Blog Archives

MAD Corner: Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols

This is a bittersweet moment. Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols will be my last show at WCT as Managing Artistic Director.

I care deeply about the Waukesha Civic Theatre, and have put my blood, sweat, and tears into my work here for more than 15 years! It has been my honor and my privilege to be part of this amazing organization and to work hand in hand with the people that are the theatre’s life source.

Thank you for the support you have given me, the WCT staff, board of directors, volunteers, and the entire WCT Community.

It’s no secret that I love the holiday season. Starting with Halloween, continuing with Thanksgiving, thriving through Christmas, and culminating in New Year’s Eve, these three months are truly “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” I love the lights, the themed decorations, the family gatherings, the parties, and of course, the music and the stories.

The Cramers are more than a little crazy when it comes to celebrating the holidays. First, we decorate like we’ve been possessed by Buddy the Elf. We have seven 30 gallon bins full of decorations for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s that we lovingly haul out of storage and display every year. But it is Christmas that really gets our attention. We have more than twenty 30 gallon bins full of holiday delights. A Santa collection, an elf collection, a village, garlands, wreaths, lights and more take over our home in a festive explosion of color. We have Christmas trees in our family room and all three bedrooms. Some years we add a fifth, or even sixth tree just because. I did say we were a little crazy, didn’t I?

This love of the holidays is where Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols came from. The show started out in 2005 as a musical revue performed at the Waukesha State Bank holiday party by me and my wife Kelli, and accompanied by Abby Lorenz. I put the show together featuring our favorite music and stories, with a little bit of history thrown in, and entertained the WSB employees for an hour.

Then I started thinking about how it might translate to a full production. Good holiday shows are hard to find. There are a handful of traditional classics like A Christmas Carol, Miracle On 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but every theatre produces them, so the holiday entertainment market is saturated with these old standbys. I wanted to create something that could be WCT’s unique holiday tradition so I took that WSB show and expanded it to a full two hour show, with opportunities for community members of all ages to participate. We produced it for the first time in 2009 with a cast of 65 actors ages 6 to 80, and a new tradition was begun. We followed that production with six more versions of the show through 2015. Each year the show changed a little bit, replacing some of the songs and stories with other fantastic songs and stories.

We took a break from the show for two seasons, but are now bringing it back with a brand new story line. This year’s adaptation is near and dear to my heart, with the Bickford family and friends based on my own life and circle of family and friends. I’ve loved working on this show again, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Not only that, the holiday season at WCT is full of amazing entertainment options, including An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern, I Got Yule, Babe, our PIX Flix feature film The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Comicality.

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, or to treat yourself! Happy Holidays!

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.”

 

 

Happy Holidays!

John Cramer

Co-Director / Choreographer

Advertisements

Cramer’s Corner: He’s A What? He’s A What? He’s A Music Man!

We have four more performances of our summer A.C.T. production, The Music Man JR., August 3-5. Click here for more information or to order tickets.

Our A.C.T. August Summer Showcase starts on Monday, August 6, and we still have room for more students. Click here for more information or to register. And don’t miss the showcase performances on Saturday, August 18, at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm.

Our second PIX Flix film of the season is Mary Poppins on Monday, August 13 at 6:30 pm. Join us for this whimsical classic musical starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynnis Johns, 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! Click here to buy tickets.

Our A.C.T. Lights! Camera! Action! class will be held August 20-24, and our fall session will start September 24th. Click here for information on all of our great theatre arts education offerings.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is Vanessa Johanning through August 27.

We still have room on our bus to see Dear Evan Hansen in Chicago on February 27, 2019. If you are interested and want more information about either of these trips, let me know and I can send you the details.

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.

Our 62nd Season season tickets, individual tickets, and group sales are all on sale now. Join us for all of our Mainstage shows, Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education & Outreach shows, PIX Flix Films, and Fundraising Events.

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)
The Underpants
(Directed By Phil Stepanski)
Thoroughly Modern Millie
(Directed By Jim Padovano)
The Giver
(Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger)
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?
(Directed By David Kaye)

Our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events include:
A.C.T. August Summer Showcase
disABILITY: The Evolution
Waukesha Reads
You’ve Got A Friend
An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
Comicality
A.C.T. Combat Boot Camp
Waukesha STEM Academy’s Fame JR.
A.C.T. Live!
My Funny Valentine
The Wizard Of Oz Unplugged
The Shamrock Shindig (A Gaelic Gala)
Our Favorite Things
Miscast
A.C.T. June Summer Showcase

Our PIX Flix Film series includes:
Mary Poppins
Singin’ In The Rain
Ghostbusters
North By Northwest
Muppet Christmas Carol
To Kill A Mockingbird
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
The Sting
Field Of Dreams
Camelot
Grease

And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment. WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!

Mainstage Season Ticket – Save 33%
Flex Pass Membership – 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%
Senior (60+) / Military Rate – Save 11 to 15%
Teen Rate – Save 15 to 33%
Child Rate – Save 31 to 44%
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!

Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us every 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

I’ll see you at the Theatre!
John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Cramer’s Corner: WCT’s 62nd Season Kicks Off With Some HOT ENTERTAINMENT!

Our first PIX Flix film of the season is Cat On A Hot Tin Roof on Monday, July 9 at 6:30 pm. Join us for this Tennessee Williams classic starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Jack Carson, Madeleine Sherwood, Judith Anderson, 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!

Our summer theatre arts education program has a fantastic performance to look forward to. The Music Man JR. will perform July 27-August 5.

I am also offering beginner-to-intermediate Tap Dance Classes over the summer. We have already started, but have 13 more 75-minute sessions from July 2 through August 21. You can pay as you go, one class at a time, or pre-pay for five or ten sessions. If you have questions, please let me know!

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is Vanessa Johanning through August 27.

We still have room in our New York City Theatre Adventure October 11-14, 2018, but you need to book it NOW. The deadline has been extended to July 13. We also still have room on our bus to see Dear Evan Hansen in Chicago on February 27, 2019. If you are interested and want more information about either of these trips, let me know and I can send you the details.

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.

Our 62nd Season season tickets, individual tickets, and group sales are all on sale now. Join us for all of our Mainstage shows, Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education & Outreach shows, PIX Flix Films, and Fundraising Events.

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)
The Underpants
(Directed By Phil Stepanski)
Thoroughly Modern Millie
(Directed By Jim Padovano)
The Giver
(Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger)
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?
(Directed By David Kaye)

Our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events include:
The Music Man JR.
Br!NK New Play Festival
A.C.T. August Summer Showcase
DISABILITY: The Evolution
Waukesha Reads
You’ve Got A Friend
An Evening Of Holiday Tales With John McGivern
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
Comicality
A.C.T. Combat Boot Camp
Waukesha STEM Academy’s Fame JR.
A.C.T. Live!
My Funny Valentine
The Wizard Of Oz Unplugged
The Shamrock Shindig (A Gaelic Gala)
Our Favorite Things
Miscast
A.C.T. June Summer Showcase

Our PIX Flix Film Series includes:
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Mary Poppins
Singin’ In The Rain
Ghostbusters
North By Northwest
Muppet Christmas Carol
To Kill A Mockingbird
Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner
The Sting
Field Of Dreams
Camelot
Grease

And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment. WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!
Mainstage Season Ticket – Save 33%
Flex Pass Membership – 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%
Senior (60+) / Military Rate – Save 11 to 15%
Teen Rate – Save 15 to 33%
Child Rate – Save 31 to 44%
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!

Thank you to all of the generous donors that have supported us every 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

 

Happy Independence Day!

I’ll see you at the Theatre!

John Cramer
Managing Artistic Director
jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

MAD Corner/Director’s Note: The House Without A Christmas Tree

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 story that is near and dear to my heart.  I grew up watching after school specials (anyone else remember those?) and one of my favorites was The House Without Christmas Tree starring Jason Robards.  There wasn’t a stage adaptation of the story available to produce, so we asked our own Doug Jarecki to tackle the project.  He used the original story, the after school special screen play, and added a few things of his own to create a funny and heartwarming stage adaptation featuring seven adults and twenty children.

Not only are we presenting this beautiful adaptation as our December Mainstage show, the holiday season at WCT is full of amazing entertainment options, including Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe, The Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concert featuring The Apollo Trio, our PIX Flix feature film It’s A Wonderful Life, and The Four Guyz In Dinner Jackets: Now In Technicolor!

If you’re looking for even more holiday season entertainment, don’t miss ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas at Next Act Theatre.  This is another Doug Jarecki script, and we are both in it.

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 ~ or one of Joel Kopischke’s CDs … wonderful gifts of theatre to share with anyone, or to treat yourself!  Happy Holidays!

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director: The House Without A Christmas Tree

Cramer’s Corner: A Regional Premier!

If You Loved Les Miserables …
You MUST See The Hunchback Of Notre Dame!

History is being made at WCT! A premier, presented by almost 70 creative members of our community (including a live, 14 piece orchestra), a set that has to be seen to be believed, costumes, lighting, sound, and props that rival anything we have presented … a show YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS!

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, the second Mainstage show of the season, opens this Friday, October 27, and runs through November 12.  A Milwaukee area premier, this musical drama from the creators of Godspell, Pippin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, and Wicked, is based on Victor Hugo’s famous novel and the beloved classic Disney film.  This production is darker than the Disney film and not recommended for younger children.   Parental discretion is advised, and we recommend only ages 12 and up attend.

The show features a production staff of 17 led by one of WCT’s favorite directors, Mark E. Schuster, a cast of 20, a cathedral choir of 17, and a live orchestra of 14.  That’s right … nearly 70 incredibly talented people from our community are bringing this amazing story to life on our stage!  We have FIVE Pay What You Can performances during the run.  October 28 at 7:30 pm, November 5 at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm, November 9 at 7:30 pm, and November 11 at 2:00 pm.  Click here for more information or to order tickets.

With the holiday season right around the corner, consider giving the gift of theatre to your friends, family, co-workers … or yourself!  Gift certificates are a great idea, or you could give a Festive Flex Four For $64, for sale October 26-December 31, with a 40% Savings off our adult ticket price.

Our fourth and fifth PIX Flix films of the season are Back To The Future on Monday, October 30, and The Princess Bride on Monday, November 13, both films at 6:30 pm.  Join Marty McFly and Doc Brown in this blast from the past … er … future … er … you know what I mean.  Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and more!  And it is the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride, which has become a verified classic, and one of the most quotable films of all time.  Starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin,  Wallace Shawn, Andre The Giant, Chris Sarandan, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, 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 … wait for it … POPCORN!  Click here to buy tickets.

We are partnering with Waukesha Reads and presenting Mike Earp, retired U.S. Marshal, descendant of Wyatt Earp and author, as he speaks about the U.S. Marshal Service -including stories from his own career and what it was like to be a marshal during the time period of True Grit. Join us on November 2 with a social hour and book signing from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, and the presentation at 7:30 PM. Tickets are FREE!

Auditions for The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 6 and 7, 7:00 pm both nights.

Share Your Heart!  Heart of Canal Street is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s signature community program. Half of each $3 or $7 Canal Street Bingo game purchased goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund, which totaled more than $1.1 million last year and provided funding to children’s charities in southeastern Wisconsin. Waukesha Civic Theatre is in the running to be a 2017 charity. Help give the gift of a promising future by playing now through December 14. Visit paysbig.com/heart.

Our first of three distinctly different Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concerts will be presented on November 14 at 7:30 pm.  The Cadance Chamber Players present a collection of music through time for flute and strings. This diverse program features Mozart’s Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major and Aaron Copland’s Two Threnodies for flute and string trio, as well as Pres-ent for flute and cello by contemporary composer Efrain Amaya. The concert will also include music of Figorello, Dohnányi, and Villa-Lobos.  The Cadance Chamber Players are an affiliate of Cadance Collective, a Milwaukee-based music and dance collaborative ensemble creating original performance pieces for the stage.  Click here for more information or to buy tickets.  If you are interested in the Tremendous Trio package call the box office to see all three concerts and SAVE 19%.

Waukesha Civic Theatre is looking for volunteers to participate in the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday, November 19.  If you are interested please click on this link to sign up: 2017 Waukesha Christmas Parade.  If you have any questions please contact Phillip Alonge at ushercoordinator@waukeshacivictheatre.org.

Registration is open for our A.C.T. Winter and Spring Sessions, including Star For A Day, a one day camp on November 22.

Get up, get out, and #ShopSmall on November 25 during Small Business Saturday. Celebrate #SmallBizSat with us!

This year, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, we are part of a call to action that will change the calendar and help make history. We are celebrating a day dedicated to giving ‐ when charities, families, businesses, community centers, students, retailers, and more will all come together for #GivingTuesday – a movement to celebrate giving and encourage more, better, and smarter giving during the Holiday Season that we are proud to be part of.  As a non-profit organization, Waukesha Civic Theatre relies on community contributions to raise approximately 35% of our operating budget. There are many ways that you can support the Waukesha Civic Theatre. We would like to encourage our patrons, friends, and fans to kick off the giving season on #GivingTuesday by making a donation to Waukesha’s Cultural Cornerstone, the Waukesha Civic Theatre.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery is Patricia Gilman Graham.

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.

Our Play Advisory Committee and Board Of Directors have completed the selection process for our 62nd Season and we are thrilled to announce that we will be producing these shows in our 2018-2019 Season, starting in September 2018:

The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940

      Billy Elliot The Musical
Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
The Underpants 

   The Giver
Thoroughly Modern Millie
But Why Bump Off Barnaby?

And of course we are already four months into our 61st Season, with Season Tickets and individual tickets on sale now, so please join us for some great entertainment!

      The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
The House Without A Christmas Tree
The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) 

   Clue: The Musical
Wait Until Dark
Father Knows Best

We also have our season ticket package for our Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Series (the Tremendous Trio).

Individual tickets for our Random Acts Of Entertainment, Education And Outreach shows, and Fundraising Events are on sale now!

Wisconsin Philharmonic Chamber Concerts
Joel Kopischke’s I Got Yule, Babe
The Four Guyz In Dinner Jackets
A.C.T. Combat Boot Camp
Singin’ In The Rain JR.
A.C.T. Live!
My Funny Valentine
Darn Yankees
Spring City’s Wild Card Saloon
A.C.T June Summer Showcase

Our PIX Flix Film series is also on sale now, including our new group rate!

Back To The Future

          The Princess Bride
It’s A Wonderful Life
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Dirty Dancing
The African Queen
Apollo 13
Rear Window
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

And the artists that will be featured in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby will be:

Patricia Gilman Graham
Christian Education Leadership Academy

      Waukesha South High School
Jack Pachuta
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Nicolas Murray, and Edward Weston
The League Of Milwaukee Artists

And don’t forget about all the ways to save on quality, live entertainment.  WCT’s Ticket Promotions can’t be beat!

Super Six Subscription Package – Save 26%
Fabulous Flex Pass – Save 22%
Festive Flex Four For $64 – Save 40%
Perfect PIX 3 – Save 19%
Tremendous Trio Package – Save 19%
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 – Name Your Own Price!

All subscribers also receive the Subscriber Benefits Card with discounts at 18 downtown Waukesha restaurants.  And your ticket stub can save you money too!

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
* 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

Join WCT’s Text Club to receive exclusive offers and updates!  Text WCT to 51660.

On a personal note, my son Jude will be appearing as Deputy Governor Danforth in The Crucible at WSHS, with performances on November 10-11.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you at the theatre!

 

John Cramer
Managing Artistic Director