Category Archives: Random Acts of Entertainment
Since it was first published in 1843, Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol has captured the imagination of readers and the spirit of Christmas. The ghostly story of Ebeneezer Scrooge has been adapted for the big screen twenty times, and even more for television and stage. It’s as tied to the holiday as pine trees and sugar cookies. Is there anything that could make this story better?
Add Muppets, of course!
I consider myself something of a Christmas Carol connoisseur. This story, more than any Christmas story (aside from the big one!), is my family’s go-to for the holidays. And The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite adaptation of all time. (With a special shout-out to the George C. Scott 1984 classic!)
Does it help that I was seven years old when it came out in theaters in 1992? Of course! But its heart-warming storytelling and sharp sense of humor (not to mention its clever use of puppetry!) are what bring me back every year to my favorite Christmas movie, my favorite Muppet movie, and, frankly, one of my favorite movies of all time.
The first Muppet movie made after Jim Henson’s untimely passing, The Muppet Christmas Carol features a few nods to the creator, including a shooting star that Kermit the Frog watches early in the movie. Kermit plays faithful employee Bob Cratchit, but I won’t spoil any more clever Muppet casting here for those who haven’t seen the film yet. I will, however, spend some time praising Michael Caine’s performance as Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is always fully committed, even when he’s acting against a miniature mouse Muppet, and his heartfelt performance grounds the story while never getting in the way of the fun.
Every family has its holiday traditions. My family’s Christmas Eve includes corned beef sandwiches and beloved frog puppets. What could be better?
This year, though, I’ll be viewing the movie a bit earlier than usual. (Don’t worry, family, we’ll still get in our Christmas Eve tradition!) I couldn’t miss a chance to see the movie again on the big screen, now could I?
Whether you’re seeing the movie for the first time or the twenty-sixth time (and I may still have you beat!), Waukesha Civic Theatre hopes you’ll join us for our December PIX Flix showing. Tickets are only $5. Be sure to pick up some Pop’s Kettle Corn at the concession stand, and we’ll see you on December 10th at 6:30!
After over 40 years, this action packed thriller still keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. North By Northwest is the best expression of one of Hitchcock’s favorite themes: the wrong man. The wrong man theme puts an everyman into an impossible situation. Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, an ad executive from New York who is mistaken for secret agent George Kaplan. Thornhill gets kidnapped by Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), who tries to kill him. Through the many twist and turns that the movie takes Cary Grant, as usual, is very debonair, sophisticated and believable in his approach to this character. I believe that North By Northwest is Grant’s most celebrated performance. This role lets him play many different character types: hero, clown, victim, drunkard, and – the part that he always plays best – the romantic lead. Grant is in almost every scene and he owns the screen, whether he is being seduced by Eve Kendall or chased by Phillip Vandamm or the CIA.
Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall is also very believable in her part. She is sexy, mysterious and dangerous. She keeps us guessing in each different scene, who her character really is. James Mason is also brilliant in his role as the villain. Mason also has a very sophisticated, charming air about him that even competes with Grant. Jessie Royce Landis is very funny as Cary Grant’s mother. Truly, Grant is the star of this show, but everyone in the show shines in their parts.
The crop dusting scene is my personal favorite in the film. Our hero in the show, Roger Thornhill finds himself attacked by a machine-gun-equipped crop dusting plane. It is one of the most remarkable scenes in film history. It has left me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath every time I watch the film. Although, all the scenes are impeccably done: the Mt. Rushmore visitor center scene, the drunk driving scene, the auction and the UN segment.
Hitchcock’s vision, Grant’s charm, and the rest of the casts’ truly brilliant performances makes this one film that you need to see. Join us on Monday, November 12th at 6:30 pm. See you at the PIX!
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
Who you gonna call? “Ghostsmashers.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but I am sure glad the original title didn’t stick for Ghostbusters. Who could forget the classic 1984 comedy featuring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis, of which Aykroyd conceived and later rewrote with Ramis. From the moment you hear the Ghostbusters theme song, which reached number one on the Billboard charts for three weeks straight, and see the iconic Ghostbusters logo, the movie grabs your attention and the characters keep you engaged with the story and make you smile with their witty comedy.
I remember being a teenager at the time and this being one of the most talked about comedies of the time. The movie was originally intended for an adult audience but the cast and crew were shocked to find that children were loving the film for its fun fantasy adventure of scientists battling supernatural threats with their innovative technology to track down and capture the ghosts and ghouls. This lead to a continuation of Ghostbusters as a successful 80’s Saturday morning cartoon then leading to the sequel in 1989 with the same beloved cast as the first.
So head on over to Waukesha Civic Theatre and grab your bag of popcorn on Monday, October 8 at 6:30 pm for some ghoulish delight from a great cast of characters. You will definitely get your fill of laughs, suspense, and heroic moments. There is even a love to hate antagonist figure that adds additional drama to the overall all battle of the rather unorthodox heroic Ghostbusters. Please get the word out and make our showing of Ghostbusters the highest-grossing PIX Flix film of all time just like Ghostbusters was the highest-grossing comedy of all time (until it was topped by Home Alone).
Board Of Directors
(A hospital room somewhere in Brookfield, WI. 4 A.M. The sound of a baby wailing takes over the scene. The exhausted mother swaddles her son and does the only thing she can think of. She sings)
Mother: For I’m content the Angels must have sent you / And they made you just for me
That very clueless mother was me. The screaming child was my miracle baby. Bleary eyed and overwhelmed, I don’t think I would have been able to tell you my name had you asked. But those lyrics, so perfect for that moment, didn’t just comfort my son. It comforted me.
That is one of the reasons I love the PIX Flix series. The movies shown aren’t just movies. They are the movies that shaped our culture. Movies that make us cry, laugh and occasionally sing. And for me, no movie does this better than Singin’ in the Rain. Full of catchy songs, this movie isn’t just another musical rom-com. It is also the ultimate buddy movie with Donald O’Connor’s Cosmo Brown making us laugh as the OG “ride or die” friend to Gene Kelly’s Don Lockwood.
You will laugh.
You will cry.
You will want to sing along.
What you won’t want to do is miss this one.
See you at the PIX on Monday, September 17th!
After a run of 694 performances on Broadway during the 1955-1956 season, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof made it to the big screen in 1958, just in time for Elizabeth Taylor to get her second Best Actress Oscar nomination in two years. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike and it received five additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Paul Newman); Best Director (Richard Brooks); Best Writing; Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Richard Brooks and James Poe); and Best Cinematography – Color (William Daniels).
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is truly an actor’s movie, and it is one of those rare films where every single actor is perfect.
Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are both brilliant as Brick and Maggie. Not very often is there a screen couple that have the same chemistry together that they do. And those eyes! It is hard to say which of them had the most captivating eyes. Taylor and Newman were more than extraordinarily beautiful. She was an amazing actress, and he is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time. The relationship between Brick and Maggie is fascinating; full of confusion, betrayal, honesty, dishonesty, love, desire, and trust.
As Big Daddy, Burl Ives gives one of the best performances of his exceptional career. Jack Carson, Madeleine Sherwood, and Judith Anderson round out the cast as Gooper, Mae (Sister Woman), and Big Momma, and all deliver performances that are astoundingly memorable.
Tennessee Williams was reportedly unhappy with the screenplay, which removed almost all of the homosexual themes and diminished the original play’s critique of homophobia and sexism. But it is important to remember that the play and the film are two separate entities. The film is an adaptation, and they are not meant to be the same. They should be judged each on their own merit!
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is one of the great pieces of 20th century American literature and cinema. It has some universal lessons we could all profit by in viewing it.
Managing Artistic Director