Blog Archives

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.





Mark E. Schuster


Spinning Gender in WCT’s You Can’t Take It With You

Waukesha Civic Theatre is taking a “gender spin” in its revival of the Kaufman and Hart’s comedy You Can’t Take It With You. It’s still 1938 but the eccentric Sycamore clan will be headed by a matriarch called “Nana”. New Berlin-based veteran actress Antoinette Stikl will step into the shoes of the typically male role when the play opens on October 18.

“This beloved, Pultizer-prize-winning comedy has been a revival favorite for theatres of all kinds since its premiere almost 77 years ago,” says first-time WCT director, John Kibler. In his research for the play, which premiered in December 1936, the idea of casting a woman in the patriach’s role took shape because all the historical information supported the idea so well.

“Often during the Depression, women stepped into men’s traditional role of family breadwinner out of necessity,” says Kibler, “given that many men refused clerical and secretarial jobs that were typically identified with women.” The rapid growth of the New Deal in the early 1930’s lead to the first female cabinet secretary in American history (Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor) and expanded working opportunities for all working women (not to mention the two million unemployed in 1933) dealing with the economic and social challenges of the Great Depression.

“The affirmation of individuality that lies at the heart of this play,” says Kibler, “creates the perfect environment for Nana Vanderhoff to share the Sycamore family’s belief in charm, wisdom, eccentricity, innocence, selflessness and good will to a 21st century audience.” Eager to forget the bad news at home and the worse news abroad, people flocked to You Can’t Take It With You when it opened in 1936 for a much needed laugh. Nana Vanderhoff will provide that same experience for a 21st century audience eager for exactly the same thing.

Come check it out between October 26th and November 3rd! For more information, including pricing and show times, please feel free to contact our Box Office at 262.547.0708 or or visit our website: