Category Archives: Mainstage Performance

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)

To be, or not to be, that is the question

-Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.

What quote could be more quintessential than this line from quite arguably the most renown English poet and playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. If you thought you were about to embark on an emotional journey of a tragic Shakespeare play, then the answer to the question is “not to be.” O…there will be emotion, not of a tragic nature but of a comedic twist on the plays that have shaped and influenced countless authors, playwrights, and screenwriters for centuries. Get ready to be taken on a witty paradoxical weaving of all 37 Shakespearean plays in 97 minutes.

We have many opportunities throughout the year to enjoy, in more than one way, the offerings at the Civic. If after seeing The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) you want to dust off your acting skills, we encourage you to audition for any of our upcoming shows. If acting isn’t up your alley, purchasing tickets to our upcoming shows or donations are always a welcomed support of the theatre. We also have many opportunities for volunteering your time to the theatre to help keep it in the pristine state and experience you are used to after all of these years of entertainment.

So grab your tissue box–not for the traditional tears of sadness you get from Shakespeare but because you will have countless tears of joy from the non-stop laughter from this fresh take on these timeless stories. Please spread the word to your family and friends about the great works Waukesha Civic Theatre has to offer. Remember, we cannot provide this great entertainment without the support of our collective Civic family.

 

 

Rich Johnson

Treasurer

Board of Directors

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MAD Corner: The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)

I love, love, love, love, love William Shakespeare. I have been blessed to appear in four different productions written by the Bard, and they are some of my favorite memories. When I was a young man of 17 years, I set a goal for myself to read everything Shakespeare wrote over the summer. I didn’t quite make it. I read all the sonnets and about half of his plays, but that was as far as I got before the fall came and I had to move on to my exciting first year of college. If only The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) had been available to me then! I first saw this play almost twenty years ago, and it made a huge impression on me. It became one of my favorite plays of all time. One of the great things about this comedy is that you don’t need to be a fan of Shakespeare to enjoy it. The madcap mayhem is accessible to everyone!

We hope you enjoy this clever and silly show as we present 37 of the Bard’s plays in just 97 minutes!

Thank you to everyone that supports WCT! 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 joining our Curtain Call Club and 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.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director’s Note: The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)

I usually use this space to share with you the themes of the play, what they mean to me, and how they apply to our present time and culture. And indeed, the plays of William Shakespeare have had a profound impact on my life. It was seeing The Comedy Of Errors as a sophomore in high school that first got me interested in theatre and radically changed my life. I am working my way through seeing all his plays performed on stage or screen (only six to go!).

Well, forget all of that. Sure, The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) is an appreciation of the playwright and his immeasurable impact on the world. But, don’t worry – no knowledge or love of Shakespeare is needed. I think The Today Show put it best when, reviewing the show they stated: “If you like Shakespeare, you’ll love this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll love this show!”

So, prepare yourself for a whirlwind theatrical experience that is unlike anything you’ve seen before. This is going to be a high-speed roller coaster ride so buckle in and keep your hands and feet inside the theater at all times.

Oh, and one more thing… you best be ready. You never know when we might be calling on you for help tonight!

 

Dustin J. Martin

Director

Introducing The Cast Of The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)!

What actors in their right minds would agree to perform all 37 of William Shakespeare’s shows in only 97 minutes? When there are only 3 of them?

Turns out, JJ Gatesman, Nicholas Callan Haubner, & Jillian Smith are up for the challenge! Here’s a little bit about this phenomenal group of actors:

 

JJ Gatesman

JJ is MFA from Western Illinois University. Currently in Milwaukee, his recent credits include Romeo & Juliet (Summer Stage Of Delafield), The Glass Menagerie (Company Of Strangers), and The Nautical Journey of Dick III (Quasimondo)JJ would like to thank all those folks for whom Shakespeare is challenging and came to the show anyway.

 

Nicholas Callan Haubner

Previous WCT performances include 33 Variations (Mike) and Leading Ladies (Leo). Favorite Shakespearian roles include Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick) and Romeo & Juliet (Mercutio) with SummerStage of Delafield, and King John (Hubert) with Shakespeare & Company. Local favorites include Beauty And The Beast (Gaston), Of Mice And Men (Lennie), Same Time Next Year (George), and Oscar in The Odd Couple (2017 Footlights Performing Arts Award Winner-Best Actor). Training: BFA in Acting from UWM.

 

Smith Jillian 2018Jillian Smith

Jillian has spent the last decade making Soulstice Theatre her creative home on stage and off, serving as Artistic Director since 2013, and is thrilled to now be making her WCT debut! Her favorite role is Sarah in Children Of A Lesser God, while directing highlights include tick, tick… BOOM!, The Explorers Club, and Secret Garden. Jillian and her husband, Shannon, are raising beautiful theatre nerd daughters, Sydney and Zoe, in Milwaukee.


In the capable hands of  director Dustin J. Martin, you know this madcap comedy will be smart, hilarious, and brilliantly executed. Join WCT for a foray into the Bard’s work like you’ve never experienced before! Performances are February 2-18, 2018, including two morning performances for school groups. Call or email kdanner@waukeshacivictheatre.org for more information about educational group rates. Tickets are available online 24/7 or at the box office (Tuesday-Friday, noon-5 pm) 262-547-0708.

 

“…it gives me great pleasure to announce that we are about to attempt a feat that we believe to be unprecedented in the history of civilization. That is, to capture, in a single theatrical experience, the magic, the genius, the towering grandeur of The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare.”

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

A View From The Choir

Outside of contributing to the drama of this show as part of the Cathedral Choir, I work with homeless individuals and families to evaluate the cause of their homelessness in order to stabilize their situation. It’s funny that whenever I mention to people I work with the homeless, everyone starts to drown me out with their own supposed expert opinion of why people are really homeless based on a few people they have met and maybe talked to for ten minutes. The homeless are more often seen as a stain on the city, and blamed for their own condition, and kicked out of public places quite similar to the treatment of the people labeled gypsies in this show. Even for myself in my own work, when I think I have someone all figured out, the repulsive behavior of Claude Frollo is a good reminder of how often we make judgments and moral assumptions about someone whose life we barely know without allowing them to tell their own story. We can be much more like Frollo than we’d like to admit, perpetuating racism and poverty by being much quicker to condemn than to try understand or help.

How often are we really like Esmeralda, willing to risk the hostile stare and revile of others to show kindness to someone who is despised and outcast? Yet Esmeralda is demonized based on her cultural background, assumed lifestyle and moral character without out ever being allowed to speak for herself at all. She is even wrongfully accused of witchcraft.

And in regards to Quasimodo, he is just like the people that we today dehumanize and stigmatize and want to pretend are not a part of our society and want to keep hidden because seeing them disturbs us.

Why does it disturb us to see disfigured people? Or homeless people? Why is it so hard for us to let people from other cultures, creeds or lifestyles be? Is it because it makes us feel guilty? Because we need someone else to look down on as morally inferior? Or because it reminds of the fragility and vulnerability of the human condition that so scares us? Any of us are just a few paychecks away from being homeless, one accident away from being disfigured or disabled, one move away to a neighborhood or country where we are the minority and the stranger.

Despite all this, to quote Archdeacon Frollo, these are crimes for which the world shows little pity. Waukesha Civic Theater’s Hunchback of Notre Dame powerfully shows the cruelty of prejudice and hypocrisy in the name of moral authority and progress, backed by the easily influenced populace. Five hundred years later, the medieval attitudes of Frollo and the angry mob are terrifyingly familiar to how we as individuals and a society treat others today, more than they are on a commentary on a distant backwards past.

The cast and all involved in this production, beautifully illustrate the power and value of theater, through story and song to challenge us and to bring light to what dark part of us needs to be acknowledged and left as a part of history, if we really want that kinder, fairer, and wiser someday to come before the people who need our compassion and understanding the most, are gone.

Amy Teutenberg ~ Cathedral Choir

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

Welcome to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame! This production at Waukesha Civic Theatre is truly a must-see “TV” (Theatrical Venue) event. This is an amazing institution that showcases local talent in quality shows, and I am proud to be on the Board of Directors. Do not miss other sell-out performances this season! We have some great productions yet to come.

We have an amazing array of entertainment and involvement opportunities all year round: Mainstage, Random Acts, A.C.T., Friday Night Live, PIX Flix, our community partnerships such as ACAP, and Waukesha Reads, and a host of special events. You can be involved on and off stage! So whether you can pound a nail, sing a solo, teach kids, focus a light, or just have a passion for the arts, there are plenty of ways to get involved. I encourage you to speak to any board member about being part of this community.

In the original work, Victor Hugo expressed his passions for maintaining a reverence for the achievements of a society in transition. Today, live theater stands in stark contrast to the bite-sized hand held electronic entertainment that consumes so much of our modern era. And this live experience does not exist without performers and patrons who have a passion for the arts. Please come join us in that important community expression.

See you at the Theatre!

 

 

Brian Goeller

Vice President

Board of Directors

MAD Corner: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

WCT is both proud and delighted to present the area premier of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame! Inspired by and using some of the music from the Disney cartoon, this incredible new musical brings Victor Hugo’s amazing story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Pheobus, and Frollo to life on stage, working with some of the darker themes of Hugo’s novel.  Guided by Mark E. Schuster, one of WCT’s premier directors, and featuring a lush and beautiful score played by a full orchestra and sung by 40 powerful voices, 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.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director