Whenever I told anyone I was directing a play called The Underpants, I was almost always met with the same response. A small smile. A polite laugh. A sideways glance, cautious but intrigued. I would go on to give a brief synopsis. 1910 Germany. A woman goes to see the king in a parade, and there is a mishap with her skirt. Her underpants are seen. In public. Then several guys want to move into her boardinghouse because of it. Typical hijinx ensue. And even better, it was adapted by Steve Martin. Yes, THAT Steve Martin, the hilarious American actor and comedian. All of a sudden, those smiles got bigger, those laughs got louder. It suddenly was not only acceptable, but understandable, that this show was about underwear. To me, that’s what theatre is all about. I love a great farce. The sillier the better. It’s an escape from reality. A chance for all of the stress and anxiety of daily life to melt away for a couple of hours. To not take life too seriously. To enjoy silly facial expressions, physical humor and witty wordplay. We had so many laughs as we brought these crazy characters and silly situations to life. I hope you have just as much fun watching it as we had putting it together. And it’s okay if you laugh loudly and laugh often, even if a few of the jokes are a bit naughty. You spent your hard earned money to come see a play about underwear. What else would you expect?
It’s the best movie of 1973 — the Academy says so. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Score bring its total Oscar wins to seven, with three more nominations (Best Actor for Robert Redford, Cinematography, and Best Sound) to boot. And what a film! It’s got everything: charismatic leads, despicable villains, a charming supporting cast of connivers and swindlers, and a brilliant score to match.
The Sting is the ultimate con movie, and its PG rating keeps it friendly for the whole family.
The film features Paul Newman and Robert Redford at the top of their charismatic game, Robert Shaw as the mustache-twirling villain, and a whole cast of characters helping along the way (including Robert Earl Jones as Luther and Eileen Brennan as Billie). Directer George Roy Hill also directed Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Slap Shot, and Hawaii. Screenwriter David S. Ward went on to write Major League and Sleepless in Seattle, among others, and his gift for comedy shines through in the dialogue and charm of The Sting.
When Johnny Hooker (Redford), a small-time grifter, unknowingly steals from the ominous Doyle Lonnegan (Shaw), the big-time crime boss demands satisfaction after the insult. After his partner is killed, Hooker seeks out the help of Henry Gondorff (Newman), master of the long con, to take Lonnegan down.
All it takes is a little Confidence.
The indelible ragtime tunes of Scott Joplin, as adapted for the film by Marvin Hamlisch are, technically, completely wrong for the period in which The Sting is set. Ragtime music, most popular in the 1910s, was well out of fashion by the film’s 1936. And yet, I would challenge anyone to find music that fits the film better than Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” The two are inextricably linked now for audiences: when someone thinks of the movie, they’ll hear the first few piano notes of the song, and vice versa.
WCT has undergone a lot of changes in the last few months, from upgrading our lighting system to hiring a new Managing Artistic Director. You won’t want to miss anything our theatre has to offer, so get your tickets early!
Well, we can’t go and spoil the movie, now can we? If you want to see how it all plays out on the big screen, you’ll just have to come see The Sting at WCT on March 11!
Rhonda has been managing theatre departments in an educational setting for nine years after studying at UW-Milwaukee and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has had practical experience as a performer and director in New York and has been present in exploring many avenues in Wisconsin Theatre, including directing, teaching, performing, producing, and designing at Divine Savior Holy Angels, University Lake School, Waukesha Civic Theatre, Sunset Playhouse, The Milwaukee REP, and Skylight Music Theatre.
Rhonda has a love for Waukesha Civic Theatre and the City of Waukesha, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and their beloved pets. She believes that Community Theatre is about building a team of individuals who show-up for one another – to create, to build, to plan, to dream, to clean, and to work – combining the efforts of paid and unpaid artists to create something beautiful. Rhonda looks forward to building a team that will look to the future and longevity of the Waukesha Civic Theatre.
The staff and Board Of Directors at the Waukesha Civic Theatre are excited for Rhonda to join us as we continue to enrich, challenge, and entertain both participants and audience members through our quality, live theatre performances and educational opportunities.
Welcome to The Underpants, a hilarious comedy by Steve Martin based on Die Hose, German play written in 1910 by Carl Sternheim. The play begins with a most unfortunate wardrobe malfunction that briefly leaves a young woman caught with her pants down, both literally and figuratively. Everyone involved in the incident, including her husband, gets their knickers in a knot as they try to iron out the wrinkles this delicate situation has caused. What’s revealed is an intimate piece of comedic schadenfreude that is sure to charm your pants off.
What I love about Waukesha Civic Theatre is the many opportunities available to get involved. In my tenure here at WCT, I have been an actor, costume assistant, stage crew, production director, and Board Director. This spring, I will take on a new role as Props Designer for The Giver (May 2-19, 2019).
This particular production of The Underpants continues the tradition of providing opportunities for participants to try some new skills. WCT audiences are used to seeing Gwen Ter Haar and Phil Stepanski playing various characters on stage. This time, they have taken on new challenges as Costume Designer and Director, respectively.
If you’ve ever thought about volunteering at Waukesha Civic Theatre, please consider joining our team where you can share your talents or discover new ones!
Thank you for choosing to spend your time at Waukesha Civic Theatre and enjoy the show!
Board of Directors
“Now, I have some instructions for you….” DON’T MISS THIS FILM!
I fear I am not a good enough writer to describe the myriad of reasons to come see Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, on February 11 at 6:30 p.m. I also don’t have enough room on the page.
Wikipedia tells us it is a 1967 American comedy-drama, starring film-legends Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy and is one of the few of that time to depict interracial marriage in a positive light. At the time of its release, laws prohibiting interracial marriage had only recently been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Frank Rich, in a 2008 New York Times article, noted that “[t]hough the film was a box-office smash and received 10 Oscar nominations, even four decades ago it was widely ridiculed as dated by liberal critics. The hero, played by the first black Hollywood superstar, Sidney Poitier, was seen as too perfect and too ‘white’.” But, according to director Stanley Kramer, the film was intentionally structured to debunk ethnic stereotypes and purposely created idealistically perfect, so that the only possible objection to him would be his race, or the brevity of the 10-day engagement. This factor lends itself to the concerns of both sets of parents: the lack of thought and consideration to what a mix-race marriage would mean.
While a victim of its times, with all the clichés and what some will find politically-incorrect positions, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner transcends the shallow, ridicule-filled approach of today’s films, with a subtle, empathetic and non-judgmental recognition of the very real, and very personal, struggles of all its characters. Though it may have all of the flaws its critics claim, it is still a great film that recognizes that there is always more than a single layer or motivation behind our behavior and portrays this internal deliberation with sensitivity and understanding. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of scenes where blatant racism is called out and ridiculed, not the least of which is Hepburn’s surgeon-like extraction of her snoopy, ill-mannered employee.
For me, the beauty of this film is not the obvious. It is not the crackling dialog addressing the issue of race in a way few movies of its time dared, but rather, it is the study of two mature marriages and the generational conflict of a father and son. Both concepts are portrayed throughout the film, but most beautifully by Beah Richards as she reproaches Spencer Tracy’s character in the most dignified and heartfelt scene in the movie, juxtaposed artfully with Poitier’s angry, yet loving, discussion with his father’s character about their difference in self-image and what it means to him as a man.
In 2017, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It was the winner of the Best Screenplay Oscar and gave Hepburn her second Oscar for Best Actress. It is the last time Hepburn/Tracy were on screen together and indeed, the last film of Tracy’s career – he died just days after its release and it was questionable he would even complete filming. Hepburn and Tracy may be the main dishes of this fantastic meal, but delicious performances by Poitier, Beah Richards, Isabel Sanford (best known for her role as Weezy in the T.V. sitcom The Jeffersons) and Cecil Kellaway make for a banquet to be savored. Just as a fine chef layers flavor upon flavor to achieve a culinary masterpiece, Kramer and the all-star cast serve up a multi-layered film that makes us not only laugh and cry, but critically consider our biases and relationships.
Will you be coming?!
The Springs originally was the site of three springs in the era, hence the name and three colors in the logo. The Springs’ location at 521 Wisconsin Ave., was formerly the Spring City Pattern Works (wood pattern factory) in early 1900’s. This founding company was later paired with Leitner’s Auto Body Shop on the 519 side. Most Waukesha residents today recall the Springs as a cooperative Antique Store for 25 years until 2008 when purchased by the current owners and transitioned into The Springs: Gallery, Studio, and Creativity Pumphouse.
The true origin of my artistic journey was a visually rich childhood spent in a small town on a high farming plateau in Washington State. I was especially drawn to the animals on those picturesque farms. To me, they all had very distinct personalities and a quiet dignity. And, though my adult life took me into big cities, my heart has always been happiest roaming the pasturelands and barnyards.
In midlife, I was drawn to oil painting and sought out classes and workshops. I have been very fortunate to train with several excellent painters. My artistic education began with classical training in oil painting and portraiture finally settling into Russian Impressionism. The hallmark of this Russian Impressionistic style is the impact of the rich, glowing light found in the early morning and late evening hours – that luscious low-slung light that electrifies the edges of everything it touches. This is what moves me and this is what I love to paint.
Rose Lange is a professional artist and educator living and working in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Rose enjoys the challenge, and loves surprising viewers, by up-cycling found materials like old jewelry, beads, small toys and chip bags in creating mixed-media mosaics and small, whimsical figurative sculptures.
Rose creates in her private studio at The Springs Gallery and Studios, and also exhibits and sells her work at The Almont Gallery in downtown Waukesha.
Rose has been the Art Specialist for Waukesha Catholic School System since 2001.
Cyndy had a near death encounter with a city bus soon after relocating to Nashville for her business career, which brought home the message, ”If you want to make art…you’d better get to making it!” Soon after, she quit her day job, enrolled in Art School and she’s been making art ever since.
She has worked in a variety of mediums and genres including figure, landscape, and most recently abstraction. Her work has been juried into competitions both regionally and nationally
“Bold colors and composition draw me into the creative process. The body intuitively knows what it needs, and if you listen to that voice, it will guide you to the place you need to be at that moment. By creating calm among the chaos of life, I am able to hear my own voice, and thus, better hear the voices of those around me.”
Thomas Buchs – Oil Painting
I attended Layton School of Art and became an Illustrator, creating artwork for advertising, and children’s books for many local and national companies during the last 46 years. Much of my current work is Plein Air Painting (painting from life outdoors). I try to capture the light and atmosphere of a scene within a few hours. I believe that a painting is not just a two dimensional illusion, but also that of a moment in life, captured by an artist on canvas. I have received many awards from local advertising associations, and nationally from The Society of Illustrators, as well as dozens of awards in Plein Air painting competitions around the country. My studio can now be found at Atelier/Plein Air at The Springs Gallery and Studios.
I am a landscape architect who has a passion for fiber arts. I learned to weave and hand spin yarn 32 years ago at a community art center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I enjoy sharing my love of fiber arts with the people who visit the markets and fairs I attend through spinning and weaving demonstration. In 2016, I realized my dream of having a studio. Lost Art Fiber and Textile Studio at The Springs Gallery and Studios is open for workshops. In addition to teaching adults, I’ve enjoyed working with schools and students in discovering the creative possibilities in fiber arts. I am inspired by color and texture, especially those found in nature. In addition to the thrill of working with the elements of color and texture, I have found that fiber art activities can provide a meditative experience. I am currently a member of the Wisconsin Handweavers Guild and Madison Weaving Guild. In 2014, I started Common Threads Fiber Group that meets at the Waukesha Public Library. I do volunteer work at Donna Lexa Art Center in Waukesha and Angel’s Grace Hospice program where we create a commemorative weaving during their annual remembrance ceremony.
The Casa de Esperanza Charter School is pleased to present to you this beautiful display of Christmas art projects made by our students with my collaboration as an art teacher at our school. Our students are children between grades K4 to third grade. In addition, they participate in our arts class every day for a period of 45 minutes where, using a variety of manipulative materials, they are exposed to experiment and develop their skills, creative abilities, and imagination in the composition of different projects.
For this exhibition, we decided to select various Christmas cultural elements that represent the nationalities of our students. For example: our K4 students make ornaments using wooden sticks to create elves, reindeer, snowmen, and Santa Claus. The students of K5 made paintings with fingerprints, hands, and feet. The students of first grade made sculptures of wool yearn creating snowmen. The second grade students painted flags representing the nationalities of our students, embodying Christmas elements such as: Puerto Rico (The Three Kings); USA (Santa Claus); Mexico (La Flor the Noche Buena); Venezuela (El Nacimiento); and Nicaragua (El Arbol de Navidad). To finish, the third grade students made mosaics representing The Three Kings, Christmas Wreaths, the Flower of Christmas Eve, The Bells, and The Candlestick.
We greatly appreciate the Waukesha Civic Theatre for the opportunity they have given us to present our Christmas artwork in this fabulous exhibition for the enjoyment of all families.
La Casa de Esperanza Charter School
To Kill A Mockingbird could easily borrow a line from Dickens that said… “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This cinematic classic is based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel about innocence, strength and conviction. Experience one of the most significant milestones in film history…nominated for 8 Academy Awards and starring screen legend Gregory Peck as courageous Southern lawyer Atticus Finch. Peck’s Academy Award winning performance was hailed by the American Film Institute as the greatest movie hero of all time.
There are so many life lessons to be taken from this classic story…from Scout’s perspectives on growing up as seen through adult eyes as Jean Louise narrates the story. It truly is “the best of times” as we witness the adventures of Scout, Jem and Dill and they dare to discover the legend of Boo Radley. Through Atticus’ wisdom the children learn that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”
As the story develops “the worst of times” is portrayed when an angry mob attempts to take Tom Robinson from the safety of the jail…only to be stood down by Atticus and Scout in the end. The angry hatred and racism incited by Bob Ewell toward Tom Robinson leading up to and throughout the trial provide some intensely dramatic moments.
The highlight of my 40 plus year community theatre acting career has to be delivering Atticus’ closing argument monologue in defense of Tom Robinson. Very powerful and emotional even now as I reflect on that scene.
This is one of my personal all time favorite movies. However, my affection for the movie begins with the classic novel and stage play. As I pen this blog I am drinking coffee from a mug that says…
What would Atticus do?
A present from the young actress who played Scout onstage at WCT in November 2016. It was truly a blessing and honor to portray Atticus finch with an amazing ensemble cast. I will always remember the final scene of the stage play when looking across the stage to see young Scout returning home from escorting Boo Radley and making brief eye contact with the adult Jean Louise as it becomes clear to her that Atticus knew that she was “already beginning to stand in other peoples’ shoes!”
Please join us on Monday, January 7 at 6:30 pm, sit back and enjoy every classic minute of this cinematic treasure as we present…
Board Of Directors
This is a bittersweet moment. Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols will be my last show at WCT as Managing Artistic Director.
I care deeply about the Waukesha Civic Theatre, and have put my blood, sweat, and tears into my work here for more than 15 years! It has been my honor and my privilege to be part of this amazing organization and to work hand in hand with the people that are the theatre’s life source.
Thank you for the support you have given me, the WCT staff, board of directors, volunteers, and the entire WCT Community.
It’s no secret that I love the holiday season. Starting with Halloween, continuing with Thanksgiving, thriving through Christmas, and culminating in New Year’s Eve, these three months are truly “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” I love the lights, the themed decorations, the family gatherings, the parties, and of course, the music and the stories.
The Cramers are more than a little crazy when it comes to celebrating the holidays. First, we decorate like we’ve been possessed by Buddy the Elf. We have seven 30 gallon bins full of decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s that we lovingly haul out of storage and display every year. But it is Christmas that really gets our attention. We have more than twenty 30 gallon bins full of holiday delights. A Santa collection, an elf collection, a village, garlands, wreaths, lights and more take over our home in a festive explosion of color. We have Christmas trees in our family room and all three bedrooms. Some years we add a fifth, or even sixth tree just because. I did say we were a little crazy, didn’t I?
This love of the holidays is where Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols came from. The show started out in 2005 as a musical revue performed at the Waukesha State Bank holiday party by me and my wife Kelli, and accompanied by Abby Lorenz. I put the show together featuring our favorite music and stories, with a little bit of history thrown in, and entertained the WSB employees for an hour.
Then I started thinking about how it might translate to a full production. Good holiday shows are hard to find. There are a handful of traditional classics like A Christmas Carol, Miracle On 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but every theatre produces them, so the holiday entertainment market is saturated with these old standbys. I wanted to create something that could be WCT’s unique holiday tradition so I took that WSB show and expanded it to a full two hour show, with opportunities for community members of all ages to participate. We produced it for the first time in 2009 with a cast of 65 actors ages 6 to 80, and a new tradition was begun. We followed that production with six more versions of the show through 2015. Each year the show changed a little bit, replacing some of the songs and stories with other fantastic songs and stories.
We took a break from the show for two seasons, but are now bringing it back with a brand new story line. This year’s adaptation is near and dear to my heart, with the Bickford family and friends based on my own life and circle of family and friends. I’ve loved working on this show again, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Not only that, the holiday season at WCT is full of amazing entertainment options, including An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern, I Got Yule, Babe, our PIX Flix feature film The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Comicality.
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 … wonderful gifts of theatre to share with anyone, or to treat yourself! Happy Holidays!
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.”
Co-Director / Choreographer
Since it was first published in 1843, Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol has captured the imagination of readers and the spirit of Christmas. The ghostly story of Ebeneezer Scrooge has been adapted for the big screen twenty times, and even more for television and stage. It’s as tied to the holiday as pine trees and sugar cookies. Is there anything that could make this story better?
Add Muppets, of course!
I consider myself something of a Christmas Carol connoisseur. This story, more than any Christmas story (aside from the big one!), is my family’s go-to for the holidays. And The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite adaptation of all time. (With a special shout-out to the George C. Scott 1984 classic!)
Does it help that I was seven years old when it came out in theaters in 1992? Of course! But its heart-warming storytelling and sharp sense of humor (not to mention its clever use of puppetry!) are what bring me back every year to my favorite Christmas movie, my favorite Muppet movie, and, frankly, one of my favorite movies of all time.
The first Muppet movie made after Jim Henson’s untimely passing, The Muppet Christmas Carol features a few nods to the creator, including a shooting star that Kermit the Frog watches early in the movie. Kermit plays faithful employee Bob Cratchit, but I won’t spoil any more clever Muppet casting here for those who haven’t seen the film yet. I will, however, spend some time praising Michael Caine’s performance as Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is always fully committed, even when he’s acting against a miniature mouse Muppet, and his heartfelt performance grounds the story while never getting in the way of the fun.
Every family has its holiday traditions. My family’s Christmas Eve includes corned beef sandwiches and beloved frog puppets. What could be better?
This year, though, I’ll be viewing the movie a bit earlier than usual. (Don’t worry, family, we’ll still get in our Christmas Eve tradition!) I couldn’t miss a chance to see the movie again on the big screen, now could I?
Whether you’re seeing the movie for the first time or the twenty-sixth time (and I may still have you beat!), Waukesha Civic Theatre hopes you’ll join us for our December PIX Flix showing. Tickets are only $5. Be sure to pick up some Pop’s Kettle Corn at the concession stand, and we’ll see you on December 10th at 6:30!