Category Archives: Random Acts of Entertainment

Take One: The ACAP PlayMakers On Film!

The ACAP PlayMakers have been part of the Waukesha Civic Theatre family since 2006 starting with a meeting with John Cramer to discuss how people with disabilities could get involved in some way with the Theatre.

 

“We have our PlayMakers program that no one is currently operating since the two creators of that program retired. Why don’t you start with that.”

 

Us run a theatre program? Nevertheless, John put his faith in us (and a lot of moral and professional support) and here we are 20 shows later.

 

As people have heard about our adaptive theatre work, many more people have joined our troupe. Starting out with 8 people, we now have over 30 people regularly involved in the program (and that’s not including the many community actors that play supporting roles in the cast). As we continue to grow, we are running out of space on stage!

 

That’s where our idea for a film production came from: looking for a way to include more people, given the limited space available at the Theatre.  We figured, if we could create and capture smaller groupings of people on film, and string them all together in a larger story, we would achieve that end.

 

So we are currently learning from scratch the ins and outs of movie making. Join us on Saturday, July 15th to see the final product – Oh, Henry: A Double Feature! Here’s hoping that 20 productions from now, we will be as successful as the ACAP PlayMakers venture has been!

 

~Mark Cage

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Citizen Kane

What would possess a left-leaning 24 year old from Kenosha, WI to co-write, direct, produce and star in a motion picture intended to skewer the oligarchs who controlled the American media in the 1930’s? In Orson Welles’ own words, “Ignorance.” Having already achieved critical acclaim as a theater actor, playwright and director, perhaps it is this audacity of scope combined with the fresh technological innovations of the silver screen that led Welles to create what is now almost universally agreed to be one of the greatest films ever made.

 

Citizen Kane, a fictional biopic of the newspaper magnate Charles Kane, is Welles’ first film and employs numerous experimental techniques developed for this movie. Many of these contributions to style and cinematography have entered the movie making lexicon. Today these remain as fresh and important to the story as when Citizen Kane was released in 1941.

 

Charles Kane, played by the young Orson Welles, is transparent in life and mysterious in death. Welles and his co-writer, Herman Mankiewicz, ask the viewer to share in the detective work of newsreel reporter Jerry Thompson, played by William Alland, to discover Kane’s deepest secrets by investigating the mundane meaning of the final utterance on his deathbed: “Rosebud.” This thinly veiled misdirection provides the audience the opportunity to approach and receive the film on numerous levels. Today, the parallels to our culture remain as strong as they did 76 years ago with just as much opportunity to be challenged and entertained.

 

With a handpicked cast, many of whom such as Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotten would go on to storied careers, Citizen Kane represents a high watermark in cinematic storytelling. Whether you are a fan of film, student of history, have interest in the media’s role in modern politics or simply want to share this experience with friends and family, the Waukesha Civic Theatre invites you to join us at 6:30 pm on Monday, June 5th to watch and celebrate this Hollywood masterwork.

 

Brian Goeller

Board Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Vertigo

Vertigo is a classic Alfred Hitchcock film.  It will make its Waukesha Civic Theatre debut on the big screen at 6:30 pm on May 1, 2017.

John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by James Stewart, is a retired San Francisco police detective with a case of acrophobia.  Madelaine, played by Kim Novak, is the lady who leads him to high places.

Vertigo is a 1958 American crime film.  It is a romantic story of obsession, manipulation, fear, suspense and mystery all wrapped around twisted human psychology.  The versatility and genre befuddled audiences of 1958.  “Dolly zoom,” zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of the view toward or away from the subject created a continuous perspective of distortion.  It was a technique used to increase the drama in a scene.

Hitchcock actually pulled Vertigo out of circulation in 1973.  It wasn’t until 1980 that audiences saw it again and grew to appreciate it more.  A digital restoration of the film in 1996 further returned it to its original glory.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California and Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Scottie’s apartment is one block downhill from the “crookedest street in the world”.  The Mission San Juan Bastista is a real place.  Madelaine jumps into the sea at Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  The views of San Francisco and surrounding area are beautiful.  The step back in time with the classic automobiles of the 1950’s is dramatic.

In 1989 Vertigo was recognized as a “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” film by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in the first year of the registry voting.  As of 2016, on Rotten Tomatoes the film has a “certified fresh” rating of 97%.

What better place to watch this film, considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best, if not THE best, than the big screen at the Waukesha Civic Theatre?

Take a look for yourself and decide whether or not Vertigo is the greatest Hitchcock film of all time.  Don’t leave yourself hanging in suspense (like poor Scottie).

Also, don’t forget, Hitchcock appears somewhere in all of his films.  Will you spot him?

Hope to see you May 1st!

Mary Dembinski

Board Director

Cramer’s Corner: Spring Is In The Air!

As the days get longer and the temperature gets warmer, the smile that’s already on your face can just keep growing when you join us for our April offerings! 

Our next ACAP PlayMakers show, Snow White And The Magnificent Seven, opens tomorrow and has seven performances through Sunday afternoon.

Our next PIX Flix movie of the season will be
E.T. – The Extraterrestrial on April 10 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, and more.  All tickets are $5.00, and we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and … wait for it … POPCORN!    

If you would like to help us select the movies we present in our PIX Flix movie series next season, click
here to complete our survey.

Our next A.C.T. production is
Broadway Bound on Saturday, April 15, at 10:00 am.  

We open our next Mainstage show, 
The Drowsy Chaperone, April 28 and continues through May 14.  The show has three Pay What You Can performances on April 29 at 7:30 pm, May 7 at 7:30 pm, and May 13 at 2:00 pm.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby through April 9 is a group of students from Waukesha South High School.  They were challenged to create art inspired by 33 Variations in only 33 days, and it is amazing!  Our next artist will be Tom Buchs.

If you are looking for a theatre experience outside of Wisconsin, consider joining us for our
NYC Theatre Adventure October 12-15, 2017, or for our trip to Chicago to see Hamilton January 3, 2018.  Contact John Cramer by email or phone (262-547-4911 ext. 13) if you would like more information about either trip.

Our 60th Season is on sale now.  Subscription packages for the Mainstage shows, and individual tickets for everything can be purchased now.  Please join us for the second half of our current great season of entertainment!

Registration is open for our
A.C.T. spring and summer sessions, including our summer ACT production The Lion King JR.  

Just in case you missed it last month, our 61st season will include:

Sex Please We’re Sixty 

(directed by Peter Kao)
        The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
            (an area premier directed by Mark E. Schuster!)
                The House Without A Christmas Tree
(an original adaptation by our own Doug Jarecki directed by moi)
                        The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)
(directed by Dustin J. Martin)
                                Clue: The Musical
(directed by Ken Williams)
                                        Wait Until Dark
(directed by Kelly Goeller)
                                                Father Knows Best
(directed by Rhonda Schmidt)

Season Tickets will go on sale in May 2017.


Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us so far this 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 gift to our 
Spotlight On The Future Capital Campaign
* A matching gift through local sponsoring business employers

* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning

* 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


Happy Easter!  I’ll see you at the Theatre!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

262-547-4911 ext. 13

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

No movie may be more nostalgic of the 80’s than E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. I’d like to welcome you to enjoy our presentation of the April PIX Flix feature on Monday, April 10th This was one of my favorite movies growing up. What could be more intriguing to kids both young and old than the mystery of a young boy befriending an alien from another planet?

From the moment this movie starts, it captures your imagination and relates it all to a young boy with an older know-it-all brother and talkative younger sister.  This younger sister was the breakout performance to none other than Drew Barrymore.

A set around the fall season and Halloween adds to this timeless adventure. The whole story is pulled together by the continued breathtaking music compilations by John Williams.  John Williams has been nominated for 50 academy awards and won 5 for iconic movies like Star Wars and Jaws, including one for this very movie.

This movie has everything a good family movie should have.  There are emotional ups and downs along the way, but it remains one of the most touching family friendly movies of all time.  So please join us with your whole family for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial on Monday, April 10th, and don’t forget the popcorn!

 

Rich Johnson

Treasurer

Cramer’s Corner: We Are Marching Along With Another Great Month Of Entertainment!

Everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer but, lucky for you, we have something for everyone at WCT during the month of March.

We open our next Mainstage show, 33 Variations, next week.  This innovative and inspiring show focuses on a modern music scholar facing the end of her life as she studies the mysteries of Beethoven and the 33 variations of a simple melody he composed while facing the end of his.  The show runs March 10-26 with two Pay What You Can performances on March 11 at 7:30 pm and March 25 at 2:00 pm.  We will also have two talk backs with ALS specialists joining the cast and crew immediately after the performances on March 12 at 2:00 pm and March 19 at 2:00 pm.  And we will be selling raffle tickets for several amazing items including the always popular Discount Liquor Basket.

 

We have two auditions coming up this month.  Barefoot In The Park auditions will be held on Monday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 14, starting at 6:30 pm both nights. Kelly Goeller is directing. And Miscast auditions will be held on March 27 starting at 6:30 pm.  Meghan Hopper is directing.

 

Our next PIX Flix movie of the season will be Mr. Holland’s Opus on March 20 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, Alicia Witt, and more.  All tickets are $5.00, and we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and … wait for it … POPCORN!

 

Our spring fundraiser gala, Festival Of Fools, will be held at Westmoor Country Club on Saturday, April 1st.  We are thrilled to announce that our King And Queen of the festival will be Joel and Rebecca Kleefisch, and our emcee will be Vince Vitrano.  This will be an event you don’t want to miss, so get your tickets NOW!

 

 

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby is a group of students from Waukesha South High School.  They were challenged to create art inspired by 33 Variations in only 33 days, and it is amazing!

 

Our 60th Season is on sale now.  Subscription packages for the Mainstage shows, and individual tickets for everything can be purchased now.  Please join us for the second half of our current great season of entertainment!

 

Registration is open for our A.C.T. spring and summer sessions, including our summer ACT production Disney’s The Lion King JR.

 

Just in case you missed it last month, our 61st season will include:

Sex Please We’re Sixty (directed by Peter Kao)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (an area premier directed by Mark E. Schuster!)

The House Without A Christmas Tree (an original adaptation by our own Doug Jarecki directed by moi)

The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) (directed by Dustin J. Martin)

Clue: The Musical (directed by Ken Williams)

Wait Until Dark (directed by Kelly Goeller)

Father Knows Best (directed by Rhonda Schmidt)

Amazing, right?  Season Tickets will go on sale in May 2017.

 

Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us so far this 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 gift to our Spotlight On The Future Capital Campaign

* A matching gift through local sponsoring business employers

* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning

* 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

On a personal note – my daughter, Elena Cramer, will be playing Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point March 3-5 and 9-11.  My son, Jude Cramer, will be playing Gomez Addams in The Addams Family at Waukesha South High School March 9-11.
I’ll see you at the theatre!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Mr. Holland’s Opus

Next month, on Monday, March 20th, we bring Mr. Holland’s Opus back to the big screen. Friends, bring tissues.

Glenn Holland is a composer who wants to write the great American symphony. Instead he grinds out a career teaching high school music for decades to children of widely varying attitude and aptitude, while fighting his administration for funding and appreciation.

At home he’d love nothing more than to share his love of music with his only child, but tragedy strikes and his son is born deaf. Along with this heartbreak, Holland’s stubbornness causes him to estrange himself from the boy for years.

Michael Kamen was so moved by his experience composing for this movie that afterward he founded the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org) to “[keep] music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs nationwide.”

Richard Dreyfuss gives us yet another Oscar and Golden Globe nominated performance in this modern family classic, with an ending evocative of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Please join me on Monday, March 20th for the feel-good movie of 1995. I’m not crying – you are!

Penzkover Angela 2012Angela Penzkover

Board President

Director’s Notes: Xanadu JR.

Theatre and music have always been a big part of my life. From sitting in the audience, to dipping my toes in my opera studies in college, to jumping in head first into musical theatre after I graduated, I have immensely enjoyed the creativity and passion that are invested in a show. I have always loved being on the stage. Each opportunity I have had has helped me grow as an artist and musician. I never thought in a million years that I would be directing a show. I just loved being on the stage so much that I never thought about reversing my role. When I was presented with this opportunity, I was scared, overwhelmed, excited, and thrilled all at once. There were times when I wasn’t sure how it would all come together, but the magic of theatre and the magic of hard work is a real thing. I have always appreciated the work that a director puts into a show but I’ve never understood it until now. I am very lucky to have a wonderful group of students who want to bring this show to life as much as I do!

Throughout the entire process they have been collaborating with one another and with me to turn our music rehearsals into visions of what the show will be. Our rehearsal space up until now has been a small music room with our twenty-nine person cast crammed into it. As you can imagine, envisioning what it would look like on stage was a challenge. Now we have moved onto the stage and we have fallen in love with the space and even more in love with the show.

Up until a few months ago, I had never even heard of Xanadu JR. When I found out what it was about, I just laughed. We all did. I think that is what made this process even more fun. We knew since it was an unfamiliar show, the expectations would be tempered. So, we played around with it! We created our own vision for our Xanadu JR. Sometimes when you don’t have a preconceived notion of what to expect, you can create your own version of the story.

Another collaboration we have loved is with the art teacher, Anne Fitzgerald. We took our vision to her and she and the art students are bringing that to life. She has been such a joy to work with and has made my first directing experience so fun! The in-school collaboration makes this process feel like a family effort.

Speaking of family, I have been fortunate enough to have a mother, Kitty Messplay, who took my vision for costumes and made it a dream come true. After I had searched high and low for costumes without any luck she whimsically came in and took on the task with determination and grace.

We are very excited to share our show with everyone. Our story is fun and we can’t wait to tell it. There has been, and continues to be, a lot of hard work that goes into Xanadu JR. Over the weekend we will be building our set and making our last finishing touches on the costumes. Be sure to come see our crazy mesh of Greek mythology and 80’s zaniness. Tickets are only $10 each! We cannot wait to share our show with you!

messplay-shannon-2014

Shannon Messplay

Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Casablanca

Put Monday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. on your calendar to join my wife Dawn and me at the Waukesha Civic Theatre to see one of my all-time favorite films – Casablanca for only $5.00.  Critic Leonard Maltin considers it to be “the best Hollywood movie of all time.”

It stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, in his first truly romantic role and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund which her website calls her “most famous and enduring role.”  Critic Roger Ebert called her “luminous” and her chemistry with Bogart: “she paints his face with her eyes.”

Casablanca has some of the most famous lines ever!  Watching today’s news, an anchor said they “rounded up the usual suspects” which Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault says twice to great effect.

One of the best final lines in any movie, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” was added a month after shooting ended.  Other famous Bogart lines are: “We’ll always have Paris,” and  “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Personally I love when Renault says,  “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling’s going on here” and then’s told, “Your winnings, sir.”  I also love when Bogart tells the head Nazi, “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

So come see why Casablanca, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, won Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay at the 1943 Academy Awards and includes the iconic theme song, “As Time Goes By” sung by Dooley Wilson.  Then you should watch Woody Allen’s 1972 film, Play It Again Sam, which Bogart never actually says.

I guarantee you’ll enjoy seeing it on the big Civic screen – “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”  How many films offer comedy, romance, suspense, and the fifth most memorable line in cinema – Rick’s toast to Ilsa, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” which Bogey said to Bergman as he taught her poker between takes.

Nelson Larry 2011

 

Larry Nelson

Waukesha Civic Theatre Board Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: The Wizard Of Oz

We are bringing the silver screen back to the PIX and The Wizard Of Oz is one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie musicals! It’s the 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. Judy Garland plays Dorothy, a Kansas girl who feels somewhat out of place growing up on her uncle’s farm. She captured hearts and imaginations with her rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which stands out as one of the best known musical numbers of the twentieth century.
This film was one of the first to use Technicolor, in filming the Oz scenes. It was also one of the first to be released on videocassette. The Wizard Of Oz celebrated its 77th anniversary in August 2016. It was previewed in three test markets, two of which were in southeastern Wisconsin (Kenosha & Oconomowoc).

This exciting film did not come without its dangers, however. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, reacted to the makeup and had to be replaced. The aluminum powder makeup coated his lungs, causing him to be hospitalized and the makeup team to switch to an aluminum paste over a layer of clown white. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch Of The West, suffered second degree burns when the grease in her makeup caught fire during a Munchkinland scene. They had to fully remove the makeup before treating her burns. After six weeks in the hospital, she returned to finish filming.

Chances are, you’ve never seen this Hollywood classic in the theatre – so join us next Monday, January 2nd, at 6:30 pm to see The Wizard Of Oz on the big screen! The movie starts at 6:30 pm and tickets are only $5! We’ll bring the popcorn, you bring your friends! See you at the Theatre!
danner-katie-2008
Katie Danner
Box Office Supervisor and
Marketing Director