The reasons for wanting to adapt The House Without A Christmas Tree were numerous. Great story, complex characters, a father and daughter reconnecting….I could go on and on. The trick was in HOW to adapt it. Can you take what is there and expand it to a full play without losing the essence of the story? Well, I think you can and I think we did.
John and Kelli Cramer were a big part of this. They are the ones who introduced me to this story. It was one of their favorite holiday stories, and their affection for it was infectious. I read the book, I watched the TV movie, and I was hooked. I just loved it. But I did have some concerns.
First, there was not a lot of attention given to any character outside of Grandma, Dad, and Addie. The characters that were there simply did not have much to do. In order to become a Mainstage production, it needed some of these peripheral characters to become more prominent. The students in Addie’s class, for starters. I wanted to see a little more of the classroom world, and what kinds of characters there were, and seeing Addie in that world helps give us a fuller picture of her.
Luckily, we have an outstanding group of young and talented students in our A.C.T. (Academy at Civic Theatre) program. I had no doubt we had more than enough young talent to fill this classroom with some fun characters. And in the end, these students help shape our perception of Addie, and really do help to tell her story. And these are relationships and students we all experienced in our grade school years–the first crush, the destructive kid, the kid who always bragged about something, the know-it-all. There is something each of us can connect to in this colorful group of kids.
There was also not a lot for the teacher, Miss Thompson, to do. I wanted to find a way to see her grow throughout the play. A big key was adding the characters of the principal and his assistant. This provided the chance to tell a sweet, sometimes clumsy love story between the Eugene and Peggy, with Mrs. Kulwicki giving running commentary throughout.
The final major adjustment I made was that I wanted to lighten things up. The actual storyline between Addie and her father gets quite intense at times. I think the other characters in the play help to offset that drama and keep the story more balanced. I also think the culmination of all of these stories helps to make it a much bigger, more satisfying payoff at the end. There needed to be more hope, more optimism at the end, or else the struggle to get there doesn’t seem worth it. It would be like watching It’s A Wonderful Life, and having George Bailey be “sort of happy” to be alive at the end (spoiler alert-George Bailey lives and he’s THRILLED about it).
At the end of the day, I am a sucker for a sweet and heartfelt holiday show. And that’s what I think we have here. I think audience members will find themselves belly laughing in one scene, and getting choked up in the next scene. This show is nostalgic without being dated. The kind of show where parents can watch with their kids and not worry about questionable content. All of us involved in the show are very proud of that, and we sincerely hope you enjoy it.
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!
Managing Artistic Director
Director: The House Without A Christmas Tree
My Mom had a plaque that said: “All hearts come home for Christmas.” Now that plaque hangs in my home every December.
As the year comes to a close, my grown children will come home from Iowa, Indiana, and Oklahoma, and we will continue our tradition of enjoying the holiday offerings at Waukesha Civic Theatre.
I’m thrilled that our theatre is offering a brand-new play; I predict it will become an instant classic, heartwarming and funny in equal measure.
Civic’s own Doug Jarecki wrote the play. A professional actor, Doug has been a linchpin in the success of this theatre, creating an Education and Outreach program that is second to none. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is a genuinely good human being. Oh, and he’s my homeschooled kids’ favorite teacher.
Past President, Board Of Directors
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!
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
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!
Board of Directors
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!
If You Loved Les Miserables …
You MUST See The Hunchback Of Notre Dame!
History is being made at WCT! A premier, presented by almost 70 creative members of our community (including a live, 14 piece orchestra), a set that has to be seen to be believed, costumes, lighting, sound, and props that rival anything we have presented … a show YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS!
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, the second Mainstage show of the season, opens this Friday, October 27, and runs through November 12. A Milwaukee area premier, this musical drama from the creators of Godspell, Pippin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, and Wicked, is based on Victor Hugo’s famous novel and the beloved classic Disney film. This production is darker than the Disney film and not recommended for younger children. Parental discretion is advised, and we recommend only ages 12 and up attend.
The show features a production staff of 17 led by one of WCT’s favorite directors, Mark E. Schuster, a cast of 20, a cathedral choir of 17, and a live orchestra of 14. That’s right … nearly 70 incredibly talented people from our community are bringing this amazing story to life on our stage! We have FIVE Pay What You Can performances during the run. October 28 at 7:30 pm, November 5 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, November 9 at 7:30 pm, and November 11 at 2:00 pm. Click here for more information or to order tickets.
With the holiday season right around the corner, consider giving the gift of theatre to your friends, family, co-workers … or yourself! Gift certificates are a great idea, or you could give a Festive Flex Four For $64, for sale October 26-December 31, with a 40% Savings off our adult ticket price.
Our fourth and fifth PIX Flix films of the season are Back To The Future on Monday, October 30, and The Princess Bride on Monday, November 13, both films at 6:30 pm. Join Marty McFly and Doc Brown in this blast from the past … er … future … er … you know what I mean. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and more! And it is the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride, which has become a verified classic, and one of the most quotable films of all time. Starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Wallace Shawn, Andre The Giant, Chris Sarandan, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, 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 … wait for it … POPCORN! Click here to buy tickets.
We are partnering with Waukesha Reads and presenting Mike Earp, retired U.S. Marshal, descendant of Wyatt Earp and author, as he speaks about the U.S. Marshal Service -including stories from his own career and what it was like to be a marshal during the time period of True Grit. Join us on November 2 with a social hour and book signing from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, and the presentation at 7:30 PM. Tickets are FREE!
Auditions for The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 6 and 7, 7:00 pm both nights.
Share Your Heart! Heart of Canal Street is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s signature community program. Half of each $3 or $7 Canal Street Bingo game purchased goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund, which totaled more than $1.1 million last year and provided funding to children’s charities in southeastern Wisconsin. Waukesha Civic Theatre is in the running to be a 2017 charity. Help give the gift of a promising future by playing now through December 14. Visit paysbig.com/heart.
Our first of three distinctly different Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concerts will be presented on November 14 at 7:30 pm. The Cadance Chamber Players present a collection of music through time for flute and strings. This diverse program features Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major and Aaron Copland’s Two Threnodies for flute and string trio, as well as Pres-ent for flute and cello by contemporary composer Efrain Amaya. The concert will also include music of Figorello, Dohnányi, and Villa-Lobos. The Cadance Chamber Players are an affiliate of Cadance Collective, a Milwaukee-based music and dance collaborative ensemble creating original performance pieces for the stage. Click here for more information or to buy tickets. If you are interested in the Tremendous Trio package call the box office to see all three concerts and SAVE 19%.
Waukesha Civic Theatre is looking for volunteers to participate in the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday, November 19. If you are interested please click on this link to sign up: 2017 Waukesha Christmas Parade. If you have any questions please contact Phillip Alonge at email@example.com.
Registration is open for our A.C.T. Winter and Spring Sessions, including Star For A Day, a one day camp on November 22.
Get up, get out, and #ShopSmall on November 25 during Small Business Saturday. Celebrate #SmallBizSat with us!
This year, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, we are part of a call to action that will change the calendar and help make history. We are celebrating a day dedicated to giving ‐ when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers, and more will all come together for #GivingTuesday – a movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better, and smarter giving during the Holiday Season that we are proud to be part of. As a non-profit organization, Waukesha Civic Theatre relies on community contributions to raise approximately 35% of our operating budget. There are many ways that you can support the Waukesha Civic Theatre. We would like to encourage our patrons, friends, and fans to kick off the giving season on #GivingTuesday by making a donation to Waukesha’s Cultural Cornerstone, the Waukesha Civic Theatre.
Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is Patricia Gilman Graham.
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: Education and Outreach, Finance and Facility, Fund Development, Fundraising Events (Gala), Governance, and Marketing.
Our Play Advisory Committee and Board Of Directors have completed the selection process for our 62nd Season and we are thrilled to announce that we will be producing these shows in our 2018-2019 Season, starting in September 2018:
The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940
Billy Elliot The Musical
Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
Thoroughly Modern Millie
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?
And of course we are already four months into our 61st Season, with Season Tickets and individual tickets on sale now, so please join us for some great entertainment!
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
The House Without A Christmas Tree
The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)
Clue: The Musical
Wait Until Dark
Father Knows Best
We also have our season ticket package for our Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Series (the Tremendous Trio).
Individual tickets for our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events are on sale now!
Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concerts
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
The Four Guyz In Dinner Jackets
A.C.T. Combat Boot Camp
Singin’ In The Rain JR.
My Funny Valentine
Spring City’s Wild Card Saloon
A.C.T June Summer Showcase
Our PIX Flix Film series is also on sale now, including our new group rate!
Back To The Future
The Princess Bride
It’s A Wonderful Life
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
The African Queen
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
And the artists that will be featured in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby will be:
Patricia Gilman Graham
Christian Education Leadership Academy
Waukesha South High School
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Nicolas Murray, and Edward Weston
The League Of Milwaukee Artists
And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment. WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!
Super Six Subscription Package – Save 26%
Fabulous Flex Pass – Save 22%
Festive Flex Four For $64 – Save 40%
Perfect PIX 3 – Save 19%
Tremendous Trio Package – Save 19%
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%
Student / Senior (60+) / Military Rate – Save 11%
Student Rush – Save 50%
Terrific Tickets – Save 50%
Pay What You Can – Name Your Own Price!
All subscribers also receive the Subscriber Benefits Card with discounts at 18 downtown Waukesha restaurants. And your ticket stub can save you money too!
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 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
Join WCT’s Text Club to receive exclusive offers and updates! Text WCT to 51660.
On a personal note, my son Jude will be appearing as Deputy Governor Danforth in The Crucible at WSHS, with performances on November 10-11.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you at the theatre!
Managing Artistic Director