Category Archives: Staff
Rhonda has been managing theatre departments in an educational setting for nine years after studying at UW-Milwaukee and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has had practical experience as a performer and director in New York and has been present in exploring many avenues in Wisconsin Theatre, including directing, teaching, performing, producing, and designing at Divine Savior Holy Angels, University Lake School, Waukesha Civic Theatre, Sunset Playhouse, The Milwaukee REP, and Skylight Music Theatre.
Rhonda has a love for Waukesha Civic Theatre and the City of Waukesha, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and their beloved pets. She believes that Community Theatre is about building a team of individuals who show-up for one another – to create, to build, to plan, to dream, to clean, and to work – combining the efforts of paid and unpaid artists to create something beautiful. Rhonda looks forward to building a team that will look to the future and longevity of the Waukesha Civic Theatre.
The staff and Board Of Directors at the Waukesha Civic Theatre are excited for Rhonda to join us as we continue to enrich, challenge, and entertain both participants and audience members through our quality, live theatre performances and educational opportunities.
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
My name is Abbey Schaffer and I am a senior at Carroll University. This is my last semester, and I will be graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After I graduate, I am looking to further my education by getting my master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology, but first, I am going to spend some time traveling in Australia after Christmas.
I am always looking for new experiences and skills to gain, so I was interested in getting an internship for my last semester. I was able to get involved with Waukesha Civic Theatre through Carroll. At the time, I was looking for an internship close to campus and in our community, however I wasn’t sure where to go. Thankfully the university has some wonderful connections with different organizations in the community to help students like me find valuable internships. When Carroll suggested that I intern with WCT, I was very interested because I missed being in the theatre atmosphere. I spent some time in high school performing in shows and I really enjoyed working on the sets.
What I find most fun about working at WCT is the spontaneity of my position! There is always something different for me to do everyday! From folding playbills, getting lost in the props room, to lending a hand to help paint the set, it has been such a great experience to see what happens ‘behind the scenes’ of putting on a show. Also, being able to work with the WCT staff and volunteers have been absolutely wonderful! I have met so many creative and fun people who strive to make the community a better place. I am so thankful for all of the experiences I have gained and the connections I have made thus far.
We have a very special opportunity for you! WCT’s own John Cramer and Doug Jarecki will be starring in ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas, Doug Jarecki’s hilarious holiday hit from 2015. The show is running December 15-23 at Next Act Theatre in downtown Milwaukee.
‘Twas The Month Before Christmas gives us a unique and hilarious look at Joseph and Mary, the three kings, and the innkeeper in the month leading up to that magical night in Bethlehem. This “smart, silly, and sweet production” (Mike Fischer, JSOnline) is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
WCT is offering a bus tour to see this show on Sunday, 12/17 at 2 pm for ONLY $50! This price includes the cost of a show ticket, ticket fees, transportation to and from the show, WCT administrative fees, and a tip for the driver.
The motor coach would leave Waukesha approximately 1:00 pm, and return to Waukesha at approximately 4:30 pm. We need a minimum of 25 people to participate, but we can accommodate up to 54 on the motor coach. This is an outstanding way to experience all of the holiday fun and none of the traffic or construction in Milwaukee.
*****REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1ST*****
To reserve your spot on the bus, simply email WCT Office Manager Meghan Hopper at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, the number of tickets you’d like, and a phone number. You can also call (262) 547-4911 and register over the phone.
For more show information, including other performance dates, go to www.nextact.org.
We sincerely hope you can join us for this fun-filled holiday show. See you at the Theatre!
I can’t believe I am starting my twelfth 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.
I am thrilled that WCT is kicking off this season by presenting The Sound Of Music. I love, love, love, love, love this show. I was blessed to play Kurt when I was in the eighth grade and it is truly one of my favorite theatrical memories out of the hundreds of shows I have been a part of. I am thrilled that I am now directing the show. It is truly a classic Broadway musical and quite possibly the most well-known and most love Rodgers an Hammerstein show. Based on the amazing and inspirational true story of Maria Rainer, Georg Von Trapp, and their incredible children, and including one of the best musical scores ever written, it truly is a masterpiece. I can’t thank the cast, crew, and staff enough for all of their hard work, patience, creativity, and humor. We have had a marvelous time putting this incredible show together, and I hope each and every one of you enjoy it as much as we have.
We have 70+ entertainment options throughout the year, with great benefits to our subscribers (up to 40% off!), including our partnership with 16 downtown Waukesha restaurants offering great discounts to all WCT subscribers. You could literally save as much as you spend if you join us as a subscriber. We also have a year-round theatre arts education program with offerings for students of all ages, including adults.
We have lots more music and stories for the Waukesha community to discover. Our 58th Season is full of exciting entertainment options. 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.
Sound Of Music Director / Choreographer
Managing Artistic Director
As you may know, we added a new committee around the middle of our 57th season. The Waukesha Civic Theatre Gratitude Committee is determined to make sure our many volunteers, patrons, donors, and staff know just how much we here at WCT appreciate all the hard work that too often goes un-lauded, though never unnoticed. Char Paulbicke and Debi Mumford are co-chairing this committee. IF this sounds like something you’d like to be involved in, please contact Katie Danner at email@example.com for more information.
One of the things the committee does to celebrate our outstanding volunteers is the Civic Super Star Award. If you want to nominate someone as a Civic Super Star, please fill out a card and deposit it in one of the Super Star Suggestion boxes located in the lobby, green room, and upstairs rehearsal hall. Here are all the Civic Super Stars announced so far:
Becky Miller: Becky is one of our Bartenders. She had the most successful bar in WCT’s history during, “I Got Yule, Babe!” She did an amazing job keeping up with the thirsty patrons and helped make the night a smashing success! Thank you, Becky!
Sean Downs: Sean is one of our Bartenders, Box Office/House Managers, and all around great guy! Thanks to Sean we have booster seats for our family friendly venues, and a time clock in the concessions area to make sure our shows run as efficiently as possible. He has contributed so much to WCT. Thank you, Sean!
Barbara Johnson and Sandy Zingler: Barbara and Sandy have organized the Learning in Retirement, (LIR) theatre/dinner gatherings. They have organized groups to attend WCT productions followed by dinners at restaurants, their homes, and at church often including informative programs. They encourage and welcome new people to enjoy the theatre. On top of all of that wonderful work, Barbara and Sandy have also ushered for WCT for several years and are often called last minute to lend a helping hand. Thank you, Barbara and Sandy! You two are amazing!
Emmie Wendorf: Emmie is a senior at Waukesha North High School and one of our fantastic ushers. During one of our Comedy Tonight performances Emmie stepped up to the plate and helped sell raffle tickets for The Great Gatsby Speakeasy. She stepped outside her comfort zone, offered information, raffle tickets, and a beautifully contagious smile. You are a star, Emmie!
Lee Piekarski: Lee is definitely one of the Civic’s brightest Super Stars! When she isn’t helping out at her church or performing with The Civic Senior Players, she is sewing costumes, washing costumes, arranging the costume room, repairing costumes . . .
Thank you for all the hard work that you do, Lee!
Margaret Kennedy: Margaret ushers, is one of our bartenders, house manages, covers the box office, and is one of the first to step up and help out. Weather she is covering shifts for others, grabbing lunch for co-workers, or maintaining her positive attitude during stressful times, Margaret is a silent source of strength and support! She was also our first DOUBLE nominee! You are amazing, Margaret!
Emilie Grunfelder: Emilie stepped up to cover for Katie Danner in the box office over the summer while Katie is taking care of the new Danner, Talia. Emilie is willing and able to take on any task assigned. She is a bright light in the office! Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Emilie!
Another thing this committee does, to recognize our volunteers who have been with us the longest, is the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dexter Meise has been a volunteer at The Civic for over 50 years! He has ushered, done set work, and has been a priceless asset to WCT. He was presented his award on Friday, March 15th. Congratulations, Dexter!
The Gratitude Committee also makes sure that important milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and births aren’t overlooked. They do this in the monthly newsletter, available in our lobby and here on this blog. That’s also where our award winners are announced. Be sure to check it out the next time you’re at the theatre! Here’s an example of an announcement:
Katie Danner, our Box Office Supervisor, has a beautiful new addition to her family. Talia Amani! She joins her father, Jon, and her brother Byron in the Danner clan! Katie would like to extend a special thank you to John Cramer for covering for her during her Maternity leave. A very special thank you also goes out to Mary Dembinski & Anthony Ventress for taking over management of Friday Night Live and Farmers’ Markets. Congratulations Danner Clan!
Finally, the committee puts on events for our WCT Family. The most recent event was the Dog End Days Of Summer Volunteer Appreciation Picnic, this past Sunday, August 24th. We owe this committee a deep debt of gratitude! Special thanks to Jenny Erato, for sharing these photos with us on Facebook!
This morning, at the theatre, there was a tragic accident. We have been dealing with an infestation of velociraptors for a few months now. Usually the attacks occur early in the morning and are quite brief. The velociraptors are like tiny, sharp-toothed lunchroom bullies. They rush in, steal your lunch, leave you bruised and embarrassed, and rush out again. They can be fended off with a combination of inspiring courage and Nerf guns. However, the latest attack appeared to be very carefully planned. Instead of appearing as we are just settling in for the day, the velociraptors broke into the office before anyone arrived. Our Chief Office Ornithologist and Resident Pink Flamingo, Floyd, was in his perch above the desks.
Kelly Doherty, our office manager, came in at her usual time this morning. She quickly noticed that something was very wrong: the door was ajar and there were pink feathers all over the floor. Floyd was missing! It looked as though he put up quite a fight. We are all hopeful that he managed to escape the dinosaurs and will return to us soon.
Until Floyd returns to use, the “Meet the…” series he was writing will be put on hold. We appreciate any and all information you may have on the whereabouts and condition of our dear Pink Floyd.
Floyd the Flamingo, local celebrity and COO (Chief Office Ornithologist) of WCT recently sat down with WCT’s Education & Outreach Administrator, Doug Jarecki.
Floyd: Hello everyone. I’m here with Doug Jarecki, the Education and Outreach Administrator at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. How are you today, Doug?
Doug: Are you kidding me?!? You’re a talking flamingo! This is amazing. I have so many questions for you.
Floyd: And I have questions for you, so let’s just alternate. First you ask a question, then I ask a question.
Doug: Can we do that?
Floyd: Yes, and since that was your first question, I guess it’s my turn. What is a typical day for the WCT Education and Outreach Administrator?
Doug: Well, the days really aren’t that typical, and I love that. My job covers a lot of different ground. One day I might be teaching an acting class with the ACAP PlayMakers, then conducting a meeting with the Civic Senior Players, then teaching some afterschool classes for our Academy at Civic Theatre. The next day I might be speaking to students at a local school’s fine arts day, writing scripts for a class, then driving up to Hartford to conduct one of our outreach programs. Every day is full of new challenges.
Floyd: In other words, you find everything challenging.
Doug: Yes….wait, what do you mean by that?
Floyd: Nothing. But since you just asked another question, I guess it’s my turn again.
Doug: Oh come on, that’s totally unfair! I deserve another chance.
Floyd: Alright, I’ll give you another chance.
Floyd: And you just wasted your question again.
Doug: Ugghhh, come on! One more chance!
Floyd: Ok Doug, one more chance. But make it a good question.
Doug: Oh it is. It’s a great question. I’ve waited my whole life to ask it. Are you ready? Oops….wait, I didn’t mean to….NOOOOOOO!!!!!
Floyd: Thank you, Doug, that really was a great question. My turn: What do you do when you’re not at WCT?
Doug: Just recently I wrote a children’s show that’s running at a local theatre. And I still do a lot of acting around Milwaukee, both on stage and in commercials. In fact, I am currently in a series of Fleet Farm commercials. Maybe you’ve seen them.
Floyd: You play the dumb guy in those commercials, right?
Doug: Yes, I do. So you’ve seen them?
Floyd: No, you just give off a vibe. To wrap things up, I would like you to tell us one last thing about yourself in ten words or less.
Doug: Ten words?!?! Seriously? That is going to be really, really…
Floyd: And that will do it for us here. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to learn more about Doug Jarecki, WCT’s Education and Outreach Administrator. See you at the theatre!