Blog Archives

MAD Corner: Fawlty Towers

We end our 59th Mainstage season (and thirteen years of putting up with me as WCT’s Managing Artistic Director) with a show that is perfectly silly and full of fun … Fawlty Towers. This John Cleese British television farce has become a cult classic and Netflix favorite. The show is a potpourri of delightful and hilarious characters and situations.

We recently announced our lineup for our historic 60th season and are thrilled about the variety of high quality entertainment we are offering for our Diamond Anniversary. We are sure that you, the Waukesha community, will find something you like from our list of exciting entertainment.

In addition to that, we have been blessed with the incredible support of the Waukesha community as you support us as patrons, donors, and volunteers. We are excited about the future and the possibilities that lie before us, and we can’t to move into the next season with enthusiasm for the arts, our community partners, and all of the people that have been touched, and will be touched by the Waukesha Civic Theatre, a true gem in the heart of Wisconsin. I want to thank everyone for joining us, and I hope you are enjoying the ride as much as we are.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider a donation of any size to our Spotlight On The Future Campaign, a major gift drive with a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. We have raised more than a third of our goal, but we need your help to reach the full amount.

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

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Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Fawlty Towers

What better way to end our 59th Season at Waukesha Civic Theatre than with the outrageous laughs provided by Basil Fawlty and friends in Fawlty Towers, based on the 1970s British sitcom of the same name.  I have fond childhood memories of watching Fawlty Towers with my father when it was first aired in the US; it was one of the few TV shows he thought was worth watching.  It’s an all-time classic, to be sure, as the British Film Institute put the show at #1 on its BFI TV 100 in 2000.

In our upcoming 60th Season, we’ve got more classics planned in our Mainstage series, starting with Gypsy in September and followed by To Kill A Mockingbird.  To help celebrate this big milestone season, the cast of Gypsy will include the incomparable Kelli Cramer, starring as Rose, and John Cramer as Herbie.  John will also direct Gypsy, and auditions for all remaining roles will be held on June 17-18.

For further details on Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 60th Season, feel free to pick up a 2016-2017 Season Calendar on your way out – better yet, take more than one, give them to friends, and let them know about the wonderful shows you’ve see here.

Finally, as a board director who is also an actor, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of Waukesha Civic Theatre.  This institution means so much to me and to everyone else on-stage, off-stage, and behind the scenes; it’s truly a blessing in our lives.  Thank you!

Mallmann Jim 2012Jim Mallmann

Board Director

Director’s Notes: Fawlty Towers

Welcome to Fawlty Towers. Or should I say, welcome to the 70’s. Of course, there’s nothing screamingly dated about this play, nor is there anything offensive, so as they say, it holds up. No my friend, what you are about to witness (or have already witnessed, if you waited to read this until you arrived at home) is simply a British themed comedy sometimes called “farce”, which is simply funny. There’s no plot, or deep-seated theme that you must be emotionally affected by, there’s no “message” to perceive, no mystery to unravel. Nope. None of that here. Just some harmless laughter at Basil Fawlty’s expense. It is your opportunity to forget the insanity and drama of the world outside these doors, and have a good time. Laugh! After all, laughter is the best medicine, good for the soul, and it burns calories!

 

Scott David 2004David Scott

Director

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Leading Ladies

Ventress Anthony 2014Lights, camera, action! Well, maybe no ‘camera’, but when the lights dim at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, there’s certainly a lot of action! We are currently in our 59th season and we are proud of what we have to offer our patrons and the local community. This season has been phenomenal with classics like A Little Night Music and The Turn of the Screw. In addition to a variety of performances, we offer a host of programs and activities for all ages and interests. You can choose your level of involvement.

*New education and outreach programs including Pee Wee Players.

*New Broadway Bound classes for 6-19 year olds.

*Theatrical classes offered at WCT.

*Volunteer support at Waukesha Farmers Market along with several other opportunities like show ushering, maintenance support, set development, and more.

We welcome your involvement and patronage at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. Thanks for your continued support.

Anthony Ventress

Board of Directors

Director’s Notes: Leading Ladies

Martin Dustin 2012Men dressing up as women has long been used as a comedic device in theatre and film – perhaps most famously in Billy Wilder’s brilliant film Some Like It Hot.

Leading Ladies is highly reverential of William Shakespeare and, in particular, his play Twelfth Night – which perhaps you saw staged at WCT in 2010. As such, Leading Ladies and Twelfth Night employ many of the same comedic elements such as disguises, mistaken identity, juxtaposition, wordplay, repetition, and eavesdropping.

Contained within the best comedies is heart. While the play examines male and female roles mostly from a comedic sense, it’s Meg and her awareness of her own personal standing in the world and her desire to ascend to different heights that delivers the heart. I’d like to think that if Shakespeare were writing in the modern age, Leading Ladies is exactly the kind of farce that he would write.

Enjoy the show!

Dustin J. Martin

Director

MAD Corner: Leading Ladies

Cramer John 2006Farces are fun. It’s that simple. They’re fun to watch, they’re fun to be in, and they’re fun to direct. And Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies is one of the best farces that has ever been written. With the delightful addition of a touch of Shakespeare and all the classic elements of farce, including men who shouldn’t be wearing dresses wearing dresses, we’ve brought together what I hope is a wonderful night of entertainment for you. Sit back, relax, let us tickle your funny bone for a couple of hours and … have fun!

Last fall, we announced Spotlight On The Future, a major gift campaign with a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. So far we have raised 45% of our goal and have already put these donations to good use. A new HVAC unit, our new lighting catwalk, our new retractable movie screen and projector, a new sound board for the Mainstage, and new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and treasure that you give to WCT. Keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

MAD Corner: Almost, Maine

Cramer John 2006

Almost, Maine is one of those shows that makes you say “awwww” and “what just happened?” in the same moment. I love that. It is sweet and quirky, funny and sad, a slice of life and completely bizarre all at the same time. We hope you enjoy this charming little story about love, life, and living as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to our stage.

Last fall we announced Spotlight On The Future, a major gift campaign with a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. So far we have raised 45% of our goal and have already put these donations to good use. A new HVAC unit, our new lighting catwalk, our new retractable movie screen and projector, a new sound board for the Mainstage, and new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and treasure that you give to WCT. Keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director’s Notes: Almost, Maine

Kaye David 2015As Valentine’s Day comes around, our thoughts inherently turn to love. This doesn’t mean we are all thinking the same thing. Some people remember the first kiss, the first look, long love that you slip into like a comfortable robe, or the love that broke and we left behind. Almost, Maine is all of these. This play is a snapshot of love in all its glory, grandeur, tears, and hope. As we peek into these characters’ lives we get to see memories of ourselves and the loves we’ve had, lost, dreamt of, and hope to find soon. To embrace love, we must accept every aspect of it. That is why this play is special; it lets us give the gift of love in all its forms to some of the most important people in the world, you, our audience.

Happy Valentines, and may you see the love on stage that you will find yourself.

David Kaye

Director

 

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Almost, Maine

Vance Kelly 2015

Love is in the air! Welcome to Waukesha Civic Theatre and this performance of Almost, Maine. A town so far north, it’s almost not in the United States…it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist because its residents never got around to getting organized! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had this to say: “Joyful, sad, haunting. Delivers unexpected twists. Clever. Almost, Maine is a bouquet of love stories. There’s something about Maine that propels its writers beyond the comfy campfire and into the woods, where anything can happen…and often does.”

When it comes to great entertainment, there is no better jewel than Waukesha’s own Civic Theatre. Now in its 59th season, 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 to fit 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 the theatre provides.

And now as Sam Cooke sang…“Cupid draw back your bow, and let your arrow flow, straight to my lover’s heart for me!” Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Kelly Vance

Board of Directors

The Anatomy Of A Film Series

By Katherine Simon

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 2015-2016 season saw some exciting new additions to the calendar, including the PIX Flix Movie Series, our very own season-long film series that’s bringing the Silver Screen back to the PIX. Over the course of the season, we bring you 12 different movies, each with their own unique connection to the live productions and events taking place here at the PIX.

As this was WCT’s first time doing something like this, I quickly realized the first thing I would need were some guidelines. For this and the coming season, I have operated under four relatively loose restrictions:

  • To include as many people as possible in this exciting new endeavor, the movies would not be rated anything higher than PG.
  • The films would somehow compliment the live offerings of the theatre at the time of the screening.
  • Whenever possible, the movies would not exceed two hours in length (there are a few, rare exceptions, of course).
  • The series itself would be a mix of movies from across decades and genres.

Some choices were easy, like the very first movie of the season. I knew our first should be a first, and, as Toy Story was turning 20, it seemed only logical, to my mind, to choose the first feature length, computer animated film as our first offering.

During the parts of the calendar when we don’t have a show running, we always offer Academy at Civic Theatre sessions. As such, I wanted to program movies for the whole family. Finding Nemo helped round out the summer, and Happy Feet accompanies the frigid January temperatures.

For the bulk of the calendar, though, I tried to choose movies that would augment the shows being produced at the time. Some are obvious choices, like the pairing of Leading Ladies and Some Like It Hot in March, or Cinderella’s Fella and Enchanted in April. Some are less so and rely on thematic ties, like September’s pairing of An American In Paris and A Little Night Music, which shared the interplay of social and economic classes in a European setting. Or the varied perspectives on love brought to the stage and screen by Almost, Maine and Breakfast At Tiffany’s in February. Some not only matched the mainstage shows, but also the time of year, like Hocus Pocus (October) and Elf (December).

Most of the films also match their respective live theatre pairings in genre. The Turn Of The Screw and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane chilled us in November. May will find us tapping our toes to musicals loosely based on real people and events with The Harvey Girls and Annie Get Your Gun. In June, we’ll finish the season laughing at the British farce of The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Fawlty Towers.

Covering genres ranging from thriller to musical to comedy and 61 years of film history, the PIX Flix Movie Series seeks to enhance your Waukesha Civic Theatre experience by bringing movies back to the PIX. Movies are screened one Monday a month at 6:30 pm and tickets are only $5. See you at the Theatre!