Blog Archives

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

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Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: For Purely Elfish Reasons

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is a hidden gem right here in historic downtown! I’d like to welcome you to For Purely Elfish Reasons, the third Mainstage show of our historic 60th season. We are thrilled to present this new gem, by local playwright Jason Powell! Opportunities like this are one of the things that make WCT’s quality, live entertainment not just another night at the theatre. With such a wonderful, professional venue for our local talent, I’m honored to be a member of the Board. Yet, surprisingly, there are still some people who don’t know of this entertainment gem centered right here on Main Street! Please spread the word about our very own cultural cornerstone!

Between the Mainstage, Random Acts, A.C.T., Friday Night Live, Special Events, and our community partnerships with ACAP, the STEM Academy, Waukesha Reads, and others, we have a plethora of different entertainment options running year-round! Our special events – such as Festival Of Fools in April – provide entertaining and fun ways to support the theatre. We also have outreach programs like anti-bullying workshops, the Civic Broadway Singers, the Civic Senior Players, and many more! Our theatre arts education program offers classes at WCT and extends beyond our doors to teach kids in local schools. Likewise, we partner with Carroll University and UW-Waukesha for students of all majors to intern in our office or with our classes.

That’s right, we’re not just for actors! Whether you can pound a hammer, program a computer, alphabetize a file cabinet, or perform an aria, there are plenty of ways to get involved almost every day of every week. So spread the word!

You are also invited to join the celebration of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s proud achievement of providing challenging, enriching, and entertaining opportunities for 60 HISTORIC SEASONS. Having reached this elite DIAMOND status, we ask you to help us look to the future with your support. Without the generous support from our guests, we could not continue to provide these great services to the Waukesha County community and beyond. Please consider a donation today. Thank you!

I look forward to seeing you, and let me know what you think!

danner-jonathan-2010Jonathan Danner

Secretary

Board Of Directors

The Impact Of Live Theatre

If you are like me, you have probably enjoyed many live theatre performances over the years. You most likely have your favorites. But have you ever considered the impact of that performance on the actors and members of the stage crew?

Community theatre not only provides the opportunity for more people to experience and be entertained by live theatre, it provides an opportunity to engage more people who perform in those shows. The impact, especially on our youth, can be profound. Many studies have shown that children that participate in live theatre have improved communication skills, are more creative, and have improved problem solving skills. Perhaps you have participated on stage at a community theatre, or someone in your family has.

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is celebrating their 60th season. With seven Mainstage shows and over 140 performances of all kinds on its stage, the Waukesha Civic Theatre impacts the lives of thousands of children in Waukesha County each year. Students at twelve schools benefit through the theatre’s education outreach program. Through a partnership with the nonprofit organization ACAP, the theatre brings the stage to children and adults with disabilities. The Mainstage shows have auditions open to everyone that is interested.

The Theatre provides classroom instruction throughout the year as part of their Academy At Civic Theatre (A.C.T) program. There are countless examples where a shy child with few social interaction skills, blossoms on the stage, demonstrating dramatic improvement in their ability to interact with others and improved performance in school. In a recent YouTube video, students share their experiences and the impact that the Waukesha Civic Theatre has had on their lives.

So the next time you are enjoying a performance at your local cultural center, stop and think about the performers, who they are, and the impact your presence is having on their lives. Support your local community theatre!

sommers-diane-2015Diane Sommers

Community Partners Coordinator

Lights! Camera! Action! & The ACAP PlayMakers

Well, we are right in the middle of our latest outreach offering – Lights! Camera! Action! with the ACAP PlayMakers. Only this time, there is a twist. The PlayMakers are playing the role of video editor/director. We’ve never offered something like this before, and so far the results have been outstanding!

Let me back up for a minute and give you a quick history here. Last year, Matt Huebsch and I taught Lights! Camera! Action! (LCA) for the ACAP PlayMakers. LCA is an on-camera acting class that has been a part of the A.C.T. program for years. The ACAP PlayMakers are a community partner that has performed at Civic for years. I guess it was only a matter of time before these two met!

The PlayMakers are an inclusive group of performers that feature performers with and without disabilities. It gives a voice to performers who might not otherwise get the opportunity. But even while being so inclusive, there were still some members who were not able to participate in a stage production. That’s where LCA came in. As you well know, acting on camera and acting on stage are two very different skill sets, and some of ACAP’s members were more suited to have their voice heard on camera instead of the stage.

Matt and I worked with the group for six weeks, writing and filming a series of scenes that showcased some of the hidden talents of the group. It was a fun and unique way to show what a great sense of humor these guys have. They love to perform, and it showed in every frame of the video.

This year, we decided to take it one step further and shift the focus.   Instead of focusing on the acting, we put the PlayMakers in charge of the directing and editing. A beginner’s course for how to put a movie together. Matt and I filmed ourselves in a short scene together, filming multiple takes and multiple “moods” of each scene. We created a very loose template for the video, with a lot of options for our editors to choose from. Starting Week 1, we worked with the group to give them an understanding of the tools and concepts of video editing, sound and visual effects. As the weeks have gone on, members of the group have become more proficient in piecing their videos together.

Think of it as a choose-your-own-ending kind of book, except in video form. The PlayMakers work with the footage we provided and piece together scenes that are coherent and follow a logical path (Ok, full disclosure here – sometimes the videos are extraordinarily silly and don’t make much sense, but that’s part of the fun of learning how to do all this!).

To give you an example of how things have been going, there is a scene in which I appear at the door of a home. We filmed me doing several versions of this, and even filmed a dog in place of me. Lorraine, a longtime PlayMaker who has enjoyed poking gentle fun at me for years, wanted to find a way, through the magic of editing, to turn me into the dog. Did I say “wanted to”? I meant “insisted.” We worked together for an entire class, figuring out how we could make this happen. And by the end, sure enough, I was a dog! Thanks, Lorraine.

If this class were to just stand alone, it would be an enjoyable six weeks where we all got to learn something. However, the hope is that this can be a starting point for video to play a more prominent role in how the ACAP PlayMakers continue to help their members find their own voices, their own stories to tell. This is in no way going to replace the excellent stage work they do, it is going to add to it. Classes like this lay the groundwork for an idea that big. It all starts somewhere. And in our case, it started with my friend Lorraine turning me into a dog.

Jarecki Doug 2008 CroppedDoug Jarecki

Education & Outreach Administrator

Tons of Fun with WCT and Community Partnerships

The Waukesha Civic Theatre is full of fun stuff to do! One fun thing that we’re really excited for is One Night With John McGivern, coming up in just a couple of months on November 5th! John will be at the theatre for an evening of storytelling. If you’re not sure what to expect, here’s a snippet about John from his website, www.johnmcgivern.com: “His stories are personal and funny and touching and familiar. His themes are based in family and remind us all that as specific as we might believe our experiences are, we all share a universal human experience.” He will also be available to meet both before and after the show. We’re hoping to fill the house for John and tickets are going fast! Call the box office for more information about this upcoming fundraiser at 262-547-0708.
We also feature a myriad of partnerships over the course of our season. I’d like to share a little bit about six of our exciting partnerships.
On August 24th & 25th, we had actors performing with Wings Over Waukesha, an annual airshow at the Waukesha County Airport. They portrayed passengers on the Ford Tri-Motor, one of the first passenger airplanes in the 1920s. We also had a table there to spread the word about Waukesha’s cultural cornerstone!
Also at the end of August, the Adaptive Community Approach Program (ACAP) PlayMakers performed Snow White and the Magnificent Seven. They had several sold-old shows and great audience response! We partner with ACAP to produce two shows a season featuring actors with disabilities, a studio show in the fall and a mainstage show in the spring.
Each January, the Waukesha STEM Academy produces a musical. These shows are performed, crewed, and designed entirely by students at the Saratoga campus, with guidance from local (adult) professionals. This year’s show will be The Pirates of Penzance, Jr. You won’t want to miss this production!
Also in January, our education program (Academy at Civic Theatre, or ACT) offers a two week workshop to students aged 9 to 19. It does require an audition, but the students involved have two weeks to create a sketch comedy show from scratch; they do all the writing and character creation, they figure out the costumes and props, and – during the Waukesha Janboree – they perform their work for a full house! There are two performances, one at 10 am and one at 1 pm, on Saturday, January 18th.
During the summer, we partner with the Waukesha Downtown Business Association to bring live music to Freeman Friday Night Live and the Saturday morning Farmers’ Markets. Don’t miss this opportunity to support local artists and discover new talent!
Finally, our fourteen Downtown Waukesha restaurant partners offer incredible savings to our subscribers. We still have three of our four subscription packages available – the Super Six, Perfect PIX 3, and Fabulous Flex! Check out our website for more information at http://waukeshacivictheatre.org/subscriberBenefits.html
Only a handful of community theatres across the nation can claim the honor of a half-century of consecutive operation and we are delighted to be in our 57th Mainstage season! Feel free to contact me at the box office with any questions. See you at the Theatre!