Blog Archives

Spotlight On The Board: Billy Elliot The Musical

Welcome to the Waukesha Civic Theatre and this performance of Billy Elliot The Musical. In my tenure as a board member, I have heard repeatedly from our patrons their desire for WCT to bring modern and challenging shows to the community. What show better fits that bill then Billy Elliot, an award winning show that has thrilled audiences around the world while promoting acceptance and open mindedness and positively challenging notions of traditional gender roles. Scored by Elton John, this show is a great showcase for local talent of all ages to sing, dance and perform.

Waukesha Civic Theatre counts on your support to be able to continue to bring great performances and opportunities to our community. Let your friends, family and neighbors know how much you enjoyed this show and spread the word on social media.

The board, cast, crew and volunteers, not just of Billy Elliot but from the dozens of events each season, sincerely thank you for coming out and being a part of the Waukesha Civic Theatre.

 

 

Thank you and enjoy!

Brian Goeller

Board Of Directors

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Director’s Note: Billy Elliot The Musical

Bringing this story to life has been something of a challenge and at the same time, a real pleasure. Billy Elliot is a show that has a lot of dance elements in it (because Billy dreams of being a ballet dancer, that makes sense…) and I’m not used to working on a show that has so much dance involved. I have been SO lucky to be able to work with Ceci and Emily and their amazing commitment to creating the first rate dance numbers you’re about to see. It has been so cool to see the cast grow through rehearsals and watch the numbers really come together. Our collaboration has helped shape the feel of the production and helped me to be a better member of our creative team. I’m glad I had Ceci to rely on and bounce ideas off… she’s done amazing things!

I had the privilege of seeing this show in NYC in 2009 and it quickly became a favorite of mine.  I could easily relate to Billy and his dreams of being something other than what was expected.  The most moving part of this show to me, is how the community comes together in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty for them to help Billy reach for his dreams. Their support and encouragement help him find the strength to be true to himself and start down his path to the future.

I’ve always had the support of my family and close friends – they’ve been “right behind me” as I’ve been following my dream of doing theatre for nearly 40 years. This production staff has also been such a pleasure to work with – Ceci, Sharon, Yeng, Michael, Chris, Josh, Keith, Emily, Terri, Kristin and of course my Stage Manager (and right arm) – Debbie (you’re STILL not fired!!). Thank you guys SO much! My job is easy when I have the quality support and creativity that you bring to our productions! This cast has been a joy to work with as well. They truly represent the spirit of Community Theatre and have worked VERY hard to bring this story to the stage.

I hope you enjoy our show as much as we’ve enjoying bringing it to you. I have to agree with the lyrics in Expressing Yourself – “life is gray enough without making it worse – what we need is INDIVIDUALITY!” I hope you find the courage and the support to truly be who you are. Follow your dreams, you never know where they will take you.

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Mark E. Schuster

Director

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

The Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery Presents: The Rogues Gallery

Rogues’ Gallery is a diverse group of seasoned, eclectic artists: painters, sculptors, metal smiths, bookmakers, muralists and poets…doing what we’ve loved doing for decades – creating artworks to share with the world. Members include Donna Staats, Lynda Brothen, Marcia Houde Hero, Cherie Raffel, Debbie Callahan, JJ Joyce, Susanne Eli Germaine, Thomas Buchs, Beth Stoddard, Daniel Pierce, Julie San Felipe, Laura Easey-Jones, Scott Olson, Brad Anthony Bernard, Carol Christ, Marcia Hochstetter, and Gwen Granzow.

 

Debbie Callahan’s Biography and Statement:

Debbie Callahan was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana and from an early age showed interest in painting and drawing. In recent years she has worked primarily in chalk pastel, acrylic paint, and watercolor, doing mostly figurative and still life paintings. She paints traditional subject matter in an untraditional way. Her lines are often hazy, colors muted and forms simplified. The colors often run into each other. Debbie’s compositions are rarely complicated; she prefers to keep the focus directed on the subject without many distractions in the painting. She tries to integrate these components into a cohesive painting.

To Debbie, artists are born, not created. She has always known she was an artist. She believes, in many ways, an artist’s skills are self-taught. A formal art education can teach us many things about the process but only by having awareness and listening to our own voices can we develop our own unique style of expressing ourselves.

She has studied with many accomplished artists, including James Hempel, Terry Stanley, Joye Moon, and Fred Bell. Debbie has been inspired by many artists who have come before her: Odilon Redon, Marc Chagall, John Singer Sargent, Alice Neel, Lucien Freud, and Louise Bourgeois.

Debbie has exhibited widely, received several awards, and her work has been included in numerous exhibit periodicals and catalogues. One of Debbie’s pieces, Madonna & Child, was chosen from over 100 submissions to be featured on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Christmas Day 2012 as the “Gift of Art” to Wisconsin from the publishers.

She is self-represented in her own gallery, The Martini Girls Gallery & Studio LLC, and is currently working on creating art journals, watercolors on hand made papers, as well as curating and producing group art exhibits. Debbie is active in several art organizations and related activities. She hopes to continue to have an awareness of her inner voice and an expression of it in her paintings.

 

The autobiographical nature of many of my paintings is a therapy of sorts, and has given me the opportunity to look at memories of myself as a little girl from the safer distance of years. I follow the trail of thoughts, the chaos of that time when I had no voice, and put them to paper and create beauty from the pain, a platform to be heard. And my art continues to evolve into further explorations of childhood, in figure and plein air work, especially the plein air allows me to escape into a more soothing and tranquil place to rest and renew.

 

Cherie Raffel’s Biography and Statement:

Cherie Raffel graduated from National Louis University in Evanston, IL in 1972 with a degree in Art History, and a Math/Science minor. She has exhibited at The Knick; the restaurant at the Knickerbocker Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, the Atypic Gallery in Fox Point, the Cedarburg Cultural Center, The Anderson in Kenosha, and the Schauer Center in Hartford, the Grafton Arts Mill, Inspiration Studios in West Allis, and others. Cherie is a member of the League of Milwaukee Artists and the Rogues’ Gallery. She has won numerous awards.

In 2013, Cherie was introduced to plein air painting (painting outdoors), and fell in love with it. She has been participating in many plein air events in the area for the past 4 years. Cherie prefers to work in watercolors and acrylics. Her website is www.cherieraffel.com.

 

A native Wisconsinite, Cherie Raffel loves to paint outdoors to capture the seasonal changes. She also loves to paint flowers. Cherie began painting as a child, and won 1st place in the national contest, “What America Means to Me” sponsored by Standard Oil when she was 12. More recently, she has won several awards in the League of Milwaukee seasonal shows. When asked about what influences her as an artist, she said “I found that being a painter is the best way to express the full range of beauty in nature.” Cherie’s use of color, rhythm, and light invite the viewer to see the subject in a new way.

She has sold in and around Wisconsin, and participated in numerous workshops taught by nationally recognized artists including: Jane E Jones, Naomi Brotherton, M. Douglas Walton, and Don Andrews.

 

Julie San Felipe Biography and Statement:

Julie San Felipe spent her early years in Chicago, and has since lived in the Milwaukee area, currently residing in New Berlin, WI. She has always had an interest in art and words as long as she can remember. Her artistic background includes classes at UW Milwaukee, MIAD, and MATC, that included calligraphy, painting, drawing, art history, framing, and literature. She teaches Irish calligraphy.

Self-study of ancient manuscripts, researching and sampling original materials, meditating over illuminated pages, and understanding and appreciating the dedication of the monks and other artists, she continues to learn using modern techniques. Her participation and love of dance, the Irish language, reading poetry, travels to Ireland and Northern Wisconsin, and music, provide a strong presence in her work.

An award-winning member of the League of Milwaukee Artists, she has also been invited for several solo shows in Wisconsin, including Irish Fest (2006 and 2017), a successful run at Next Act Theatre (2017), Leenhouts Gallery, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, and the IAHC in Chicago.

All of the materials and tools she uses are professional grade, the best paints and paper in the industry, and museum quality archival mats and framing, intended to last nearly forever, (but as with all watercolors, should be kept from long periods of direct sunlight).

The poetry, prose, and songs used in the artwork are either in the public domain or permission was kindly given by the authors. Writers, musicians, and all artists and owners of intellectual property should receive credit and compensation for their work. Talented people are a pleasure to correspond and work with. The words and translations are found on the back of all her framed art.

Calligraphic paintings in watercolor, of figures drifting in and out of poetry,

WEAVING OLDEN DANCES, MINGLING HANDS AND MINGLING GLANCES,

Flirting between reality and ancient, traditional Celtic art.

Hand written words, flowing across paper, telling tales with imagination and originality          

And WITH A FULL BUT SOFT EMOTION LIKE THE SWELL OF SUMMER’S OCEAN,

Where the love of poems and a need for art merge.

Layers of vivid and intense colors overlapping with symbolism and humor

Where THE MOON NEVER SLEEPS WITHOUT BRINGING ME DREAMS

About the lingering passion of place, visits with Ireland, and the nature of Wisconsin.