Blog Archives

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Wait Until Dark

On behalf of the Waukesha Civic Theatre and the Board of Directors, I’d like to welcome you to Wait Until Dark, the sixth Mainstage show of our historic 61st season. This thriller outlines the activities of a sinister con man and his two ex-convict partners who are on the hunt for a mysterious, valuable doll. They trace the doll to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam and Susy Hendrix. Sam, who was persuaded by a mysterious woman to transport the doll across the Canadian border, has left it in the care of his blind wife.

Background/Interesting note…

Wait Until Dark is a play by Frederick Knott, first performed on Broadway in 1966. A film version was released in 1967, and starred Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and Jack Weston. Audrey Hepburn was actually nominated for both the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress, and Zimbalist was nominated for a Golden Globe in the supporting category.

The Waukesha Civic Theatre offers an assortment of opportunities to engage in the creative arts which include the Mainstage show, Random Acts Of Entertainment, Academy at Civic Theatre, Friday Night Live, Special Events, and our community partnerships with ACAP.

So please come out and join us as we continue our marvelous 61st season…tell a friend that “happening is happening” at our downtown Waukesha gem!

Now sit back and enjoy the show as you try to guess what’s the fuss about this elusive doll!

 

Anthony Ventress

Board Of Directors

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Crafting The House Without A Christmas Tree: A Playwright’s Perspective

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.

 

 

Doug Jarecki

Playwright

Cramer’s Corner: Spring Is In The Air!

As the days get longer and the temperature gets warmer, the smile that’s already on your face can just keep growing when you join us for our April offerings! 

Our next ACAP PlayMakers show, Snow White And The Magnificent Seven, opens tomorrow and has seven performances through Sunday afternoon.

Our next PIX Flix movie of the season will be
E.T. – The Extraterrestrial on April 10 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, and more.  All tickets are $5.00, and we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and … wait for it … POPCORN!    

If you would like to help us select the movies we present in our PIX Flix movie series next season, click
here to complete our survey.

Our next A.C.T. production is
Broadway Bound on Saturday, April 15, at 10:00 am.  

We open our next Mainstage show, 
The Drowsy Chaperone, April 28 and continues through May 14.  The show has three Pay What You Can performances on April 29 at 7:30 pm, May 7 at 7:30 pm, and May 13 at 2:00 pm.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby through April 9 is a group of students from Waukesha South High School.  They were challenged to create art inspired by 33 Variations in only 33 days, and it is amazing!  Our next artist will be Tom Buchs.

If you are looking for a theatre experience outside of Wisconsin, consider joining us for our
NYC Theatre Adventure October 12-15, 2017, or for our trip to Chicago to see Hamilton January 3, 2018.  Contact John Cramer by email or phone (262-547-4911 ext. 13) if you would like more information about either trip.

Our 60th Season is on sale now.  Subscription packages for the Mainstage shows, and individual tickets for everything can be purchased now.  Please join us for the second half of our current great season of entertainment!

Registration is open for our
A.C.T. spring and summer sessions, including our summer ACT production The Lion King JR.  

Just in case you missed it last month, our 61st season will include:

Sex Please We’re Sixty 

(directed by Peter Kao)
        The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
            (an area premier directed by Mark E. Schuster!)
                The House Without A Christmas Tree
(an original adaptation by our own Doug Jarecki directed by moi)
                        The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)
(directed by Dustin J. Martin)
                                Clue: The Musical
(directed by Ken Williams)
                                        Wait Until Dark
(directed by Kelly Goeller)
                                                Father Knows Best
(directed by Rhonda Schmidt)

Season Tickets will go on sale in May 2017.


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 gift to our 
Spotlight On The Future Capital Campaign
* 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


Happy Easter!  I’ll see you at the Theatre!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

262-547-4911 ext. 13

What Do Students Learn From Arts Education?

In 1997, a longitudinal study was initiated to determine the impact of the arts on the lives of the participants. In this study, more than 25,000 students were evaluated over a course of ten years through high school. Those students with consistent participation in theatre arts consistently showed improved academic performance and significant increases in standardized test scores. In a 2013 article in the Washington Post by Lisa Phillips, the top skills children learn from the arts was discussed. They included the following:

Creativity – lean to approach tasks from different perspectives and to “think outside the box”

Confidence – build the confidence to perform in front of large audiences

Problem Solving – develop skills in reasoning and understanding

Perseverance – learning skills and techniques through practice; developing new skills

Focus – maintaining a balance between listening and contributing; improve concentration

Collaboration – practice working together for a common goal

Dedication – associate hard work and dedication with a sense of accomplishment

Accountability – learn that their actions affect other people; Gain a sense of responsibility

Receiving Constructive Feedback – learn that critique is a valuable experience and contributes to the success of the final piece

An arts educator with over 16 years’ experience, Lisa’s comments were driven by a concern over an obsession with science, math, technology and engineering in our school systems at the risk of losing art education and the skills that come from it. I think she makes a valid point. Our community theaters are more than just an entertainment venue; they offer a tremendous benefit for personal growth. Perhaps you know of someone who has or may benefit from active participation in the theatre. Reach out and get involved!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator

I Want To Be A STAR…For A Day!

act-summer-showcase-august-2016-126That’s right ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages (and especially children between the ages of 6 and 19) … Waukesha Civic Theatre’s Star For A Day program is back! Mark your calendars, young theatre enthusiasts: the first of this special set of one-day-only classes is coming up on Wednesday, November 23, 2016!

Just what is Star For A Day? We’re glad you asked! It’s a program through WCT’s Academy at Civic Theatre for students between the ages of 6 and 19. On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, Monday, January 23, 2017, and Friday, June 9, 2017 students in the School District of Waukesha will be off school. What are those students going to do for the whole day? Why, come to the theatre, of course!

Star For A Day offers classes for students ages 6-8, 9-12, and 13-19 starting at 9:00 a.m. and culminating in a free performance that evening at 5:00 p.m.

Each group has a chance at three different classes: choreography class Dance Fever, interactive improvisation in Incredible Improv, and singing with movement in Musical Madness. The jam-packed day also has an hour of group rehearsal before the evening’s performance.

Schedule

6-8 Years

Dance Fever 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Musical Madness 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Incredible Improv 1:30-3:20 p.m.

 

9-12 Years

Musical Madness 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Incredible Improv 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Dance Fever 1:30-3:20 p.m.

 

13-19 Years

Incredible Improv 9:00-10:50 a.m.

Dance Fever 11:15-1:05 p.m.

Musical Madness 1:30-3:20 p.m.

 

All Students

Group Rehearsal 3:45-4:45 p.m.

Performance 5:00 p.m.

 

All classes take place at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. Students may sign up for one class for $25, or two classes for $50 – and then the third class is free! Register here!

Still not sold? You can get more information by contacting our Education and Outreach Administrator Doug Jarecki at (262) 547-4911 ext. 21 or at djarecki@waukeshacivictheatre.org. We also have information available on our website.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for our great Star For A Day opportunities!

Fall Fun at WCT

Guest Writer: Kevin Davis, Marketing Intern

It’s been an amazing summer season here at the Waukesha Civic Theatre both outside and inside. We had a blast with all of the onstage performances this summer, along with our weekly performances at Waukesha Friday Night Live and the Waukesha Farmers’ Market outside the Theatre!

Even though the weather is going to get colder, our schedule is still heating up! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to get the latest updates!

Here’s what we have going on to kick off this exciting new season:

9/15 to 10/21: 9-19 year old Fantastic Fencing (ACT)

9/18-10/4: A Little Night Music (Mainstage Series)

Remember to stick around after the Friday & Saturday night shows for Studio Sidelights! The curtain may close on the Mainstage, but the show is just getting started! Join us in the Ralph North Studio Theatre for drinks and live music from some favorite WCT performers. This fun cabaret series is sure to end your evening on a high note!

9/18: Derek Sallmann at Waukesha’s Friday Night Live

9/19: Toco Rio at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

9/21: PIX Flix Movie Series: An American In Paris (Random Act Of Entertainment)

9/25: Hot Damn! at Waukesha’s Friday Night Live

9/26: Windy Hill Brass at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

9/28-11/5 6-8 year old Incredible Improv (ACT)

9/28-11/5 9-12 year old Incredible Improv (ACT)

9/28-11/5 9-12 year old Stage Makeup (ACT)

9/28-11/5 13-19 year old Incredible Improv (ACT)

9/28-11/5 13-19 year old Stage Makeup (ACT)

9/28-11/5 ADULT Incredible Improv (ACT)

10/3: Em & Jen at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

10/3: Pee Wee Players Workshop (ACT)

10/9-10/11: ACAP Playmakers Show of Shows II (Random Act Of Entertainment)

10/10: Andy Gratke at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

10/12: PIX Flix Movie Series: Hocus Pocus (Random Act Of Entertainment)

10/17: Catelyn Picco at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

10/24: Spring City Brass at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

10/30: Star For A Day (ACT)

10/30-11/15: The Turn Of The Screw (Mainstage Series)

Remember to stick around after the Friday & Saturday night shows for Studio Sidelights! The curtain may close on the Mainstage, but the show is just getting started! Join us in the Ralph North Studio Theatre for drinks and live music from some favorite WCT performers. This fun cabaret series is sure to end your evening on a high note!

10/31: Myrddin at the Waukesha Farmers’ Market

11/2: PIX Flix Movie Series: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (Random Act Of Entertainment)

11/9-11/11: Almost, Maine Auditions (Mainstage Series)

We look forward to seeing you at these exciting events! For more info, and to purchase tickets, please call our box office at (262) 547-0708 from noon to 5 pm Tuesday through Friday, or send us an e-mail any time at boxoffice@waukeshacivictheatre.org. See you at the Theatre!