Blog Archives

MAD Corner: Barefoot In The Park

We end our 60th Mainstage season (and fourteen years of putting up with me as WCT’s Managing Artistic Director) with a show that is one of the best shows from one of America’s best playwrights … Barefoot In The Park by Neil Simon. I love Simon’s plays across the board, but this one has always been one of my favorites.

We recently announced our lineup for our historic 61st season and are thrilled about the variety of high quality entertainment we are offering. We are sure that you, the Waukesha community, will find something you like from our list of nearly 100 exciting entertainment options.

We have an incredible opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS presented to us and we need your help to take full advantage of this amazing offer. Scott and Nancy McCaskey & Family have challenged us to provide funds for several much needed operational improvements at Waukesha Civic Theatre. They will donate a matching dollar for every dollar we raise between May 1 and June 30, 2017, up to $25,000, raising $50,000 for WCT! That’s right. If you donate $1, they will donate $1. If you donate $100, they will match it! If you donate $1,000, that would be $2,000 for WCT, and you’ll find me skipping down the hall singing “Match maker, match maker, make me a match!”

Just a few of our immediate needs include:

  • Replacing our phone and voice mail system, which is 17 years old! ($5,000)
  • Replacing our phones, which are six to 17 years old. ($3,000)
  • Replacing our server, box office, and administrative computers and printers, which are six to ten years old. ($20,000)
  • Upgrading our concession and bar refrigeration system. ($5,000 to $30,000)

With your gift, we promise to enhance the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s ability to provide quality programs and educational opportunities for years to come.

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, an incredible sight to see in the heart of Wisconsin. I want to thank everyone for joining us in any capacity, and I hope you are enjoying the ride as much as we are.

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

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

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Barefoot In The Park

Welcome to the Waukesha Civic Theatre. We’re very glad you’re here supporting live theatre in our city.

Tonight, you will be enjoying one of Neil Simon’s best known and most beloved plays, Barefoot In The Park. It first appeared on Broadway in 1963 and was an instant hit, running for almost four years and over fifteen hundred performances. That made it Neil Simon’s longest running Broadway show, and one that is still a favorite of live theatre venues today.

The story centers on a newlywed couple moving into their first apartment in a New Yok City walkup.  Simon’s comedic writing talent is on display in abundance as the couple begins their married life in their new home.

I moved to Waukesha thirty-four years ago, and the downtown area was nothing like it is today. There was little happening in the evenings then. Now, WCT is in the epicenter of a revitalized vibrant and fun place to be. There are multiple first class restaurants within walking distance of the theatre, along with retail establishments that you just don’t find in the big malls. To enhance your Civic Theatre evening, come early, enjoy great dining in one of our nearby restaurants, and then stroll down the street to experience the best that live theatre has to offer.

 

Scott Trindl

Board Director

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: Pat Toicen-Dycee

Biography:

Patricia was born and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin and has lived in the area all her life. Her interest in photography started in 1982 and continues today. Trained through classes at WCTC, UWW, and workshops from Santa Fe School of Photography, Rocky Mountain School of Photography including many photographers such as John Gerlach, Barb Gerlach, Brenda Tharp, Doug Beasley, Mike Moats and many others. Patricia worked for Walgreens for 45 years and after retiring in 2015 she has become an avid photographer joining several workshops a year around the US, melding her love of travel and passion for photography. She is a past president and member of The Unlimited Vision Photo Club based in Waukesha. Her images have been used by Prohealth in the yearly Breast Cancer River Walk Brochure and she volunteers for the City Of Waukesha Parks, Recreation, & Forestry Department to photograph yearly events.

 

Artist’s Statement:

While staying at Akiko’s Bed and Breakfast outside Hilo, Hawaii, I traveled with a group of photographers to produce images of the non-traditional local beauty of the Island. Encouraged by the instructor, photographer Douglas Beasley, the assignment was to look for gratitude and serenity in the backroads of Hilo. The beauty of Volcano National Park, driving along the Hamakua Coast, the very small village of Wailea, the lush greenery of the Red Road Scenic Drive, dramatic rocks at Lapahoehoe and downtown Hilo are my memories of Hawaii. The images that you see in the exhibit are my personal artistic expression showing the peaceful beauty that is Hawaii.

 

 

Patricia Toicen-Dycee

ptoicendyc@aol.com

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: The Drowsy Chaperone

In many ways, I am The Man In The Chair. As a child and young girl, I spent hours in our living room, ears glued to the speakers, listening to my mom and dad’s LPs, imaging the likes of Julie Andrews, Ethel Merman, and Mary Martin as they gallivanted across the streets of London in My Fair Lady, rode the vaudeville circuit in Gypsy, and sang and danced on sugar sands in South Pacific! I could see them so clearly in my mind’s eye that it was as if they were right there with me in the room, performing just for me, thrilling me and making me laugh and cry, dance and sing! How can you NOT love a classic musical?!?!?

Welcome to The Drowsy Chaperone, where we all get to be The Man In The Chair! As a WCT board director and performer, I am constantly amazed and thrilled by the variety of theatre options the WCT brings to our community every season. From cutting edge drama like 33 Variations to the innumerable learning opportunities through ACAP, STEM Academy, and A.C.T. to family friendly classic movies with PIX Flix and more, WCT is truly a gem.  But I confess, deep down in my heart, my absolute favorites are the WCT musicals. No one does them better than WCT!

Our historic 60th season ends next month with Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park, as we look forward to our 61st season and your continued support. Without the generous support of our guests, we could not continue to provide these great services to the Waukesha community. Please consider a donation today to support our mission to provide quality live theatre performances and educational opportunities that will enrich, challenge, and entertain both participants and audience members for years to come.

 

Enjoy the Show!

 

 

Jane G. Klett

Board of Directors

MAD Corner: The Drowsy Chaperone

I had the pleasure of seeing The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway when it was brand new, and absolutely fell in love with it.  It has all the elements that make musical theatre the favorite genre of most theatre lovers. The show incorporates everything except the kitchen sink – mistaken identities, dream sequences, spit takes, a deus ex machina, an unflappable English butler, an absent-minded dowager, a Broadway impresario and his Follies production, comic gangsters, a ditzy chorine, a harried best man, and a “Drowsy” (i.e. “tipsy”) Chaperone, played in the show-within-a-show by a blowzy Grande Dame of the Stage, specializing in “rousing anthems” and not above upstaging the occasional co-star. As The Man In The Chair states in his opening monologue “that’s what the show is – fun!”  I hope you think so too!

Thank you to everyone that supports WCT! 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: Citizen Kane

What would possess a left-leaning 24 year old from Kenosha, WI to co-write, direct, produce and star in a motion picture intended to skewer the oligarchs who controlled the American media in the 1930’s? In Orson Welles’ own words, “Ignorance.” Having already achieved critical acclaim as a theater actor, playwright and director, perhaps it is this audacity of scope combined with the fresh technological innovations of the silver screen that led Welles to create what is now almost universally agreed to be one of the greatest films ever made.

 

Citizen Kane, a fictional biopic of the newspaper magnate Charles Kane, is Welles’ first film and employs numerous experimental techniques developed for this movie. Many of these contributions to style and cinematography have entered the movie making lexicon. Today these remain as fresh and important to the story as when Citizen Kane was released in 1941.

 

Charles Kane, played by the young Orson Welles, is transparent in life and mysterious in death. Welles and his co-writer, Herman Mankiewicz, ask the viewer to share in the detective work of newsreel reporter Jerry Thompson, played by William Alland, to discover Kane’s deepest secrets by investigating the mundane meaning of the final utterance on his deathbed: “Rosebud.” This thinly veiled misdirection provides the audience the opportunity to approach and receive the film on numerous levels. Today, the parallels to our culture remain as strong as they did 76 years ago with just as much opportunity to be challenged and entertained.

 

With a handpicked cast, many of whom such as Agnes Moorehead and Joseph Cotten would go on to storied careers, Citizen Kane represents a high watermark in cinematic storytelling. Whether you are a fan of film, student of history, have interest in the media’s role in modern politics or simply want to share this experience with friends and family, the Waukesha Civic Theatre invites you to join us at 6:30 pm on Monday, June 5th to watch and celebrate this Hollywood masterwork.

 

Brian Goeller

Board Director

Director’s Note: The Drowsy Chaperone

Just after I finished college, my aunt and uncle paid for a trip to New York as a present. They had arrived earlier than I did, and when I landed, they told me they had bought show tickets for that evening but didn’t tell me what show. I had a list of a half dozen shows I REALLY wanted to see, and so I was very excited when I met up with them. They informed me that they had gotten tickets to see The Drowsy Chaperone, and I had a hard time concealing my disappointment. (I must have mentioned the show to them at some point.) I had been interested in the show, but it was maybe 7th on my list of 6 shows I wanted to see on that trip. But it was too late, and it was a gift. So we went to the show, and it was an utter delight from start to finish. Great characters, catchy songs, tongue in cheek humor. It was a total joy. A truly PLEASANT SURPRISE and one of the highlights of that trip.

 

Fast forward this past fall. I get an email from John Cramer asking if I’d be interested in directing the production at Civic. I was under the assumption that a director was already in place, so it was a very PLEASANT SURPRISE to have been given this opportunity.

 

This cast has been a joy to work with. The Civic has been very welcoming to me and I have enjoyed this experience immensely. When I direct, I tend to be on my feet a lot, playing around right along with the actors. I am fairly certain they’ve had as much fun as I have putting this show together, and today’s performance is proof of that. If you have never seen the show before, I hope you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was when I first experienced it.

 

 

Matt Zembrowski

Director

The Movie: Bane vs Superman

The movie Bane vs Superman is a DC Comic related film. It deals with plot twists like the comic book scenarios with the good guys, the villains, and the heroines. It is based off a script written by Keith Stahle with general shooting locations in the Wisconsin and Illinois areas, including: Marshfield, Wausau, Madison, and even downtown Southwestern Chicago, Illinois on Lower Wacker Drive.
 
The main “Good Guy” and “Bad Guy” roles and the leading heroines are played by: Keith Stahle, Kevin Staley, and Janelle Griebel. Keith Stahle is a method trained actor by the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (California) and brought in Janelle Griebel and Kevin Staley as well as several other actors in the Wausau area for the making of this film. The cinematographer was Sam Karow, who bought new cameras, directly related to the shooting of this film, which was shot mainly during the fall and winter of 2015.
 
Keith and Kevin are brothers only two years apart and Keith lives in California with his girlfriend and both of them grew up in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Special thanks to Sharon Groth and Thomas Staley for giving birth to “Bane.”
 
Kevin Staley, actor

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Vertigo

Vertigo is a classic Alfred Hitchcock film.  It will make its Waukesha Civic Theatre debut on the big screen at 6:30 pm on May 1, 2017.

John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by James Stewart, is a retired San Francisco police detective with a case of acrophobia.  Madelaine, played by Kim Novak, is the lady who leads him to high places.

Vertigo is a 1958 American crime film.  It is a romantic story of obsession, manipulation, fear, suspense and mystery all wrapped around twisted human psychology.  The versatility and genre befuddled audiences of 1958.  “Dolly zoom,” zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of the view toward or away from the subject created a continuous perspective of distortion.  It was a technique used to increase the drama in a scene.

Hitchcock actually pulled Vertigo out of circulation in 1973.  It wasn’t until 1980 that audiences saw it again and grew to appreciate it more.  A digital restoration of the film in 1996 further returned it to its original glory.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California and Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Scottie’s apartment is one block downhill from the “crookedest street in the world”.  The Mission San Juan Bastista is a real place.  Madelaine jumps into the sea at Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  The views of San Francisco and surrounding area are beautiful.  The step back in time with the classic automobiles of the 1950’s is dramatic.

In 1989 Vertigo was recognized as a “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” film by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in the first year of the registry voting.  As of 2016, on Rotten Tomatoes the film has a “certified fresh” rating of 97%.

What better place to watch this film, considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best, if not THE best, than the big screen at the Waukesha Civic Theatre?

Take a look for yourself and decide whether or not Vertigo is the greatest Hitchcock film of all time.  Don’t leave yourself hanging in suspense (like poor Scottie).

Also, don’t forget, Hitchcock appears somewhere in all of his films.  Will you spot him?

Hope to see you May 1st!

Mary Dembinski

Board Director