Blog Archives

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Sex Please We’re Sixty

Greetings!  

It is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 61st season! I want to personally THANK YOU on behalf of the entire WCT family including the Board of Directors, theatre staff, actors, actresses, technicians, ushers, A.C.T. students and families, and all of our wonderful volunteers. As a patron of the arts, you are an essential and important ingredient to every effort that is put on stage at WCT! 

Waukesha Civic Theatre offers a wide variety of performances and educational opportunities that enrich our community’s culture. With so many programs and activities geared for any age you are sure to find something that fits your particular interest. Become an ambassador for Waukesha Civic Theatre and help us spread the word throughout our community about the excellent entertainment and educational opportunities that WCT provides. Your continued support over the past 60 years means the world to us, and we know that “all the world’s a stage…”

 Enjoy this evening’s performance of Sex Please We’re Sixty and we look forward to seeing you many times throughout our 61st season!

 

 

Kelly Vance

WCT Board President 

 

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PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Dead Poets Society

 

“O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills” ~ Walt Whitman

Dead Poets Society is our third PIX Flix in our 61st season! Robin Williams called this one of his favorite performances of all time: “it had some sort of amazing… there’s something in that movie that affected people beyond just a movie.” Join us as we help celebrate his legacy! Get inspired by joining us for this extraordinary film on September 25th at 6:30 pm! Tickets are $5 for everyone – you won’t find a better deal than that!

As in all his roles, Robin Williams lent a certain genius to this film. Playing a new English teacher, John Keating, he sets out to encourage his students to cast aside normality and chart their own course through life. Learning of his colorful past, his students resurrect the unsanctioned Dead Poets Society, and sneak off to explore their own individuality. What follows is a foray you won’t want to miss!

“The poem by Henry David Thoreau that is featured on the front page of the poetry book Neil receives is not an original poem by Thoreau. Rather, it is a rearrangement of sentences from his work “Where I Lived,” Chapter Two from his seminal work, Walden.” ~IMDb

 “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, …” ~Henry David Thoreau

Dead Poets Society won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Tom Schulman). Peter Weir received a nomination for Best Director and the film itself was nominated for Best Picture of 1989. Robin Williams received his second Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination and it has since been widely recognized as one of the actor/comedian’s best roles. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

For only $5, join us on September 25th to celebrate the legacy of Robin Williams, Tom Schulman, poetic inspiration, and our 61st season all at once! See you at the PIX!

 


Jonathan Danner

WCT Board Secretary

 

“Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

~John Keating

Director’s Note: Sex Please We’re Sixty

On the surface, I am an unconventional choice as a director for Sex Please We’re Sixty.  What does a man in his thirties know about the romantic lives of menopausal women and a sixty-something Casanova?  Turns out, not a whole lot. 

But as I got to know Bud, Mrs. Stancliffe, and the visitors of the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast, I discovered a more universal story, one that speaks to people of all ages; especially those of my generation.

In today’s world, more than ever before, we find ourselves looking for a sense of purpose. We get caught up in the business of our jobs, our kids, countless activities, the news of the world. We tell friends and family that we’ll visit, “when things settle down” or “when we have time.” We send emails or texts instead of making phone calls. Entire stories are told in 140 characters, a small series of pictures, or a six-second video. The digital age has made us more connected, but many people feel more isolated.

This show is a reminder that at all ages, we seek love, companionship, and a purpose in life. Sometimes we pretend to be something we aren’t in order to get what we think we want. Sometimes we get stuck in a routine and need an objective person to give us a push in a new direction. Sometimes the things we want require the most effort and time (even 20 years). Sometimes we need someone to see us for who we truly are, flaws and all. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings wanting to be loved and accepted.

Thank you to the cast and crew for all their hard work on this show, to John Cramer for this opportunity to direct my first show at WCT, and to family and friends for their support.

 

 

Peter Kao
Director

 

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: The Rogues Gallery

Rogues’ Gallery is a diverse group of seasoned, eclectic artists: painters, sculptors, metal smiths, bookmakers, muralists and poets…doing what we’ve loved doing for decades – creating artworks to share with the world. Members include Donna Staats, Lynda Brothen, Marcia Houde Hero, Cherie Raffel, Debbie Callahan, JJ Joyce, Susanne Eli Germaine, Thomas Buchs, Beth Stoddard, Daniel Pierce, Julie San Felipe, Laura Easey-Jones, Scott Olson, Brad Anthony Bernard, Carol Christ, Marcia Hochstetter, and Gwen Granzow.

 

Debbie Callahan’s Biography and Statement:

Debbie Callahan was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana and from an early age showed interest in painting and drawing. In recent years she has worked primarily in chalk pastel, acrylic paint, and watercolor, doing mostly figurative and still life paintings. She paints traditional subject matter in an untraditional way. Her lines are often hazy, colors muted and forms simplified. The colors often run into each other. Debbie’s compositions are rarely complicated; she prefers to keep the focus directed on the subject without many distractions in the painting. She tries to integrate these components into a cohesive painting.

To Debbie, artists are born, not created. She has always known she was an artist. She believes, in many ways, an artist’s skills are self-taught. A formal art education can teach us many things about the process but only by having awareness and listening to our own voices can we develop our own unique style of expressing ourselves.

She has studied with many accomplished artists, including James Hempel, Terry Stanley, Joye Moon, and Fred Bell. Debbie has been inspired by many artists who have come before her: Odilon Redon, Marc Chagall, John Singer Sargent, Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, and Louise Bourgeois.

Debbie has exhibited widely, received several awards, and her work has been included in numerous exhibit periodicals and catalogues. One of Debbie’s pieces, Madonna & Child, was chosen from over 100 submissions to be featured on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Christmas Day 2012 as the “Gift of Art” to Wisconsin from the publishers.

She is self-represented in her own gallery, The Martini Girls Gallery & Studio LLC, and is currently working on creating art journals, watercolors on hand made papers, as well as curating and producing group art exhibits. Debbie is active in several art organizations and related activities. She hopes to continue to have an awareness of her inner voice and an expression of it in her paintings.

 

The autobiographical nature of many of my paintings is a therapy of sorts, and has given me the opportunity to look at memories of myself as a little girl from the safer distance of years. I follow the trail of thoughts, the chaos of that time when I had no voice, and put them to paper and create beauty from the pain, a platform to be heard. And my art continues to evolve into further explorations of childhood, in figure and plein air work, especially the plein air allows me to escape into a more soothing and tranquil place to rest and renew.

 

Cherie Raffel’s Biography and Statement:

Cherie Raffel graduated from National Louis University in Evanston, IL in 1972 with a degree in Art History, and a Math/Science minor. She has exhibited at The Knick; the restaurant at the Knickerbocker Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, the Atypic Gallery in Fox Point, the Cedarburg Cultural Center, The Anderson in Kenosha, and the Schauer Center in Hartford, the Grafton Arts Mill, Inspiration Studios in West Allis, and others. Cherie is a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists and the Rogues’ Gallery. She has won numerous awards.

In 2013, Cherie was introduced to plein air painting (painting outdoors), and fell in love with it. She has been participating in many plein air events in the area for the past 4 years. Cherie prefers to work in watercolors and acrylics. Her website is www.cherieraffel.com.

 

A native Wisconsinite, Cherie Raffel loves to paint outdoors to capture the seasonal changes. She also loves to paint flowers. Cherie began painting as a child, and won 1st place in the national contest, “What America Means to Me” sponsored by Standard Oil when she was 12. More recently, she has won several awards in the League of Milwaukee seasonal shows. When asked about what influences her as an artist, she said “I found that being a painter is the best way to express the full range of beauty in nature.” Cherie’s use of color, rhythm, and light invite the viewer to see the subject in a new way.

She has sold in and around Wisconsin, and participated in numerous workshops taught by nationally recognized artists including: Jane E Jones, Naomi Brotherton, M. Douglas Walton, and Don Andrews.

 

Julie San Felipe Biography and Statement:

Julie San Felipe spent her early years in Chicago, and has since lived in the Milwaukee area, currently residing in New Berlin, WI. She has always had an interest in art and words as long as she can remember. Her artistic background includes classes at UW Milwaukee, MIAD, and MATC, that included calligraphy, painting, drawing, art history, framing, and literature. She teaches Irish calligraphy.

Self-study of ancient manuscripts, researching and sampling original materials, meditating over illuminated pages, and understanding and appreciating the dedication of the monks and other artists, she continues to learn using modern techniques. Her participation and love of dance, the Irish language, reading poetry, travels to Ireland and Northern Wisconsin, and music, provide a strong presence in her work.

An award-winning member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, she has also been invited for several solo shows in Wisconsin, including Irish Fest (2006 and 2017), a successful run at Next Act Theatre (2017), Leenhouts Gallery, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, and the IAHC in Chicago.

All of the materials and tools she uses are professional grade, the best paints and paper in the industry, and museum quality archival mats and framing, intended to last nearly forever, (but as with all watercolors, should be kept from long periods of direct sunlight).

The poetry, prose, and songs used in the artwork are either in the public domain or permission was kindly given by the authors. Writers, musicians, and all artists and owners of intellectual property should receive credit and compensation for their work. Talented people are a pleasure to correspond and work with. The words and translations are found on the back of all her framed art.

Calligraphic paintings in watercolor, of figures drifting in and out of poetry,

WEAVING OLDEN DANCES, MINGLING HANDS AND MINGLING GLANCES,

Flirting between reality and ancient, traditional Celtic art.

Hand written words, flowing across paper, telling tales with imagination and originality          

And WITH A FULL BUT SOFT EMOTION LIKE THE SWELL OF SUMMER’S OCEAN,

Where the love of poems and a need for art merge.

Layers of vivid and intense colors overlapping with symbolism and humor

Where THE MOON NEVER SLEEPS WITHOUT BRINGING ME DREAMS

About the lingering passion of place, visits with Ireland, and the nature of Wisconsin.

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

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: West Side Story

Come join us on Monday, July 31st at 6:30 pm for the classic movie-musical, West Side Story! Set against a backdrop of two warring teenage gangs on the streets of New York City in the 1950s, this musical re-telling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet opened on Broadway on September 26, 1957. Racial tensions against a growing immigrant population from Puerto Rico fuel the feud between the Sharks, a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants, and the Jets, a gang of Americans. Caught in the crossfire are the star-crossed lovers: Tony and Maria. While at a school dance, Tony and Maria meet, falling in love at first sight. However, their love is ill-fated as Tony is a former Jet and Maria is the sister of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo.

The story unfolds as told through the dialogue by author Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Together, the team created some of the most beautiful and recognizable songs in Broadway history, including, “Something’s Coming,” “Maria”, “Tonight,” “America,” and “I Feel Pretty.”

That season, the musical was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical. Jerome Robbins won the Tony Award for his iconic choreography.

A film adaptation of the musical was released in 1961, starring Natalie Wood as Maria and Rita Moreno as Anita. West Side Story went on to win 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Musical Score. Jerome Robbins received a special Academy Award for his choreography.

To this day, West Side Story remains a favorite in the theatre community. What better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of West Side Story than to see the film at the Waukesha Civic Theatre on Monday, July 31st at 6:30 pm? Tickets are only $5!

 

Peter Kao

Board Director

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: Les Leffingwell

Biography:

Les Leffingwell is native to the Milwaukee/ Waukesha/ Pewaukee landscape and is attracted by its rich visual arts heritage. He graduated from UWM in 1969 and found work as an art educator, fine art restorer and on-the-spot courtroom illustrator for television news. In 1982, he became owner and sole proprietor of Les Leffingwell Architectural Illustration. His lifelong passion for putting brush to canvas still thrives within and is viewable at: http://leffingwell.artistwebsites.com/

 

Artist’s Statement:

In these times of threats to reduce or eliminate government funding for the creative arts, it is especially gratifying to have the opportunity to show my art at the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery.

For this event, I’ve included paintings of local landmarks (acrylic plein air and Avalon composite poster) and portraits of famous performers and artists (oil paintings). The stylistic spirit of the work is what I like to call “expressionist impressionism” or “painting from the gut.” I’ve been inspired by the bright, bold colors of the Fauvists, such as Kees van Dongen, and the spontaneity of Bay Area Figurative painter Richard Diebenkorn. Also, I rely on a glazing technique taught to me early on by artist and professor Joseph Friebert.

Hopefully, my paintings will involve you to see something in a new light and encourage you to use your own imagination and experience to complete the picture. Please enjoy the show and thanks for looking!

 

 Les Leffingwell

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

Director’s Note: Barefoot In The Park

Barefoot In The Park is known by many for the 1967 movie adaption directed by Gene Saks and starring Robert Redford (Paul) and Jane Fonda (Corie). However, it all started four years before that on October 23rd, 1963 when it opened at the Biltmore Theatre on Broadway. It ran for a total of 1,530 performances closing on June 25th, 1967, making it Neil Simon’s longest-running hit. Robert Redford also played Paul in the Broadway performance, and Elizabeth Ashley played Corie.

This production is set in 1963. While times have changed around the woman’s role in the household since then, many of the challenges Corie and Paul are presented during their first four days living together after their blissful honeymoon, along with how they deal with them, remain timeless.

We laughed a ton during rehearsals as we each thought back to our own relationships, and how spot on Neil Simon was. The nosey mother, the crazy neighbor, and the reality that hits after the honeymoon is over. But, ultimately realizing that with your loved one at your side, you can conquer it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. For many actors, the roles in Barefoot In The Park are bucket list roles, and I know that to be true for several of our cast members. I think you’ll understand why after seeing the show. I am truly lucky for the caliber of cast, crew, and production staff I have working with me side-by-side on this production. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun at rehearsals as I did working with this cast. I hope you have as much fun watching the show as the cast does performing it!

 

Kelly Goeller

Director