Blog Archives

Director’s Note: 33 Variations

I love how highly theatrical 33 Variations is in examining how we choose to live our lives when we know the end is closer than the beginning. It is this combination of theatricality and powerful storytelling that drew me to this play.

“Time is scarce” multiple characters tell us during the play. Both Dr. Katherine Brandt and Beethoven are trying to complete their work before their bodies ultimately rob them of the ability to do so.

For me, it is much broader than that. Time is scarce for all of us. None of us know how much time we have left. Therefore, we need to lives our lives to the fullest and enjoy what we have been given and those closest to us.

My eldest daughters are entering high school this fall. I have spent a lot of time recently bemoaning the little time I have left with them until they become adults and head out into the world. This play has directly challenged me to be sure that I do not waste that time while I have it.

After all … Time is scarce.

Dustin J. Martin

Director

Partnering With The Medical Community On 33 Variations

Verisimilitude is a term often associated with theatrical productions. It is defined as “the appearance of being true or real.” For me, plays need to contain a similarity to truth which helps the play be relatable for the audience. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if it perfectly resembles reality, but suggests it enough for each individual audience member to build off the verisimilitude by filling in the gaps themselves.

While I was studying 33 Variations in advance of our rehearsal process, it was clear to me that verisimilitude would not be enough for a character who has ALS that would progressively get worse as the play went along. An accurate portrayal of the physical and vocal impediments of this debilitating disease would be vital. Having never personally experienced ALS, I knew that I would need to connect with those who had.

By day, I work at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In partnership with Froedtert Hospital, there is an ALS Clinic located right here in Milwaukee that is one of only 26 in the United States to be certified by the ALS Association. I was able to connect with the physicians who work in the clinic, who then connected me with the Wisconsin chapter of the ALS Association.

The individuals who work there were tremendous. They fully supported our efforts to learn more about ALS and to create an accurate picture of the disease. They invited us to attend an ALS support group meeting to talk about the show and to allow us to observe and interact with ALS patients. Two actresses, Beth Perry and Paula Garcia, and I were privileged to attend. As Beth portrays the ALS patient in the play, this time of interaction was invaluable.

They also lent us a rolling walker for use in the show and a physical therapist came to a rehearsal to help us accurately stage a scene that revolves around physical therapy. Their enthusiasm and willingness to assist our production has been greatly appreciated.

To return that appreciation, we’ve arranged for ALS literature and a donation box to be available in the lobby during the run of the show. ALS research is heavily reliant on private donations. The ice bucket challenges from a few years ago certainly helped raise awareness and donations but more help is needed. I know they will be thankful for any amount you would be willing to give.

In addition, representatives from the ALS Association Wisconsin Chapter and the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin ALS Clinic will join the cast and crew for talk backs immediately following the performances on March 12 at 2:00 pm and March 19 at 2:00 pm.

I hope you will come out to see this fantastically theatrical and powerful show. It is one that you will not soon forget.

Martin Dustin 2012Dustin J. Martin

Director

Cramer’s Corner: We Are Marching Along With Another Great Month Of Entertainment!

Everyone marches to the beat of a different drummer but, lucky for you, we have something for everyone at WCT during the month of March.

We open our next Mainstage show, 33 Variations, next week.  This innovative and inspiring show focuses on a modern music scholar facing the end of her life as she studies the mysteries of Beethoven and the 33 variations of a simple melody he composed while facing the end of his.  The show runs March 10-26 with two Pay What You Can performances on March 11 at 7:30 pm and March 25 at 2:00 pm.  We will also have two talk backs with ALS specialists joining the cast and crew immediately after the performances on March 12 at 2:00 pm and March 19 at 2:00 pm.  And we will be selling raffle tickets for several amazing items including the always popular Discount Liquor Basket.

 

We have two auditions coming up this month.  Barefoot In The Park auditions will be held on Monday, March 13, and Tuesday, March 14, starting at 6:30 pm both nights. Kelly Goeller is directing. And Miscast auditions will be held on March 27 starting at 6:30 pm.  Meghan Hopper is directing.

 

Our next PIX Flix movie of the season will be Mr. Holland’s Opus on March 20 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, Alicia Witt, and more.  All tickets are $5.00, and we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and … wait for it … POPCORN!

 

Our spring fundraiser gala, Festival Of Fools, will be held at Westmoor Country Club on Saturday, April 1st.  We are thrilled to announce that our King And Queen of the festival will be Joel and Rebecca Kleefisch, and our emcee will be Vince Vitrano.  This will be an event you don’t want to miss, so get your tickets NOW!

 

 

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby is a group of students from Waukesha South High School.  They were challenged to create art inspired by 33 Variations in only 33 days, and it is amazing!

 

Our 60th Season is on sale now.  Subscription packages for the Mainstage shows, and individual tickets for everything can be purchased now.  Please join us for the second half of our current great season of entertainment!

 

Registration is open for our A.C.T. spring and summer sessions, including our summer ACT production Disney’s The Lion King JR.

 

Just in case you missed it last month, our 61st season will include:

Sex Please We’re Sixty (directed by Peter Kao)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (an area premier directed by Mark E. Schuster!)

The House Without A Christmas Tree (an original adaptation by our own Doug Jarecki directed by moi)

The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) (directed by Dustin J. Martin)

Clue: The Musical (directed by Ken Williams)

Wait Until Dark (directed by Kelly Goeller)

Father Knows Best (directed by Rhonda Schmidt)

Amazing, right?  Season Tickets will go on sale in May 2017.

 

Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us so far this season.  If you would like to donate, you can choose from any number of ways you could help us not only maintain, but thrive, as Waukesha’s Cultural Cornerstone.

Please Consider Giving …
* A gift to our Operating Fund

* A gift to our Spotlight On The Future Capital Campaign

* A matching gift through local sponsoring business employers

* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning

* A gift by donation to CARS

* A gift by shopping through Amazon Smile

* A gift by purchasing something on our Amazon Wish List

* Choose WCT as your Thrivent Choice charitable organization

* Become a Sponsor of outstanding performances and educational programs

On a personal note – my daughter, Elena Cramer, will be playing Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point March 3-5 and 9-11.  My son, Jude Cramer, will be playing Gomez Addams in The Addams Family at Waukesha South High School March 9-11.
I’ll see you at the theatre!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: Leading Ladies

Ventress Anthony 2014Lights, camera, action! Well, maybe no ‘camera’, but when the lights dim at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, there’s certainly a lot of action! We are currently in our 59th season and we are proud of what we have to offer our patrons and the local community. This season has been phenomenal with classics like A Little Night Music and The Turn of the Screw. In addition to a variety of performances, we offer a host of programs and activities for all ages and interests. You can choose your level of involvement.

*New education and outreach programs including Pee Wee Players.

*New Broadway Bound classes for 6-19 year olds.

*Theatrical classes offered at WCT.

*Volunteer support at Waukesha Farmers Market along with several other opportunities like show ushering, maintenance support, set development, and more.

We welcome your involvement and patronage at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. Thanks for your continued support.

Anthony Ventress

Board of Directors

Director’s Notes: Leading Ladies

Martin Dustin 2012Men dressing up as women has long been used as a comedic device in theatre and film – perhaps most famously in Billy Wilder’s brilliant film Some Like It Hot.

Leading Ladies is highly reverential of William Shakespeare and, in particular, his play Twelfth Night – which perhaps you saw staged at WCT in 2010. As such, Leading Ladies and Twelfth Night employ many of the same comedic elements such as disguises, mistaken identity, juxtaposition, wordplay, repetition, and eavesdropping.

Contained within the best comedies is heart. While the play examines male and female roles mostly from a comedic sense, it’s Meg and her awareness of her own personal standing in the world and her desire to ascend to different heights that delivers the heart. I’d like to think that if Shakespeare were writing in the modern age, Leading Ladies is exactly the kind of farce that he would write.

Enjoy the show!

Dustin J. Martin

Director

MAD Corner: Leading Ladies

Cramer John 2006Farces are fun. It’s that simple. They’re fun to watch, they’re fun to be in, and they’re fun to direct. And Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies is one of the best farces that has ever been written. With the delightful addition of a touch of Shakespeare and all the classic elements of farce, including men who shouldn’t be wearing dresses wearing dresses, we’ve brought together what I hope is a wonderful night of entertainment for you. Sit back, relax, let us tickle your funny bone for a couple of hours and … have fun!

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

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!