Blog Archives

Star For A Day: It’s About The Process

What is Star For A Day (SFAD) and why do we do it? Great question! SFAD is challenging, energizing, scary, exciting, fun, funny, creative, silly, serious, educational, enlightening, exhilarating. I could sit here for another hour and not run out of words to describe SFAD. And if you asked me to sum up why I do it, I could answer with any of those words.

I have taught musical theatre camps for many years – camps that ran anywhere from one week to four weeks. And they’re amazing. Sometimes it’s working on individual pieces to perform in a showcase at the end. Sometimes it’s putting together a full-blown Broadway musical in a short period of time. No matter what the final product is, my favorite part is always the process. I love challenging students to try something they’ve never done, to think outside the box, to create and feel safe doing it, to explore and experiment and discover.

The first time I was asked to teach SFAD, I was a little bit terrified. Keep in mind that musical theatre includes singing, dancing and acting. How on earth were we going to pull off learning two songs in a class that lasted less than a couple hours? Then, send those students to other classes, including improv and dance, before coming together to combine everything we learned – sometimes hours earlier in the day. I quickly discovered some tricks to help me the next time. But more importantly, I discovered the thrill of fully immersing yourself into an 8-hour day and creating something magical.

Some skills I’ve watched students learn and/or use throughout the day:

  • Focus
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail

Some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Memorizing quickly with little time for repetition is hard. But kids are creative and they’ll figure out tricks to make it work.
  • Dance steps don’t have to be super hard to be tight and polished and effective.
  • Watching students problem-solve when something doesn’t work out is amazing.
  • Costumes can be simple or complex as long as we bring our imagination along.
  • Flexibility is key, especially when doing two group numbers. Sometimes you realize by the third group that another plan would have worked better. You know what? The kids can and will adapt like rock stars.
  • Working with others on a common goal is simply life-giving.

All of this makes me look forward to the next time I get to teach SFAD. All year round, I keep a running list of possible songs in my file cabinet. I look for pieces with repetition, pieces that can be split between groups, pieces that don’t require a gender or an age to be successful, pieces that allow for simple costuming from their closets, pieces that will push them, pieces that will guarantee success, pieces that will be worth learning – even if only for a day.

One last benefit to SFAD that needs to be mentioned: Working together so intensely helps create relationships. It breaks down barriers that we might have chosen to build. It forces us to see gifts in others we might not have taken the time to see. It builds friendships and trust and camaraderie and joy.

So why SFAD? Because it’s challenging, energizing, scary, exciting, fun, funny, creative, silly, serious, educational, enlightening and exhilarating.


Anne Van Deusen

Musical Madness Instructor

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PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: West Side Story

Come join us on Monday, July 31st at 6:30 pm for the classic movie-musical, West Side Story! Set against a backdrop of two warring teenage gangs on the streets of New York City in the 1950s, this musical re-telling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet opened on Broadway on September 26, 1957. Racial tensions against a growing immigrant population from Puerto Rico fuel the feud between the Sharks, a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants, and the Jets, a gang of Americans. Caught in the crossfire are the star-crossed lovers: Tony and Maria. While at a school dance, Tony and Maria meet, falling in love at first sight. However, their love is ill-fated as Tony is a former Jet and Maria is the sister of the Sharks’ leader, Bernardo.

The story unfolds as told through the dialogue by author Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Together, the team created some of the most beautiful and recognizable songs in Broadway history, including, “Something’s Coming,” “Maria”, “Tonight,” “America,” and “I Feel Pretty.”

That season, the musical was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Musical. Jerome Robbins won the Tony Award for his iconic choreography.

A film adaptation of the musical was released in 1961, starring Natalie Wood as Maria and Rita Moreno as Anita. West Side Story went on to win 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Musical Score. Jerome Robbins received a special Academy Award for his choreography.

To this day, West Side Story remains a favorite in the theatre community. What better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of West Side Story than to see the film at the Waukesha Civic Theatre on Monday, July 31st at 6:30 pm? Tickets are only $5!

 

Peter Kao

Board Director

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

MAD Corner: Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit is one of my favorite plays of all time.  It is also one of the most produced plays ever, and there is a good reason for that … it is awesome.  Noël  Coward got the title of the play from Percy Shelley’s poem “To a Skylark.” “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert.” The play was first seen in the West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television and radio in the 1950s and 1960s. The play enjoyed several West End and Broadway revivals in the 1970s and 1980s and was revived again in London in 2004, 2011, and 2014. It returned to Broadway in February 2009.

We hope you enjoy this classic comedy, and that it raises your spirits!

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. 

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

The Hovick Family Timeline

c941eb8221c6da3b89e2583070d35b2aAugust 31, 1890 – Rose Evangeline Thompson was born

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 28, 1910 – Rose married Jack Olaf Hovick at age 19

d7d078f440e43af10dad73571fa4ecf0January 8, 1911 – Louise (Rose Louise Hovick) was born. Rose was 20 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4ecafd75d19d051293b0dd88e8c91929November 8, 1912 – June (Ellen June Hovick) was born (some sources say her name was Ellen Evangeline Hovick). Rose was 22 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 20, 1915 – Rose and Jack divorced, and June began performing in vaudeville at age 2 ½

May 26, 1916 – Rose married Judson Brennerman at age 25

December 1928 – June eloped with Bobby Reed (Weldon Hyde), a dancer in their vaudeville act, at age 16. Rose was 38. Louise was 17. June and Bobby both left the show. They later divorced.

January 1930 – Louise became Gypsy Rose Lee. She was 19 years old. Rose was 39 years old.

April 2, 1932  – June gave birth to April Hyde.

1935 – June married Donald S. Gibbs. They later divorced.

August 25, 1937 – Louise married Arnold “Bob” Mizzy. They later divorced.

1942 – Louise married William Alexander Kirkland. They divorced in 1944.

December 11, 1944 – Louise gave birth to Otto Preminger’s son, Erik Lee.

January 25, 1948 – June married William Spier. They remained married until William’s death in 1973.

1948 – Louise married Julio de Deigo. They later divorced.

1950s – April Hyde became an actress with the stage name April Kent.

mqdefaultJanuary 28, 1954 – Rose died at age 63

 

 

 

 

 

1957 – Louise wrote and published her memoirs, titled Gypsy: A Memoir

1959 – The musical Gypsy: An American Fable premiered on Broadway with Ethel Merman as Rose

1962 – Gypsy was made into a movie with Rosalind Russel as Rose

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April 26, 1970 – Louise died at age 59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 28, 1998 – April Kent died

 

June-Havoc2March 28, 2010 – June died at age 97

PIX Flix Spotlight On the Board: The Miracle Worker

Have you ever been to the PIX to see a movie?

Please consider coming to see the award winning 1962 American biographical film The Miracle Worker on Monday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m.

The screenplay by William Gibson is based on his 1959 Broadway play which was based on the 1902 autobiography of Helen Keller called The Story of My Life.

Anne Bancroft won the Academy Award for Best Actress portraying the tutor Anne Sullivan and Patty Duke won the Award for Best Supporting Actress portraying the young Helen Keller, blind and deaf since infancy due to a severe case of scarlet fever.

The plot centers around a battle of wills as Anne breaks down Helen’s walls of silence and darkness through persistence, love, and sheer stubbornness.

The Miracle Worker holds a perfect 100% score from the movie critics site Rotten Tomatoes and is ranked #15 on the American Film Institute’s list of America’s Most Inspiring Movies.

Time Out London’s review said, “It’s a stunningly impressive piece of work…deriving much of its power from the performances. Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft spark off each other with a violence and emotional honesty rarely seen in the cinema lighting up each other’s loneliness, vulnerability, and plain fear.”

Patty Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982, after which she devoted much of her life to advocating for and educating the public on mental health issues.

Nelson Larry 2011Since Patty Duke died this past March 29, what better way to honor her memory than coming to see the film that made her a star at 16 for the role that she had originated on Broadway?

Larry Nelson

WCT Board Director

The Sun’ll Come Out…

Annie JR.The Academy at Civic Theatre proudly presents Annie JR.  The classic Depression-era tale of the plucky young orphan girl with a bright outlook on the world comes to life on the Waukesha Civic Theatre stage this August.  Annie, living in an orphanage run by the bitter Miss Hannigan, is determined to find her parents.  When billionaire Oliver Warbucks invites her to spend Christmas in his mansion, Annie’s life changes as much as she changes the lives of those around her.

The Broadway Junior series, developed by Music Theatre International, features author-approved, shortened versions of classical musicals designed for younger performers.  The cast of WCT’s production of Annie JR. are students of the theatre’s A.C.T. program, learning and growing as performers under the direction of Jes and Jacob Sudbrink.  Annie JR. represents weeks of dedicated study and rehearsal.

Annie Jr. features all the classics from the original musical. The young performers bring well-loved songs like “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” and, of course, “Tomorrow” to life.   So many students wished to be involved in the show that there are two casts, each performing twice.  The Easy Street Cast performs August 1st at 7:30 p.m. and August 2nd a 2:00 p.m., while the NYC Cast performs August 2nd at 7:30 p.m. and August 3rd at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $6 for subscribers.  For tickets or more information, please visit our website or call the box office at (262) 547-0708.  Box office hours are 12-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Leapin’ Lizards!