 at 6:30 pm. This classic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock stars Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and more! All PIX Flix tickets are $5.00, or groups of ten or more for $4.00 each. And of course we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and POPCORN from Pop’s Kettle Corn!
Our third Mainstage show, Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols, opens at the end of the month on November 30 and runs through December 16.
Check out our Academy at Civic Theatre. Registration is open for all our great theatre arts education offerings through June 2019.
Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is Pat Williams through November 19.
We still have room on our bus to see Dear Evan Hansen in Chicago on February 27, 2019. If you are interested and want more information about either of these trips, let me know and I can send you the details.
Are you interested in helping WCT make decisions about everything we do? Join A Committee and get involved. We have lots of great committees to choose from: Art Gallery, Diversity, Education and Outreach, Finance and Facility, Fund Development, Fundraising Events (Gala), Governance, Marketing, and Play Advisory.
Our 62nd Season subscription packages, individual tickets, and group sales are all on sale now. Join us for all of our Mainstage shows, Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education & Outreach shows, PIX Flix Films, and Fundraising Events.
Our Mainstage Season includes:
Billy Elliot: The Musical
(Directed By Mark E. Schuster)
Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
(Directed By John Cramer and Kelly Goeller)
(Directed By Phil Stepanski)
Thoroughly Modern Millie
(Directed By Jim Padovano)
(Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger)
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?
(Directed By David Kaye)
Our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events include:
You’ve Got A Friend
An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
Waukesha STEM Academy’s Fame JR.
My Funny Valentine
The Wizard Of Oz Unplugged
The Shamrock Shindig (A Gaelic Gala)
A.C.T. June Summer Showcase
Our PIX Flix Film Series includes:
North By Northwest
Muppet Christmas Carol
To Kill A Mockingbird
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Field Of Dreams
And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment. WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!
Flex Pass Membership – Save 22%
Subscriber Rate – Save 22 to 31%
Group Rate (Ten Or More Tickets) – Save 22 to 31%
Educational Group Rate (Ten Or More Tickets) – Save 31 to 63%
Senior (60+) / Military Rate – Save 11 to 15%
Teen Rate – Save 15 to 33%
Child Rate – Save 31 to 44%
Terrific Tickets – Save 50%
Pay What You Can – You Name Your Savings
All subscribers also receive the Subscriber Benefits Card with discounts at 17 downtown Waukesha restaurants. And your ticket stub can save you money too!
Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us every season. If you would like to donate, you can choose from any number of ways you could help us not only maintain, but thrive, as Waukesha’s Cultural Cornerstone.
Please Consider Giving …
* A gift to our Operating Fund
* A matching gift through local sponsoring business employers
* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning to our Curtain Call Club
* A gift by donation to CARS
* A gift by shopping through Amazon Smile
* A gift by purchasing something on our Amazon Wish List
* Choose WCT as your Thrivent Choice charitable organization
* Become a Sponsor of outstanding performances and educational programs
Save the date for #GivingTuesday 2018! Kick off your holiday giving season by supporting the Academy at Civic Theatre (A.C.T.)!
On a personal note, my daughter Elena has been cast as Veronica Sawyer in Heathers: The Musical at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, with performances November 9-17. And my son Jude has been cast in The Laramie Project at Waukesha South High School with performances November 9-10. And Doug Jarecki and I are going to be performing Doug’s show ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas at Vogel Hall November 28-December 2.
I’ll see you at the Theatre!
Managing Artistic Director
Bringing this story to life has been something of a challenge and at the same time, a real pleasure. Billy Elliot is a show that has a lot of dance elements in it (because Billy dreams of being a ballet dancer, that makes sense…) and I’m not used to working on a show that has so much dance involved. I have been SO lucky to be able to work with Ceci and Emily and their amazing commitment to creating the first rate dance numbers you’re about to see. It has been so cool to see the cast grow through rehearsals and watch the numbers really come together. Our collaboration has helped shape the feel of the production and helped me to be a better member of our creative team. I’m glad I had Ceci to rely on and bounce ideas off… she’s done amazing things!
I had the privilege of seeing this show in NYC in 2009 and it quickly became a favorite of mine. I could easily relate to Billy and his dreams of being something other than what was expected. The most moving part of this show to me, is how the community comes together in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty for them to help Billy reach for his dreams. Their support and encouragement help him find the strength to be true to himself and start down his path to the future.
I’ve always had the support of my family and close friends – they’ve been “right behind me” as I’ve been following my dream of doing theatre for nearly 40 years. This production staff has also been such a pleasure to work with – Ceci, Sharon, Yeng, Michael, Chris, Josh, Keith, Emily, Terri, Kristin and of course my Stage Manager (and right arm) – Debbie (you’re STILL not fired!!). Thank you guys SO much! My job is easy when I have the quality support and creativity that you bring to our productions! This cast has been a joy to work with as well. They truly represent the spirit of Community Theatre and have worked VERY hard to bring this story to the stage.
I hope you enjoy our show as much as we’ve enjoying bringing it to you. I have to agree with the lyrics in Expressing Yourself – “life is gray enough without making it worse – what we need is INDIVIDUALITY!” I hope you find the courage and the support to truly be who you are. Follow your dreams, you never know where they will take you.
Mark E. Schuster
WCT is both proud and delighted to present Billy Elliot The Musical. Inspired by and based on the powerful movie from 2000, with additional music by Sir Elton John, this incredible musical tells the story of Billy, a boy torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. Guided by Mark E. Schuster, one of WCT’s premier directors, and featuring a talented cast of actors from our community, I am confident that our production will astound everyone who sees it.
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.
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.
Managing Artistic Director
I want to welcome you to The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940, the first Mainstage offering of our 62nd Season at Waukesha Civic Theatre! As President of the Board of Directors, I am delighted that you have chosen to spend a few hours with us to enjoy quality live entertainment.
Waukesha Civic Theatre offers a wide variety of performances and educational opportunities that enrich our community’s culture year round, from our Mainstage series, Random Acts of Entertainment, Education and Outreach series, and our PIX Flix movie series to our community partnerships such as ACAP PlayMakers, the Waukesha STEM Academy, the Waukesha Art Crawls, and our downtown restaurant partners.
With so many programs and activities geared for all ages… you are sure to find something to fit your particular interest. Conquer your fears and audition for one of our productions, satisfy your artistic abilities and help build a set, sew costumes or be part of a stage crew! Showcase your vocal ability with the Civic Broadway Singers or the Civic Senior Players.
Sponsor a table or help behind the scenes with our Gala fundraiser The Shamrock Shindig on March 16, 2019!!
The realm of possibilities for involvement abounds and we invite you to take action and get involved! Pick up one of our 2018-2019 Season Calendars at intermission and I encourage you to speak to any Board member about how you can get involved in our community.
Become an ambassador for Waukesha Civic Theatre and help us to spread the word throughout our community about the excellent entertainment and educational opportunities that the theatre provides.
Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Sixty-Two Amazing Years. Wow! Since its very modest beginnings in 1957, WCT has produced more than 500 shows and continues its long-standing tradition as Waukesha’s first choice for quality live entertainment. According to the American Association of Community Theatres, there are over 7,000 community theatres in the nation, and only 100 of them are on record of having survived for 60 years or more, so WCT is in a very elite group of theatres.
I can’t believe I am starting my sixteenth season with the Waukesha Civic Theatre. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It has been a pleasure and an honor to work in this beautiful facility for this incredible organization and with this amazing community, and I look forward to many more seasons of high quality live entertainment.
We are kicking off our 62nd season with a comic mystery, combining two genres that our audiences and our actors love to love. They’re fun to watch, they’re fun to be in, and they’re fun to direct. And The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940 fits the bill. Sit back, relax, and let us stimulate your cerebellum and tickle your funny bone at the same time. Have fun!
See you at the Theatre!
Managing Artistic Director