Category Archives: Staff

Meet Our Intern: Abbey Schaffer!

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.

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Theatre Tour: ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas

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 mhopper@waukeshacivictheatre.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!

In The MAD Corner…

Cramer John 2006I 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.

 John Cramer

Sound Of Music Director / Choreographer

Managing Artistic Director

 

Gratitude Committee, We Are Grateful For YOU!

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 kdanner@waukeshacivictheatre.org 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!

Picnic 6

Elle & Chris, just goofin’ around

Picnic 2

Some of the Gratitude Committee members, enjoying a beautiful day!

Picnic 3

Volunteers, soaking up the love!

 

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!

When Velociraptors Attack!

VelociraptorThis 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.

2013 Key To The City Award

John Cramer and the Waukesha Civic Theatre received the 2013 Waukesha “Key to the City Award,” which is considered the highest form of municipal honor! It was presented for outstanding contributions to the Waukesha community.

“The practice of presenting a Key to the City to an individual may be traced back to medieval times, when admission into a city was hampered by walls and locked gates. Back then the key symbolized free entry. Today the presentation honors people and organizations for their outstanding civic contributions, and symbolizes that the city is at their service.

“As a citizen Mayor, and custodian for the city residents, I am humbled to give these keys to the following 12 2013 recipients, whom have my utmost respect and whom deserve this recognition. Their contributions have further stabilized the family values of Waukesha — values of empathy, responsibility and creativity. They have carried out these values with strength to proactively build a brighter future — a brighter future for ourselves and for our children,” Scrima said. Mayor Scrima has been giving the award for the past three years.

Mayor Scrima chose John and WCT to receive the award because the work done at the Waukesha Civic Theatre “reminds us all that as different as we might think we are, we all share a universal human experience. Mr. Cramer is personal, funny and touching. They enrich, challenge and make our community smile.”

John has been the Managing Artistic Director at WCT since June 2003. When he started at the theatre, we were open 22 weeks of the year, producing six Mainstage shows, one holiday show, and two PlayMakers shows (approximately 80 performances).  We had a small, inconsistent theatre arts education program offering one or two classes a year.

Today we are open 46 weeks of the year, producing eight Mainstage shows, two ACAP PlayMakers shows, three Education and Outreach shows, and presenting seven to fifteen Random Acts of Entertainment (approximately 130 performances).  Our theatre arts education program is now a full year program, with more than forty classes offered every year, and a robust outreach program offering classes and workshops in the community for schools, community centers, arts centers, and more.

We are not the only ones working to make Waukesha such an outstanding place to live, work, and play, however. Over the past three years, many of Waukesha’s most prominent citizens, businesses, and organizations have been honored with the Key to the City Award.

Other Recipients Include:

2013

Jesús (Jesse) Mireles

Karen Tredwell and the Waukesha Food Pantry

Chris Becker and the Waukesha YMCA

Gregg Wandsneider

Jerry and Judie Couri

Kerry and Terry Mackay

Dr. Amy Schley

John Cramer and the Waukesha Civic Theatre

CEO Peter Davis and Gaco Western

Principal Lisa Kovaleski and Waukesha Catholic School System

Rev. Paul B. R. Hartmann and Catholic Memorial High School

Larry Blanton and MetalTek International

Chief Russell Jack and the Waukesha Police Department

2012

Steve Crandell – Director Community Development

Ron Grall – Director  Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Dept

Rick Congdon  – Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity

John M. Schoenknecht – Historian

Roger Igielski – Allo! Chocolat owner and WDBA president

Nancy Major – Executive Director   Safe Babies, Healthy Families

Renee Ramirez  – Executive Director   Waukesha Community Dental Clinic

Thom Farrell – President – SPX Transformer Solutions

Page Remmers – Executive Director  Waukesha Community Art Project

Todd Gray – Superintendent  Waukesha School District

Brian White – President GE Waukesha Gas Engines

Majors Ronald and Carol Lemirand  of the Waukesha Salvation Army

2011

Fire Chief Allen LaConte

Library Director Jane Ameel

Andrea and Tony Bryant

Susan Edwards and ProHealth Care

President Doug Hastad and Carroll University

Ty Taylor and Waukesha State Bank

Jeff Seymour

Lynn Gaffey

Norm Bruce

Bernie Juno

Anselm Villarreal and La Casa de Esperanza

The Taylor and People’s Park Family

Look for the award and John in our lobby the next time you’re at a show. Without your support and patronage, we couldn’t do what we do. See you at the Theatre!

Meet The…Education & Outreach Administrator!

Floyd, COO

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.

Doug: Really?

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!

Meet The…Marketing Intern!

Floyd, COOFloyd the Flamingo, local celebrity and COO (Chief Office Ornithologist) of WCT recently sat down with the new Marketing Intern, Collin Sznaider. 

Floyd: How did you get involved here at WCT?

Collin: I got involved here at the Waukesha Civic Theatre in early September. I met with the box office supervisor in late August regarding the position of marketing intern and decided it was a good fit. So here I am!

Floyd: Are you originally from the Waukesha area?

Collin: Yes, I was born in Brookfield and have lived here in Waukesha for a majority of my life. I however, attended elementary school through high school in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee where my mother lives. I’m currently a senior at Carroll University located right here in Waukesha and am getting closer to completing my degree in Business with an emphasis in Promotional Marketing.

Floyd: What made you want to stay for college?

Collin: There were two options at the time of deciding where to go to college: 1. Move away or 2. Stay local. I chose the second option, but not only because it was close to home; but to also continue the tradition of my family attending Carroll University. My mother, aunt, and brother have all graduated from Carroll University, and I hope to be the next.

Floyd: What are you goals for your marketing internship here?

Collin: My goals for the marketing internship here is to gain valuable experience for when I graduate and to also have fun. I have a great interest to work in the entertainment business someday and it was one of my goals to get an internship in the entertainment business. I was offered other internships, but the Waukesha Civic Theatre seemed like the best choice for me based on location and opportunity.

Floyd: If you could be any bird, what kind would you be? Why?

Collin: I would be an eagle, because they perch atop tall trees and look to strike for a fish at the best opportunity. Although I’m not striking for fish, I have the mentality to look over things and strike at the best opportunity, like an eagle does.

Floyd: What’s one thing you think people should know about you?

Collin: I hope to one day become a professional actor/voice-over artist. I’m currently in the process of becoming agency represented and hope to get opportunities in voice-overs and commercial acting in this area soon. It’s not a choice that everyone agrees with, but sometimes you have to listen to your gut and go for it, even when the odds are stacked against you.

Meet The…Office Manager!

Floyd, COO Floyd the Flamingo, local celebrity and COO (Chief Office Ornithologist) of WCT recently sat down with the new(ish) Office Manager Kelly Doherty. 

Floyd: I know the people here at Civic are just dying to know more about you.  Are you originally from the Waukesha area?

Kelly: In northern Minnesota I was born and raised.  On the lake is where I spent most of my days.  Swimming and kayaking, paddling the canoe, throwing some Bocce Ball (man, I was cool).   To make a long story short, my family moved to Madison when I was in grade school when my dad got a new job.

Floyd: Did you always want to work in theatre, or was this job a crazy random happenstance?

Kelly: Theatre has been a very big part of my life ever since middle school when I got cast in my very first show.  In high school, I wowed audiences in such critically acclaimed roles as Offstage Voice and Lady 1, just to name a few.  Buoyed by the success of those roles, I decided theatre was my life and focused on it all through college.  It is really great that I still work in theatre.  I can’t say that about all of my classmates.

Floyd: Do you ever bridge out into the performing aspect of theatre, or you a strictly behind the scenes kind of gal?

Kelly: Since moving to Milwaukee six years ago, I’ve appeared onstage with a number of theatre companies including Optimist Theatre, Uprooted Theatre, and was a founding member of Kohl’s Wild Theatre.  I’ve most recently appeared as Oddyseus in the The Penelopiad with Luminous Theatre, and as Sister Berthe in The Sound of Music with Skylight Music Theatre.  You may have also seen me perform in WCT’s very own Comedy Tonight’s Love American Style this past February.  I have recently added the title Playwright to my resume and have written a few shows for Kohl’s Wild Theatre.  When I’m not acing, writing, or office managing, I also teach a number of our ACT classes.

Floyd: What kind of things do you like to do in you free time?

Kelly: When not doing theatre, you can usually find me knitting, sewing, or reading, usually with the assistance of my ever-helpful lap-cat Christine (yes, she is named after the ingénue from Phantom of the Opera).  She is very good at holding things down so they do not float away.  I also love thrifting.  Macklemore got nothing on me.

Floyd: If you could be any bird, what kind would you be and why?

Kelly:  I would like to be a little penguin because they are so flippin’ cute and everybody loves them.  Also, sushi is my favorite food.

Floyd:  What is the one thing you would like everyone to know?

Kelly: I am the funniest person my little sister knows.  No joke.