Blog Archives

MAD Corner: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

WCT is both proud and delighted to present the area premier of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame! Inspired by and using some of the music from the Disney cartoon, this incredible new musical brings Victor Hugo’s amazing story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Pheobus, and Frollo to life on stage, working with some of the darker themes of Hugo’s novel.  Guided by Mark E. Schuster, one of WCT’s premier directors, and featuring a lush and beautiful score played by a full orchestra and sung by 40 powerful voices, I am confident that our production will astound everyone who sees it.

I would like to thank everyone that supports WCT!  We wouldn’t be here without you. 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

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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

World Theatre Day Message 2017 by Isabelle Huppert

So, here we are once more. Gathered again in Spring, 55 years since our inaugural meeting, to celebrate World Theatre Day. Just one day, 24 hours, is dedicated to celebrating theatre around the world. And here we are in Paris, the premier city in the world for attracting international theatre groups, to venerate the art of theatre.

Paris is a world city, fit to contain the globes theatre traditions in a day of celebration; from here in France’s capital we can transport ourselves to Japan by experiencing Noh and Bunraku theatre, trace a line from here to thoughts and expressions as diverse as Peking Opera and Kathakali; the stage allows us to linger between Greece and Scandinavia as we envelope ourselves in Aeschylus and Ibsen, Sophocles and Strindberg; it allows us to flit between Britain and Italy as we reverberate between Sarah Kane and Prinadello. Within these twenty-four hours we may be taken from France to Russia, from Racine and Moliere to Chekhov; we can even cross the Atlantic as a bolt of inspiration to serve on a Campus in California, enticing a young student there to reinvent and make their name in theatre.

Indeed, theatre has such a thriving life that it defies space and time; its most contemporary pieces are nourished by the achievements of past centuries, and even the most classical repertories become modern and vital each time they are played anew. Theatre is always reborn from its ashes, shedding only its previous conventions in its new-fangled forms: that is how it stays alive.

World Theatre Day then, is obviously no ordinary day to be lumped in with the procession of others. It grants us access to an immense space-time continuum via the sheer majesty of the global canon. To enable me the ability to conceptualise this, allow me to quote a French playwright, as brilliant as he was discreet, Jean Tardieu: When thinking of space, Tardieu says it is sensible to ask “what is the longest path from one to another?”…For time, he suggests measuring, “in tenths of a second, the time it takes to pronounce the word ‘eternity’”…For space-time, however, he says: “before you fall asleep , fix your mind upon two points of space, and calculate the time it takes, in a dream, to go from one to the other”. It is the phrase in a dream that has always stuck with me. It seems as though Tardieu and Bob Wilson met. We can also summarise the temporal uniqueness of World Theatre day by quoting the words of Samuel Beckett, who makes the character Winnie say, in his expeditious style: “Oh what a beautiful day it will have been”. When thinking of this message, that I feel honoured to have been asked to write, I remembered all the dreams of all these scenes. As such, it is fair to say that I did not come to this UNESCO hall alone; every character I have ever played is here with me, roles that seem to leave when the curtain falls, but who have carved out an underground life within me, waiting to assist or destroy the roles that follow; Phaedra, Araminte, Orlando, Hedda Gabbler, Medea, Merteuil, Blanche DuBois….Also supplementing me as I stand before you today are all the characters I loved and applauded as a spectator. And so it is, therefore, that I belong to the world. I am Greek, African, Syrian, Venetian, Russian, Brazilian, Persian, Roman, Japanese, a New Yorker, a Marseillais, Filipino, Argentinian, Norwegian, Korean, German, Austrian, English – a true citizen of the world, by virtue of the personal ensemble that exists within me. For it is here, on the stage and in the theatre, that we find true globalization.

On World Theatre Day in 1964, Laurence Olivier announced that, after more than a century of struggle, a National Theatre has just been created in the United Kingdom, which he immediately wanted to morph into an international theatre, at least in terms of its repertoire. He knew well that Shakespeare belonged to the world. In researching the writing of this message, I was glad to learn that the inaugural World Theatre Day message of 1962 was entrusted to Jean Cocteau, a fitting candidate due to his authoring of the book ‘Around the World Again in 80 Days’. This made me realise that I have gone around the world differently. I did it in 80 shows or 80 movies. I include movies in this as I do not differentiate between playing theatre and playing movies, which surprises even me each time I say it, but it is true, that’s how it is, I see no difference between the two.

Speaking here I am not myself, I am not an actress, I am just one of the many people that theatre uses as a conduit to exist, and it is my duty to be receptive to this – or, in other words, we do not make theatre exist, it is rather thanks to theatre that we exist. The theatre is very strong. It resists and survives everything, wars, censors, penury.

It is enough to say that “the stage is a naked scene from an indeterminate time” – all’s it needs is an actor. Or an actress. What are they going to do? What are they going to say? Will they talk? The public waits, it will know, for without the public there is no theatre – never forget this. One person alone is an audience. But let’s hope there are not too many empty seats! Productions of Ionesco’s productions are always full, and he represents this artistic valour candidly and beautifully by having, at the end of one of his plays, and old lady say; “Yes, Yes, die in full glory. Let’s die to enter the legend…at least we will have our street…”

World Theatre Day has existed for 55 years now. In 55 years, I am the eighth woman to be invited to pronounce a message – if you can call this a ‘message’ that is. My predecessors (oh, how the male of the species imposes itself!) spoke about the theatre of imagination, freedom, and originality in order to evoke beauty, multiculturalism and pose unanswerable questions. In 2013, just four years ago, Dario Fo said: “The only solution to the crisis lies in the hope of the great witch-hunt against us, especially against young people who want to learn the art of theatre: thus a new diaspora of actors will emerge, who will undoubtedly draw from this constraint unimaginable benefits by finding a new representation”. Unimaginable Benefits – sounds like a nice formula, worthy to be included in any political rhetoric, don’t you think?…

As I am in Paris, shortly before a presidential election, I would like to suggest that those who apparently yearn to govern us should be aware of the unimaginable benefits brought about by theatre. But I would also like to stress, no witch-hunt!

Theatre is for me represents the other it is dialogue, and it is the absence of hatred. ‘Friendship between peoples’ – now, I do not know too much about what this means, but I believe in community, in friendship between spectators and actors, in the lasting union between all the peoples theatre brings together – translators, educators, costume designers, stage artists, academics, practitioners and audiences. Theatre protects us; it shelters us…I believe that theatre loves us…as much as we love it…

I remember an old-fashioned stage director I worked for, who, before the nightly raising of the curtain would yell, with full-throated firmness ‘Make way for theatre!’ – and these shall be my last words tonight.

MAD Corner: 33 Variations

Life.  Death.  Health.  Illness.  Past.  Present.  Simple.  Complicated.  Words on a page; just like these words you are reading now.  They mean nothing without the experience to understand them.  Every day we all encounter these things on some level; they are all a part of the human experience. So is theatre; and it is always a cathartic event.  Comedy, tragedy, musical, mime … no matter what the genre; the storytelling is the key to sharing the joys, the sorrows, the laughter, and the tears.  We hope you enjoy Katherine and Ludwig’s combined journey

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

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Blithe Spirit

I’d like to welcome you to Blithe Spirit, the fourth Mainstage show of our historic 60th season. We are thrilled to present this classic play by Noël Coward! With such timeless opportunities 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!

We have a plethora of different entertainment options running year-round! Between 135+ stage performances, 12 movies, 27 weeks of A.C.T. classes, 18 Friday Night Live concerts, countless hours of design, rehearsals, & construction (and so much more!), the Waukesha Civic Theatre is a bustling metropolis! Our special events – like the upcoming Festival Of Fools – provide entertaining and fun ways to support the theatre. And our education program even extends beyond our doors to teach kids in local schools. 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 in celebrating the 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

Before The Lights Come Up

There was a time in my life as an actor, when I would put off the hardest thing about a role.  Perhaps it would be a difficult emotional moment, or a new dialect, or any number of things that would make me uncomfortable.  I would hope that through the process of rehearsal, these moments would take care of themselves.  Of course, they seldom did, and come opening night I would dread those moments.

I got involved in a 24 hour theatre project when I was living in Los Angeles and it changed my perspective on tackling a role.  Here there was no time to prepare.  Too many lines?  Too bad, you’ve only got 12 hours.  You’ve never done a Spanish accent before?  Sorry, you go up in 6 hours.  Having a hard time crying for this scene?  Better figure it out because you are going on next.

There is a moment just before you enter the stage where you are absolutely terrified.  This could very well not work.  But you push yourself over that threshold, somehow it does work, and you leave the stage feeling like you can do anything for the next month.  From that moment forward I haven’t looked back on my old way of thinking.  I now find the most difficult part of a role and I tackle it first.

I’ve been producing Combat Theatre for almost 20 years now, Combat Boot Camp for 12, and I’ve seen so many other actors, both professional and student, face that same fear and challenge over and over again.  And I’ve seen the way they feel after they triumph, and how it changes them.  I can’t think of a better or more entertaining acting exercise.

James Fletcher

WCT Partners With Waukesha Reads

Since its inception 60 years ago, the Waukesha Civic Theatre has sought ways to enrich, challenge, and entertain the Waukesha community. We have done this through our theatrical productions, education and outreach programs, and community partnerships. We have a vibrant production schedule, including 7 Mainstage productions each season and, this season, 29 Random Acts Of Entertainment! We have had an educational component to our programming from the beginning, offering summer camps, one-day workshops, after school classes, and outreach at several area schools. We have gone through many changes over the past six decades. We started out as a small group of thespians with a passion and a mission. 17 years ago, we moved into the old PIX theatre in the heart of downtown Waukesha. Look for our new marquees next time you drive down Main Street! This season, we are thrilled to partner with Waukesha Reads to promote community engagement with the NEA Big Read book, To Kill A Mockingbird.

We are also presenting To Kill A Mockingbird as our second Mainstage show in our 60th season. This American classic is directed by Rhonda Marie Schmidt and runs October 28-November 13, 2016. In addition to our 11 regular performances, we are offering 3 weekday matinees for school groups. We will offer talkbacks after the Sunday matinee performances and after each of the weekday matinees for schools. The talkbacks will feature cast members and community scholars, coordinated by Waukesha Reads. There are still seats available for school groups – call our box office for more information!

Here’s the schedule of performances:

Friday, October 28th at 7:30 pm

Saturday, October 29th at 7:30 pm (Pay What You Can)

Sunday, October 30th at 2:00 pm

Thursday, November 3rd at 9:30 am

Friday, November 4th at 7:30 pm

Saturday, November 5th at 3:30 pm

Saturday, November 5th at 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 6th at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, November 9th at 9:30 am

Thursday, November 10th at 8:30 am (SOLD OUT!)

Friday, November 11th at 7:30 pm

Saturday, November 12th at 2:00 pm (Pay What You Can)

Saturday, November 12th at 7:30 pm

Sunday, November 13th at 2:00 pm

We have several ways for you to save on live, quality entertainment here at Waukesha’s cultural cornerstone!

Join us as a subscriber to save 19-26%! You’ll also get a Subscriber Benefits Card, which you can use to get discounts or deals at 16 downtown Waukesha restaurants!

If you are going to buy 4 or more tickets to a Mainstage show, get a Fabulous Flex Pass. This includes 4 tickets, which you can use in any combination to a Mainstage show, and then any other ticket you buy for the rest of the season is at the subscriber rate of $21 per ticket.

If you are a student at any level, you can take advantage of our Student Rush rate. Student Rush tickets are available at the box office on the day of the performance and are a 50% savings!

We also have two Pay What You Can (PWYC) performances for each Mainstage production. On these dates, (which are always the first Saturday evening and third Saturday matinee of a production run) if you buy your tickets at the box office that day, you can name your own price! There’s no better deal in theatre!

We consider a group to be 10 or more patrons attending the same performance. If the group is school-related, Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts, they qualify for our Educational Group Rate – a 63% savings!

Our ticket price structure for Mainstage shows is:

$27 Adult

$24 Student/Senior (60+)/Military

$21 Subscriber/Group (10+)

$13.50 Student Rush

$10 Educational Group (10+)

If you like what you see, bring your ticket stub back to see the show again at half price! Use it yourself, or pass it along to a friend who hasn’t seen the show. This is our Terrific Tickets deal and it’s a great way for friends and family to take advantage of the quality live theatre we have right here in the heart of downtown Waukesha.

Tickets are available at the box office Tuesday-Friday, from noon to 5 pm or 24/7 online! Call our box office at 262.547.0708 or visit us at www.waukeshacivictheatre.org for more information. We hope to see you soon at Waukesha’s cultural cornerstone – a hidden gem in the heart of downtown!

World Theatre Day Message 2016 by Anatoli Vassiliev

LogoDo we need theatre?

That is the question thousands of professionals disappointed in theatre and millions of people who are tired of it are asking themselves.

What do we need it for?

In those years when the scene is so insignificant in comparison with the city squares and state lands, where the authentic tragedies of real life are being played.

What is it to us?

Gold-plated galleries and balconies in the theatre halls, velvet armchairs, dirty stage wings, well-polished actors’ voices, – or vice versa, something that might look apparently different: black boxes, stained with mud and blood, with a bunch of rabid naked bodies inside.

What is it able to tell us?

Everything!

Theatre can tell us everything.

How the gods dwell in heaven, and how prisoners languish in forgotten caves underground, and how passion can elevate us, and how love can ruin, and how no-one needs a good person in this world, and how deception reigns, and how people live in apartments, while children wither in refugee camps, and how they all have to return back to the desert, and how day after day we are forced to part with our beloveds, – theatre can tell everything.

The theatre has always been and it will remain forever.

And now, in those last fifty or seventy years, it is particularly necessary. Because if you take a look at all the public arts, you can immediately see that only theatre is giving us – a word from mouth to mouth, a glance from eye to eye, a gesture from hand to hand, and from body to body. It does not need any intermediary to work among human beings – it constitutes the most transparent side of light, it does not belong to either south, or north, or east, or west – oh no, it is the essence of light itself, shining from all four corners of the world, immediately recognizable by any person, whether hostile or friendly towards it. And we need theatre that always remains different, we need theatre of many different kinds. Still, I think that among all possible forms and shapes of theatre its archaic forms will now prove to be mostly in demand. Theatre of ritual forms should not be artificially opposed to that of “civilized” nations. Secular culture is now being more and more emasculated, so-called “cultural information” gradually replaces and pushes out simple entities, as well as our hope of eventually meeting them one day. But I can see it clearly now: theatre is opening its doors widely. Free admission for all and everybody.

To hell with gadgets and computers – just go to the theatre, occupy whole rows in the stalls and in the galleries, listen to the word and look at living images! – it is theatre in front of you, do not neglect it and do not miss a chance to participate in it – perhaps the most precious chance we share in our vain and hurried lives.

We need every kind of theatre.

There is only one theatre which is surely not needed by anyone – I mean a theatre of political games, a theatre of a political “mousetraps”, a theatre of politicians, a futile theatre of politics. What we certainly do not need is a theatre of daily terror – whether individual or collective, what we do not need is the theatre of corpses and blood on the streets and squares, in the capitals or in the provinces, a phony theatre of clashes between religions or ethnic groups…

 

Translation from Russian original: Natalia Isaeva