Category Archives: Waukesha Civic Theatre

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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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

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

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: The Princess Bride

In a 2013 interview, Mandy Patinkin confessed that his favorite line in The Princess Bride is not the immortal words of his character, Inigo Montoya: “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you keeled my father, prepare to die.” Rather, Patinkin’s favorite quote comes from the end of the story, when the heroes are escaping the castle, and Inigo prepares to jump from the window to ride off on one of four magnificent white horses. He pauses and says to Wesley: “I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.”

To Patinkin, this is what it is all about. “The purpose of revenge is completely worthless and pointless and the purpose of existence is to embrace our fellow human being … and turn our darkness into light.”

In today’s world of cynicism, political strife, and discord, Patinkin’s words were never truer. I own multiple copies of The Princess Bride and have seen it, beginning to end, at least 30 times, and yet, if I happen upon it while channel surfing, I immediately stop and luxuriate in the perfection of this movie. It is a classic. A movie that knows what it is. Perfectly cast, beautifully filmed, heartwarming, irreverent, hilarious, and imminently quotable, The Princess Bride is like a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold day.

The beauty of this film is that it is familiar and fresh all at the same time. The story lines are ones we know: a grandfather spending time with his grandson; a son avenging his father; miracles; and, of course, true love. But the movie is intertwined with such joy, humor and unexpected quips, that it surprises and never gets old. No matter our age, gender, background, or mood, The Princess Bride is always the perfect fit.

I first saw The Princess Bride the year it was released (1987). Just a year out of college, it charmed me and made me laugh. Years later, I introduced it to my soon-to-be-husband who immediately fell under its spell. When our children came along, it became a family night favorite and, as they have grown, the jokes have become funnier, the subtle humor more appreciated and the lines more quotable.  On more than one occasion I quoted Miracle Max as they headed out of the house “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”

When released, The Princess Bride was not a blockbuster hit. It wasn’t until release on VCR that it truly hit its stride and became popular. It is now universal. Test this yourself. Ask people you know what their favorite line is from The Princess Bride. You will be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t have a quote or who hasn’t seen the film. In a 2012 interview in New York Magazine, Patinkin said that his most famous line from gets quoted back to him by at least two or three strangers every day of his life. Patinkin told the interviewer that he loves hearing the line and he also loves the general fact that he got to be in “The Wizard Of Oz of our generation.” What an apt description. Like The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride is a celebration of storytelling! So let’s celebrate its 30th anniversary at the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s PIX Flix on Monday, November 13, 2017 – 6:30 pm.

What’s MY favorite quote? Meet me at the Theatre on the 13th, and I’ll let you know!

 

 

Jane Klett

Board Director

Meet The…Office Manager!

Floyd the Flamingo, local celebrity and COO (Chief Office Ornithologist) of WCT recently sat down with the Office Manager, Meghan Hopper.

Floyd: Hi Meghan! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to chat with you. Given my recent stage roles, it’s been pretty busy for me here in the office. How did you get involved here at WCT?

Meghan: I used to usher here when I was in high school. I joined the marketing committee a few years ago, and I’ve been slowly getting more involved ever since! I also used to work in the box office and as a house manager for a while, but I switched over to being the Office Manager in August, 2015.

Floyd: Are you originally from the Waukesha area?

Meghan: I was born in Dearborn, Michigan, but I moved here when I was fourteen and attended Waukesha North High School. After that, I went to UW-Eau Claire where I majored in English Education and minored in Theatre Education.

Floyd: Will we ever see you on stage, or just in the office?

Meghan: I was in Fawlty Towers here a couple of seasons ago, but you probably won’t see me onstage too much. I prefer the backstage side of things – I’ve directed two Miscast cabarets here and I also wrote a script for Combat Theatre. So don’t watch for me onstage, but watch for my name in the playbill!

Floyd: What do you like to do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

Meghan: I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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

Meghan: I would be a peregrine falcon, because I like saying the word “peregrine.” Also, they’re the fastest creatures on earth!

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

Meghan: People in the office probably get annoyed at how much I talk about podcasts. They just don’t understand. Podcasts are great.

Floyd: It’s not just people in the office, Meghan.

Waukesha Has True Grit!

October is almost here and, to me, that means just one thing— it’s time for Waukesha Reads! This year, Waukesha will be reading the great Western novel True Grit. Charles Portis wrote True Grit in 1968, forever giving readers the independent and sassy Mattie Ross and the one-eyed, surly U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn. If you have not already been introduced to this remarkable novel, then you are in for a treat!

It is the goal of Waukesha Reads to unite the community through great books. This program offers citizens the opportunity to read, discuss and explore the themes of a single book with other readers in the community. Through this program, some people will discover the joys of reading for the first time, while others will be reminded of the pleasures of a great book. Everyone will benefit from sharing the literary experience with their fellow community members.

Why read? Growing evidence illustrates that regular reading boosts the likelihood of academic and economic success, awakening a person’s social and civic responsibility. Reading for pleasure is associated with positive personal and social behaviors, both of which impact our community for the better. Simply put, books change people, they change lives and they make us better neighbors. This is why the Waukesha Reads partners feel passionately about reading and its promotion in the community. Reading is the gateway to lifelong learning, personal opportunities and success.

Waukesha Reads would not happen without the support of the community and our local partners. It is this cooperative nature that has made our program such a success over the past eleven years. Partners such as educational institutions, art centers, nonprofit organizations and other area businesses have all jumped at the chance to be a part of Waukesha Reads because they understand the value of promoting literacy in our community. By working together, we reach out to Waukesha’s diverse population, in a variety of traditional and nontraditional ways, to help encourage all citizens to participate. It is our goal that the Waukesha Reads program will bring people together, inspire reading, promote discussion and ultimately strengthen our community.

I hope that you will pick up a FREE copy of True Grit this year, and that you will make it a priority to participate in this citywide event. Whether this is your first Waukesha Reads, or your eleventh, you will undoubtedly find a program or a discussion that catches your eye. Perhaps it will be our (FREE!) keynote speaker, Mike Earp, at Waukesha Civic Theatre on November 2? Waukesha Public Library, and our Waukesha Reads partners, would love to see you there! Books and full event calendars are available at Waukesha Public Library. The calendar is also available online. Happy reading!

 

Kori Hall

Head of Program Development & Community Engagement

6 Plays. 30 Actors. 24 Hours. DON’T. MISS. OUT.

Trust me … you don’t want to miss this show!

 

What Is It?

During Combat Theatre participants create and perform six to eight new plays in 24 hours. Writers gather together on the Friday night before the performance at 7:30 pm and draw a location and a subject out of a hat, and the number of actors they need to write for, and then go away and write a ten to fifteen minute play overnight.

The writers return Saturday morning at 9:00 am with their completed scripts, along with all of the directors, writers, and tech staff, and the directors will then randomly draw which script they will direct, and randomly draw the actors that will perform the script. Then they block and memorize the show, find costumes and props they need, and have a 45 minute tech rehearsal to set light and sound cues.

There is a second rehearsal in the late afternoon with all of the shows running in the order they will perform, and then the performance that night. It is truly creating an evening of theatre in just 24 hours. Astounding!!!

 

When Is It?

And now we are bringing this incredible show to the WCT stage as a fundraiser for our theatre arts education program, the Academy at Civic Theatre. The show is this Saturday, August 26, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25, but the experience is priceless, and all proceeds go to an excellent cause. Don’t procrastinate … get your tickets now.

 

Why Do It?

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in Combat Theatre in downtown Milwaukee several times over the last few years, both as a director and as an actor, and it is truly one of the most amazing and unique theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. It is very challenging and rewarding. I am going to participate as a writer for the first time, and I’m TERRIFIED! I’m also EXHILARATED! I can’t wait, and I hope you can’t wait either.

 

Who Does This?!

Our “Combatants” include Maggie Arndt, Nick Bailey, Tara Cha, Tess Cinpinski, Elena Cramer, John Cramer, Mike Crowley, Alexa Farrell, Janice Ferguson, James Fletcher, Jennifer Fletcher, Tarolyn Fulkerson, Marisa Hernandez, Meghan Hopper, Matt Huebsch, Doug Jarecki, Jon Jones, Sophie Jones, Peter Kao, Stacy Kolafa, Amie Losi, Noah Maguire, Mina Miller, Andrea Moser, Karen Owecki, Chuck Padgett, Lee Piekarski, Cheryl Peterson, Beth Reichart, Sandra Renick, Amanda Satchell, Sharon Sohner, Veronica Somerfeld, Ashley Sprangers, Abigail Stein, Lauren Sutton, John Van Slyke, Kayla Tillisch, Hunter West, Adam Williams, and Karolyn Wokos.

I hope you can join us.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: Disney’s 101 Dalmatians

6,469,952 spots. 101 Dalmatians. 1 highest grossing movie of 1961. Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians has adventure, romance, and a feel-good family narrative that appeals to everyone. Join us at the PIX for this iconic Disney film on Monday, August 14th at 6:30 pm! Tickets are $5 for everyone – unless you bring a group of 10, in which case you’ll only pay $4 a ticket! Quality entertainment doesn’t get much more affordable than that.

Growing up, I always wanted a dog. My kids want a dog. My husband had a dog. Not everyone is a dog person , it’s true, but most of us can appreciate pets and the special place they hold in humans’ hearts and homes. The makers of Walt Disney’s 101 Dalmatians deliberately cast dogs with deeper voices than their human owners so they had more power. They have the power over our imaginations and, ultimately, over the villains in this film.

These 101 purloined puppies also had the power over the visual style of Disney animation for more than a decade. To save on production costs, the filmmakers used photocopying technology (Xerography) for the first time in a Disney feature film. This technique made the visual complexity of the film possible and also set the tone of Disney animation until 1977. It also allowed the animators to have a little fun – there’s a hidden Mickey on almost all the Dalmatians!

I’ll be at the PIX on Monday, August 14th, hunting for hidden Mickeys and cheering on Pongo, Perdita, and their intrepid pups along with my family. We’d love to see you and yours there!

 

 

Katie Danner

Box Office Supervisor

Marketing Director