Blog Archives

Announcing Our 62nd Mainstage Season!

July of 2018 marks the beginning of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 62nd season. WCT is proud to be part of an elite group: according to the American Association of Community Theatres, of the roughly 7,000 community theatres in the United States, only about 100 can claim 60 years of continuous operation. Since the theatre opened in 1957, WCT has produced or presented more than 650 shows, over 14,000 people have volunteered, 450,000 audience members have been entertained, and more than 15,000 students have been served.

 

We are thrilled to announce our 62nd Mainstage Season:

Comedy | September 14 – 30, 2018 Snowed in at their wealthy patron’s Westchester estate, a creative team reunites to launch a new show – stalked by the “Stage Door Slasher,” who haunted their last Broadway flop. (NOT a musical. YES a comedy!)

Directed By Carol Dolphin 

 

 

 

 

Musical Comedy | October 26 – November 11, 2018

Set during the miners’ strike of 1984-85, this musical follows Billy as he trades in boxing gloves for ballet shoes and develops the courage to be uniquely himself. This show contains strong language – discretion advised.

Directed By Mark E. Schuster

 

 

 

 

Holiday Variety Show | November 30 – December 16, 2018 Celebrate with a cast of all ages acting, singing, and dancing through classic seasonal songs and stories. This WCT family tradition is a must-see part of the holiday season.

Directed By John Cramer & Kelly Goeller

 

 

 

 

Comedy | February 8 – 24, 2019 Adapted by Steve Martin; this comedy is set in Germany, 1910. As events unfold, Theo worries about scandal and repercussions at his job as a government clerk. Louise allows herself to revel in newfound fame, reveling in the possibilities. They explore scandal, fame, and gender roles through intricate wordplay.

Directed By Phil Stepanski

 

 

 

Musical Comedy | March 29 – April 14, 2019 Millie, a small town girl from Kansas, arrives in New York ready to become a star. This madcap musical comedy is full of bright, 1920s music and dance.

Directed By James Padovano

 

 

 

Drama | May 3 – 19, 2019 Jonas lives in a utopia with no pain, no fear – and no choice. Jonas is assigned to be the Receiver of his community’s memories and learns that life does not have to be so black and white. Based on the Newberry Award winning novel by Lois Lowry.

Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger

 

 

 

Comedy | June 7 – 23, 2019 Barnaby Folcey is murdered at a family gathering where he had the motive to murder everyone, but no one had reason to want him dead. Everything seems to go wrong in this absurd comedy – there are secret passages, poison in the sherry, and the police take forever to arrive, so the eclectic group tries to unmask the murderer themselves.

Directed By David Kaye

 

 

Subscription Packages Go On Sale May 1, 2018 | Individual Mainstage Tickets Go On Sale July 1, 2018 

See you at the Theatre!

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Director’s Notes: For Purely Elfish Reasons

Over the years, many people have asked me how my odd sense of humor came to be. Of course, some of the credit/blame falls on my parents, but so much of it came from another source. On so many weekends, my sister and I would get our parents to take us to Blockbuster Video to rent VHS tapes of the Marx Brothers. Oh, the Marx Brothers… they only made sense when absolutely necessary, but you still could find layers in their humor. From the wit and verbal jabs of Groucho to the wisecracking foolishness of Chico and the sweet pantomime of Harpo, these brothers helped form my humor from a very early age.

In December of 2014, I went to the Alchemist Theatre to see a brand new, five-person show by my old friend Jason Powell. I hadn’t read anything in advance about this Elfish Reasons show, so I didn’t know what the show was about. Almost immediately, a performer came on stage dressed as a Christmas elf Groucho Marx! Then we got to see Jason himself as Chico! And look – Harpo too! I feel as if I owe an apology to anyone else that was in the theatre that night. I have never been a subtle laugher, and I worry I may have ruptured an eardrum or two with my uncontrollable guffaws.

This year, Christmas came early and I was tasked with bringing the new expanded version of this wonderful musical to the stage at Waukesha Civic Theatre. This has been a monumental task (as I’ve directed only one musical, and never a show with more than 14 people) but also a monumental joy. Working with this cast and this crew to bring purely silly holiday frivolity to the stage is a privilege I may never be able to match.

This is a sweet show. It is about caring and joy and love beyond the jokes and jibes. It is also about sitting back in a theatre and laughing with a whole room full of people. There are no great lessons from a ghost of Christmas future, but this show offers a chance to laugh and smile with those around you and those you love. For me, that is the true meaning of Christmas.

Thank you for coming, enjoy the show, and hail, hail Fredonia!

Kaye David 2015

David Kaye

Director

MAD Corner: For Purely Elfish Reasons

As Andy Williams said, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” And in the words of Blues Traveler, “If it’s Hanukah, or Kwanzaa, Solstice Harvest, or December 25th, peace on earth to everyone, and abundance to everyone you’re with.” I love this season, and I love WCT’s tradition of presenting an affordable family show for the community to enjoy. This season we present a hidden gem by local playwright/composer Jason Powell: For Purely Elfish Reasons, a holiday show with great characters and a story line that gives a respectful (and hilarious) nod to the Marx Brothers.

Our Spotlight On The Future Campaign is coming to a close. This major gift campaign has a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. So far we have raised 47% of our goal and have already put these donations to good use. A new HVAC unit, our new lighting catwalk, our new retractable movie screen and projector (join us for our December movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas), a new sound board for the Mainstage, new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall, and our new LED marquees and window displays. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a year end gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

And remember, if you’re looking for a good gift to give this season, consider our Festive Flex Four For $64 or a gift card … wonderful gifts of theatre to share with anyone! Happy Holidays!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

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

A Note From The Playwright

For Purely Elfish Reasons has a kind of strange pedigree, as I keep on adapting it for different audiences and venues. It was originally written for an audience of very little children, commissioned by a company that then dissolved before they could produce it. I rewrote the show, adding brand new songs, years later for a six-person ensemble in Bay View’s Alchemist Theatre. (And those six people included the director, stage manager and accompanist, all of whom also played characters in the show and two of whom were me.) This third iteration was customized once again to fit the specifications of a big holiday show at Waukesha Civic Theatre, with a much larger list of characters and twice as many new original songs. I’m very grateful to WCT for allowing this now full-length original musical to continue its slow-but-steady evolutionary path.

Through all of the show’s permutations, the premise has remained consistent. I love the holidays and I love the Marx Brothers. Of course I love other things too, but the comedy of Groucho, Harpo and Chico has something else in common with Christmastime in my brain: They are things that I enjoyed a lot when I was a child AND which I still enjoy today. The holidays to me are all about family – both young and old. So when I found myself in the position of writing a Christmas comedy, it made sense to me to look to the comedians whose humor appealed to me as a young child and still appeals to me as an adult.

When I watch old Marx Brothers movies, I’m in awe of how timeless the material seems. Granted, some of the topical references sail right past my head, I’ll admit that. But their sense of timing, their playful use of language, the absurdity, the physical comedy … those things haven’t aged. It all feels very fresh to me…it’s “classic,” in the best sense of the word.

The idea of recasting the Marx personae as Christmas elves seemed a natural fit, to my mind. I learned after I wrote the show that one of the last projects that Chico, Groucho and Harpo worked on together was a sitcom pilot in which they all portrayed heavenly angels (complete with halos that looked like giant bagels, which Harpo ends up snacking on just a few minutes into the story). So I guess my impulse to cast them as characters from a Christmas song wasn’t too out of the box. It’s just that instead of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” I went with something more out of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

And from that impulse came For Purely Elfish Reasons, a show in which every single character is an elf who either works in Santa’s workshop or used to…including the Marx stand-ins Jules, Dolly and Lonnie (you can look up the brothers’ real names if you’re curious about those source of those handles). That was the other thing that appealed to me about the premise…I’ve seen shows that featured Christmas elves among the cast before, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in which EVERY single character had pointy ears. Maybe it’s the Leonard Nimoy fan in me.

In combining the Marx Bros. with the North Pole, my “Christmas wish” is that Elfish has something for everybody. Certainly if you’re a fan of movies like Duck Soup and Night at the Opera, you’ll find some nods and winks, and some redux versions of a few classic sequences to make you smile. But ideally, I very much hope the show also taps into something timeless and classic, so that even if you’re completely unfamiliar with those old films, you’ll still find yourself tickled by the same things that bring a grin to my own lips…Not just the gags and punchlines and slapstick, but also that ineffable holiday spirit, that uniquely Christmas-y warmth that always gives me “comfort and joy” at this time of year.

jason-powellPlease enjoy the show!

Jason Powell

Playwright

MAD Corner: Almost, Maine

Cramer John 2006

Almost, Maine is one of those shows that makes you say “awwww” and “what just happened?” in the same moment. I love that. It is sweet and quirky, funny and sad, a slice of life and completely bizarre all at the same time. We hope you enjoy this charming little story about love, life, and living as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to our stage.

Last fall we announced Spotlight On The Future, a major gift campaign with a goal to raise $750,000, providing capital for upgrades that will enhance the theatre experience, increase advertising revenue, decrease operating expenses, and provide for building maintenance. So far we have raised 45% of our goal and have already put these donations to good use. A new HVAC unit, our new lighting catwalk, our new retractable movie screen and projector, a new sound board for the Mainstage, and new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and treasure that you give to WCT. Keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director’s Notes: Almost, Maine

Kaye David 2015As Valentine’s Day comes around, our thoughts inherently turn to love. This doesn’t mean we are all thinking the same thing. Some people remember the first kiss, the first look, long love that you slip into like a comfortable robe, or the love that broke and we left behind. Almost, Maine is all of these. This play is a snapshot of love in all its glory, grandeur, tears, and hope. As we peek into these characters’ lives we get to see memories of ourselves and the loves we’ve had, lost, dreamt of, and hope to find soon. To embrace love, we must accept every aspect of it. That is why this play is special; it lets us give the gift of love in all its forms to some of the most important people in the world, you, our audience.

Happy Valentines, and may you see the love on stage that you will find yourself.

David Kaye

Director

 

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Almost, Maine

Vance Kelly 2015

Love is in the air! Welcome to Waukesha Civic Theatre and this performance of Almost, Maine. A town so far north, it’s almost not in the United States…it’s almost in Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist because its residents never got around to getting organized! The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had this to say: “Joyful, sad, haunting. Delivers unexpected twists. Clever. Almost, Maine is a bouquet of love stories. There’s something about Maine that propels its writers beyond the comfy campfire and into the woods, where anything can happen…and often does.”

When it comes to great entertainment, there is no better jewel than Waukesha’s own Civic Theatre. Now in its 59th season, 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 to fit 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 the theatre provides.

And now as Sam Cooke sang…“Cupid draw back your bow, and let your arrow flow, straight to my lover’s heart for me!” Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Kelly Vance

Board of Directors

Our Historic 59th Season Is Nearly Here!

59th season blogThe Waukesha Civic Theatre is proud to announce its 2015-2016 season! With seven Mainstage shows and plenty of special events, our 59th season is sure to have something for everyone! Here are our Mainstage shows:

A Little Night Music, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by John Baiocchi.

When a fading but glamorous actress unexpectedly encounters an old flame, buried passions are rekindled in this classic from Stephen Sondheim. Weaving a complex story of jealousy, betrayal, lust, and love, A Little Night Music is a mature and sophisticated musical. (Sept. 18-Oct. 5, 2015)

The Turn of the Screwby Jack Neary. Directed by Mary Rynders.

A governess, isolated in a sprawling manor home, must contend with the ghosts haunting her two young charges. When no one else believes her, she struggles to prove she isn’t crazy in this psychologically eerie Henry James tale. (Oct. 30-Nov. 15, 2015)

Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols, originally conceived by John Cramer. Additional material by Katie Danner, Jes Sudbrink, and Jacob Sudbrink. Directed by Jes Sudbrink and Jacob Sudbrink.

The Civic’s holiday tradition returns for its seventh year. Featuring beloved Christmas songs and characters, Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols brings a mix of old and new, classic and contemporary holiday cheer. Come ring in the season with WCT! (Dec. 4-20, 2015)

Almost, Maine, by John Cariani. Directed by David Kaye.

Love comes (and goes) in all shapes and sizes. Almost, Maine, one of the most popular American plays of the last decade, features interlocking vignettes of finding and losing love in a small Maine town that almost wasn’t. (Feb. 5-21, 2016)

Leading Ladies, by Ken Ludwig. Directed by Dustin J. Martin.

Jack and Leo are down on their luck Shakespearean actors with dreams of Hollywood. When they learn a wealthy older woman is seeking her long-lost relatives and heirs, they decide some impersonation is in order. Their plot hits a snag when they learn the young relatives aren’t nephews, but nieces! (March 4-20, 2016)

Annie Get Your Gun, music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, book by Dorothy Fields, revised by Peter Stone. Directed by John Cramer.

Sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler find fame, love, and rivalry in this bombastic musical, featuring popular songs like “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “The Girl That I Marry” and “Anything You Can Do.” (April 29-May 15, 2016)

Fawlty Towers, by John Cleese. Directed by David Scott.

Basil and Sybil Fawlty run a lovely countryside hotel, but Basil’s short temper and Sybil’s bossiness assure that everything that can go wrong will.  Based on scripts from the brilliant British sitcom starring Monty Python vet John Cleese, Fawlty Towers will leave you in stitches. (June 3-19, 2016)


All Mainstage shows run for three weekends. The performance schedule is as follows:

Day Time
First Friday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
First Saturday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
First Sunday (Matinee) 2:00 p.m.
Second Friday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
Second Saturday (Matinee) 3:30 p.m.
Second Saturday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
Second Sunday (Matinee) 2:00 p.m.
Third Friday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
Third Saturday (Matinee) 2:00 p.m.
Third Saturday (Evening) 7:30 p.m.
Third Sunday (Matinee) 2:00 p.m.

Season Tickets for our 2015-2016 season will go on sale May 1, 2015. Individual tickets will go on sale on July 1, 2015. We offer several season ticket packages. Becoming a subscriber of the Waukesha Civic Theatre includes several benefits, including reduced ticket prices for the original package, a Subscriber Benefits Card which entitles you to discounts and deals at local restaurants, the ability to exchange tickets at no charge, and discounts on any additional tickets. Check out our subscription packages below.

The Package The Savings!
Sensational Seven $105.00 ($15 a ticket) 35% savings
Super Six $96 ($16 per ticket) 30% savings
Fabulous Flex $68 ($17 per ticket) 26% savings
Perfect PIX 3 $54 ($18 per ticket) 22% savings

All individual tickets and subscription packages may be purchased by mail, phone, email, fax online, or in person. We accept cash, check, and credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express). See you at the Theatre!