Blog Archives

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Sex Please We’re Sixty

Greetings!  

It is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 61st season! I want to personally THANK YOU on behalf of the entire WCT family including the Board of Directors, theatre staff, actors, actresses, technicians, ushers, A.C.T. students and families, and all of our wonderful volunteers. As a patron of the arts, you are an essential and important ingredient to every effort that is put on stage at WCT! 

Waukesha Civic Theatre offers a wide variety of performances and educational opportunities that enrich our community’s culture. With so many programs and activities geared for any age you are sure to find something that fits your particular interest. Become an ambassador for Waukesha Civic Theatre and help us spread the word throughout our community about the excellent entertainment and educational opportunities that WCT provides. Your continued support over the past 60 years means the world to us, and we know that “all the world’s a stage…”

 Enjoy this evening’s performance of Sex Please We’re Sixty and we look forward to seeing you many times throughout our 61st season!

 

 

Kelly Vance

WCT Board President 

 

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PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Dead Poets Society

 

“O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills” ~ Walt Whitman

Dead Poets Society is our third PIX Flix in our 61st season! Robin Williams called this one of his favorite performances of all time: “it had some sort of amazing… there’s something in that movie that affected people beyond just a movie.” Join us as we help celebrate his legacy! Get inspired by joining us for this extraordinary film on September 25th at 6:30 pm! Tickets are $5 for everyone – you won’t find a better deal than that!

As in all his roles, Robin Williams lent a certain genius to this film. Playing a new English teacher, John Keating, he sets out to encourage his students to cast aside normality and chart their own course through life. Learning of his colorful past, his students resurrect the unsanctioned Dead Poets Society, and sneak off to explore their own individuality. What follows is a foray you won’t want to miss!

“The poem by Henry David Thoreau that is featured on the front page of the poetry book Neil receives is not an original poem by Thoreau. Rather, it is a rearrangement of sentences from his work “Where I Lived,” Chapter Two from his seminal work, Walden.” ~IMDb

 “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, …” ~Henry David Thoreau

Dead Poets Society won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Tom Schulman). Peter Weir received a nomination for Best Director and the film itself was nominated for Best Picture of 1989. Robin Williams received his second Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination and it has since been widely recognized as one of the actor/comedian’s best roles. It also won the BAFTA Award for Best Film.

For only $5, join us on September 25th to celebrate the legacy of Robin Williams, Tom Schulman, poetic inspiration, and our 61st season all at once! See you at the PIX!

 


Jonathan Danner

WCT Board Secretary

 

“Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”

~John Keating

Director’s Note: Sex Please We’re Sixty

On the surface, I am an unconventional choice as a director for Sex Please We’re Sixty.  What does a man in his thirties know about the romantic lives of menopausal women and a sixty-something Casanova?  Turns out, not a whole lot. 

But as I got to know Bud, Mrs. Stancliffe, and the visitors of the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast, I discovered a more universal story, one that speaks to people of all ages; especially those of my generation.

In today’s world, more than ever before, we find ourselves looking for a sense of purpose. We get caught up in the business of our jobs, our kids, countless activities, the news of the world. We tell friends and family that we’ll visit, “when things settle down” or “when we have time.” We send emails or texts instead of making phone calls. Entire stories are told in 140 characters, a small series of pictures, or a six-second video. The digital age has made us more connected, but many people feel more isolated.

This show is a reminder that at all ages, we seek love, companionship, and a purpose in life. Sometimes we pretend to be something we aren’t in order to get what we think we want. Sometimes we get stuck in a routine and need an objective person to give us a push in a new direction. Sometimes the things we want require the most effort and time (even 20 years). Sometimes we need someone to see us for who we truly are, flaws and all. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings wanting to be loved and accepted.

Thank you to the cast and crew for all their hard work on this show, to John Cramer for this opportunity to direct my first show at WCT, and to family and friends for their support.

 

 

Peter Kao
Director

 

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

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

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

Director’s Note: Blithe Spirit

I’m an enormously talented man and there’s no use pretending that I’m not.

-Noël Coward

Noël Coward is one of the wittiest, funniest, and most outrageous playwrights of the British theatre.  Somehow, it doesn’t matter that his plays take place in another country, that they present outlandish situations with equally outlandish characters, or that they were written three-quarters of a century ago.  They still work.

Noël Peirce Coward was born in 1899 and made his professional stage debut as Prince Mussel in The Goldfish at the age of 12, leading to many child actor appearances over the next few years.  During the frenzied 1920s and the more sedate 1930s, Coward wrote a string of successful plays, musicals and intimate revues.  He remained a successful playwright, screenwriter and director throughout the World War II years, as well as entertaining the troops and even acting as an unofficial spy for the Foreign Office. His plays during these years included Blithe Spirit which ran for 1,997 performances and outlasted the War.

The post-war years were more difficult for him. Austere Britain – the London critics determined – was out of tune with the brittle Coward wit. In response, Coward re-invented himself as a cabaret and TV star, particularly in America, and in 1955 he played a sell-out season in Las Vegas featuring many of his most famous songs.  In the mid-1950s he settled in Jamaica and Switzerland, and enjoyed a renaissance in the early 1960s becoming the first living playwright to be performed by the National Theatre.

Writer, actor, director, film producer, painter, songwriter, cabaret artist as well as an author of a novel, verse, essays and autobiographies, he was called by close friends “The Master.”  Coward was knighted in 1970 and died peacefully in 1973 in his beloved Jamaica.

There is nothing deep about this play.  There are no symbols, hidden meanings, or secret situations.  What we have is the amazingly creative mind of a writer whose sole purpose seems to be to give us enjoyment.  So – please laugh.  Please enjoy.  Please leave your worries behind.  This is what Noël Coward would have wished.  And so do I.

dolphin-carol-2006-cropped

Carol Dolphin

Director