“Now, I have some instructions for you….” DON’T MISS THIS FILM!
I fear I am not a good enough writer to describe the myriad of reasons to come see Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, on February 11 at 6:30 p.m. I also don’t have enough room on the page.
Wikipedia tells us it is a 1967 American comedy-drama, starring film-legends Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, and Spencer Tracy and is one of the few of that time to depict interracial marriage in a positive light. At the time of its release, laws prohibiting interracial marriage had only recently been struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Frank Rich, in a 2008 New York Times article, noted that “[t]hough the film was a box-office smash and received 10 Oscar nominations, even four decades ago it was widely ridiculed as dated by liberal critics. The hero, played by the first black Hollywood superstar, Sidney Poitier, was seen as too perfect and too ‘white’.” But, according to director Stanley Kramer, the film was intentionally structured to debunk ethnic stereotypes and purposely created idealistically perfect, so that the only possible objection to him would be his race, or the brevity of the 10-day engagement. This factor lends itself to the concerns of both sets of parents: the lack of thought and consideration to what a mix-race marriage would mean.
While a victim of its times, with all the clichés and what some will find politically-incorrect positions, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner transcends the shallow, ridicule-filled approach of today’s films, with a subtle, empathetic and non-judgmental recognition of the very real, and very personal, struggles of all its characters. Though it may have all of the flaws its critics claim, it is still a great film that recognizes that there is always more than a single layer or motivation behind our behavior and portrays this internal deliberation with sensitivity and understanding. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of scenes where blatant racism is called out and ridiculed, not the least of which is Hepburn’s surgeon-like extraction of her snoopy, ill-mannered employee.
For me, the beauty of this film is not the obvious. It is not the crackling dialog addressing the issue of race in a way few movies of its time dared, but rather, it is the study of two mature marriages and the generational conflict of a father and son. Both concepts are portrayed throughout the film, but most beautifully by Beah Richards as she reproaches Spencer Tracy’s character in the most dignified and heartfelt scene in the movie, juxtaposed artfully with Poitier’s angry, yet loving, discussion with his father’s character about their difference in self-image and what it means to him as a man.
In 2017, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” It was the winner of the Best Screenplay Oscar and gave Hepburn her second Oscar for Best Actress. It is the last time Hepburn/Tracy were on screen together and indeed, the last film of Tracy’s career – he died just days after its release and it was questionable he would even complete filming. Hepburn and Tracy may be the main dishes of this fantastic meal, but delicious performances by Poitier, Beah Richards, Isabel Sanford (best known for her role as Weezy in the T.V. sitcom The Jeffersons) and Cecil Kellaway make for a banquet to be savored. Just as a fine chef layers flavor upon flavor to achieve a culinary masterpiece, Kramer and the all-star cast serve up a multi-layered film that makes us not only laugh and cry, but critically consider our biases and relationships.
Will you be coming?!
As WCT wraps up 61 historic years we look forward to our 62nd season and start our summer off with a cornucopia of awesome art!
Our seventh and final Mainstage show of the 61st season, Father Knows Best, opens TONIGHT and performs through June 17.
We still have room in our New York City Theatre Adventure, but you need to book it NOW. The deadline is today, June 1, but I can accept registrations up to next Tuesday, June 5. If you are interested and want more information let me know and I can send you the registration and tour description.
I am also offering beginner-to-intermediate Tap Dance Classes over the summer. There will be 16 75-minute sessions from June 5 through August 21. You can pay as you go, one class at a time, or pre-pay for five, ten, or all 16 sessions. If you are interested please let me know and I can send you the information.
Our twelfth PIX Flix film of the season is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on Monday, June 11 at 6:30 pm. Join us for John Hughes’ brilliant comedy starring Mathew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Gray, Charlie Sheen, Ben Stein, and more! All PIX Flix tickets are $5.00, or groups of ten or more for $4.00 each. And of course we have concessions available, including soda, water, beer, wine, cookies, beef sticks, and POPCORN from Pop’s Kettle Corn!
Come see Waukesha’s future stars strut their stuff in our A.C.T. June Summer Showcase on Saturday, June 23, at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.
Our current featured artists in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery are The League Of Milwaukee Artists through June 25.
Are you interested in helping WCT make decisions about everything we do? Join A Committee and get involved. We have lots of great committees to choose from: Education and Outreach, Finance and Facility, Fund Development, Fundraising Events (Gala), Governance, and Marketing.
June is the final month of our 61st Season, with one Mainstage show, one PIX Flix Film, and one Education & Outreach show. Fabulous Flex Passes are still available for our Mainstage show!
Father Knows Best
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
A.C.T. June Summer Showcase
And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment. WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!
Fabulous Flex Pass – Save 22%
Subscriber Rate – Save 22 to 31%
Group Rate (Ten Or More Tickets) – Save 22 to 31%
Educational Group Rate (Ten Or More Tickets) – Save 31 to 63%
Student / Senior (60+) / Military Rate – Save 11%
Student Rush – Save 50%
Terrific Tickets – Save 50%
Pay What You Can – You Name Your Savings
All subscribers also receive the Subscriber Benefits Card with discounts at 17 downtown Waukesha restaurants. And your ticket stub can save you money too!
And our 62nd Season is going to be spectacular! Season tickets for our Mainstage series are on sale now and individual tickets and group sales will go on sale on July 1st. Individual tickets for all of our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education & Outreach shows, PIX Flix Films, and Fundraising Events are on sale now as well.
We are looking for Production Staff to fill out the full season, including Stage Managers, Music Directors, Choreographers, Scenic Designers, Costume Designers, Lighting Designers, Sound Designers, Properties Designers, and more, so if you are interested please send me a letter of interest and your resume.
Our Mainstage Season includes:
The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940
(Directed By Carol Dolphin)
Billy Elliot: The Musical
(Directed By Mark E. Schuster)
Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
(Directed By John Cramer and Kelly Goeller)
(Directed By Phil Stepanski)
Thoroughly Modern Millie
(Directed By Jim Padovano)
(Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger)
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?
(Directed By David Kaye)
Individual tickets and group sales for our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events are on sale now!
The Music Man JR.
Br!NK New Play Festival
A.C.T. August Summer Showcase
DISABILITY: The Evolution
You’ve Got A Friend
An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
A.C.T. Combat Boot Camp
Waukesha STEM Academy’s Fame JR.
My Funny Valentine
The Wizard Of Oz Unplugged
The Shamrock Shindig (A Gaelic Gala)
Our Favorite Things
A.C.T. June Summer Showcase
Our PIX Flix Film Series individual tickets and group sales are on sale now! Get a Flix Mix and SAVE on the whole season!
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Singin’ In The Rain
North By Northwest
Muppet Christmas Carol
To Kill A Mockingbird
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
Field Of Dreams
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 matching gift through local sponsoring business employers
* A gift that will last a lifetime through your Will or Estate Planning to our Curtain Call Club
* 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 wife Kelli will be performing in The Queens Of Country at the Sunset Playhouse June 14-17.
Happy Father’s Day!
I’ll see you at the Theatre!
Managing Artistic Director