Blog Archives

MAD Corner: The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged)

I love, love, love, love, love William Shakespeare. I have been blessed to appear in four different productions written by the Bard, and they are some of my favorite memories. When I was a young man of 17 years, I set a goal for myself to read everything Shakespeare wrote over the summer. I didn’t quite make it. I read all the sonnets and about half of his plays, but that was as far as I got before the fall came and I had to move on to my exciting first year of college. If only The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) had been available to me then! I first saw this play almost twenty years ago, and it made a huge impression on me. It became one of my favorite plays of all time. One of the great things about this comedy is that you don’t need to be a fan of Shakespeare to enjoy it. The madcap mayhem is accessible to everyone!

We hope you enjoy this clever and silly show as we present 37 of the Bard’s plays in just 97 minutes!

Thank you to everyone that supports WCT! All of our volunteers help us out in any number of ways by acting, ushering, serving on the board of directors, providing maintenance or office support, or working on sets, costumes, props. Our patrons come to WCT see quality live entertainment, the fruits of our volunteers’ labor. Our donors help keep us financially sound by their gifts to the Annual Operating Fund, the Endowment Fund, or by joining our Curtain Call Club and including us in their planned giving.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and money that you give to WCT.

One way, and arguably the best way, to support WCT is to spread the word about Waukesha’s best kept secret. It always amazes me when I meet someone in Waukesha who has no idea what a fantastic organization we have right here in the heart of the community. Tell people about what we do and all we offer.

Enrich. Challenge. Entertain. That says it all, so keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone. We couldn’t do it without you.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Advertisements

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: It’s A Wonderful Life

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” – Zuzu Bailey

It’s A Wonderful Life has become synonymous with the holiday season in America, but when the movie premiered in 1946, it was met with a lukewarm reception. It wasn’t until the 1960s, when there was some confusion over rights and the film entered the public domain. TV stations began to air the film regularly, because they didn’t have to pay for it. By the time the rights paperwork was corrected, it had found its place as a holiday tradition.

The message of the film resonates as much among the Greatest Generation, immediately post-WWII, as it does today: Your life matters. Your contribution is important. You can, and do, make a difference. Nestled among the brilliant acting of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, that’s what really endears the film to viewers and why so many of us keep coming back, year after year.

The December PIX Flix film has become a holiday tradition for us here at WCT, too. Even though the title differs year to year, it’s a way for our community to come together, enjoy each other, and experience quality entertainment in a historic theatre. For only $5 a ticket, on a Monday night, there’s no better way to get family and friends together for an evening.

It’s A Wonderful Life is one of John Cramer’s very favorite films and both he and I hope to see you here at the PIX on Monday, December 18th, at 6:30 pm.

 

Happy Holidays!

Katie Danner

Marketing Director

 

Crafting The House Without A Christmas Tree: A Playwright’s Perspective

The reasons for wanting to adapt The House Without A Christmas Tree were numerous. Great story, complex characters, a father and daughter reconnecting….I could go on and on. The trick was in HOW to adapt it. Can you take what is there and expand it to a full play without losing the essence of the story? Well, I think you can and I think we did.

John and Kelli Cramer were a big part of this. They are the ones who introduced me to this story. It was one of their favorite holiday stories, and their affection for it was infectious. I read the book, I watched the TV movie, and I was hooked. I just loved it. But I did have some concerns.

First, there was not a lot of attention given to any character outside of Grandma, Dad, and Addie. The characters that were there simply did not have much to do. In order to become a Mainstage production, it needed some of these peripheral characters to become more prominent. The students in Addie’s class, for starters. I wanted to see a little more of the classroom world, and what kinds of characters there were, and seeing Addie in that world helps give us a fuller picture of her.

Luckily, we have an outstanding group of young and talented students in our A.C.T. (Academy at Civic Theatre) program. I had no doubt we had more than enough young talent to fill this classroom with some fun characters. And in the end, these students help shape our perception of Addie, and really do help to tell her story. And these are relationships and students we all experienced in our grade school years–the first crush, the destructive kid, the kid who always bragged about something, the know-it-all. There is something each of us can connect to in this colorful group of kids.

There was also not a lot for the teacher, Miss Thompson, to do. I wanted to find a way to see her grow throughout the play. A big key was adding the characters of the principal and his assistant. This provided the chance to tell a sweet, sometimes clumsy love story between the Eugene and Peggy, with Mrs. Kulwicki giving running commentary throughout.

The final major adjustment I made was that I wanted to lighten things up. The actual storyline between Addie and her father gets quite intense at times. I think the other characters in the play help to offset that drama and keep the story more balanced. I also think the culmination of all of these stories helps to make it a much bigger, more satisfying payoff at the end. There needed to be more hope, more optimism at the end, or else the struggle to get there doesn’t seem worth it. It would be like watching It’s A Wonderful Life, and having George Bailey be “sort of happy” to be alive at the end (spoiler alert-George Bailey lives and he’s THRILLED about it).

At the end of the day, I am a sucker for a sweet and heartfelt holiday show. And that’s what I think we have here. I think audience members will find themselves belly laughing in one scene, and getting choked up in the next scene. This show is nostalgic without being dated. The kind of show where parents can watch with their kids and not worry about questionable content. All of us involved in the show are very proud of that, and we sincerely hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Doug Jarecki

Playwright

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

Spotlight On The Board Of Directors: The House Without A Christmas Tree

My Mom had a plaque that said: “All hearts come home for Christmas.” Now that plaque hangs in my home every December.

As the year comes to a close, my grown children will come home from Iowa, Indiana, and Oklahoma, and we will continue our tradition of enjoying the holiday offerings at Waukesha Civic Theatre.

I’m thrilled that our theatre is offering a brand-new play; I predict it will become an instant classic, heartwarming and funny in equal measure.

The House Without A Christmas Tree is adapted from a popular 1972 made-for-TV movie of the same name. The Jason Robards film was shown regularly on CBS for five years and inspired several sequels.

Civic’s own Doug Jarecki wrote the play. A professional actor, Doug has been a linchpin in the success of this theatre, creating an Education and Outreach program that is second to none. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is a genuinely good human being. Oh, and he’s my homeschooled kids’ favorite teacher.

Enjoy!


Angela Penzkover

Past President, Board Of Directors

Theatre Tour: ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas

We have a very special opportunity for you! WCT’s own John Cramer and Doug Jarecki will be starring in ‘Twas The Month Before Christmas, Doug Jarecki’s hilarious holiday hit from 2015. The show is running December 15-23 at Next Act Theatre in downtown Milwaukee.

‘Twas The Month Before Christmas gives us a unique and hilarious look at Joseph and Mary, the three kings, and the innkeeper in the month leading up to that magical night in Bethlehem. This “smart, silly, and sweet production” (Mike Fischer, JSOnline) is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

WCT is offering a bus tour to see this show on Sunday, 12/17 at 2 pm for ONLY $50! This price includes the cost of a show ticket, ticket fees, transportation to and from the show, WCT administrative fees, and a tip for the driver.

The motor coach would leave Waukesha approximately 1:00 pm, and return to Waukesha at approximately 4:30 pm. We need a minimum of 25 people to participate, but we can accommodate up to 54 on the motor coach. This is an outstanding way to experience all of the holiday fun and none of the traffic or construction in Milwaukee.

*****REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1ST*****

To reserve your spot on the bus, simply email WCT Office Manager Meghan Hopper at mhopper@waukeshacivictheatre.org with your name, the number of tickets you’d like, and a phone number. You can also call (262) 547-4911 and register over the phone.

For more show information, including other performance dates, go to www.nextact.org.

We sincerely hope you can join us for this fun-filled holiday show. See you at the Theatre!

MAD Corner: The Hunchback Of Notre Dame

WCT is both proud and delighted to present the area premier of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame! Inspired by and using some of the music from the Disney cartoon, this incredible new musical brings Victor Hugo’s amazing story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Pheobus, and Frollo to life on stage, working with some of the darker themes of Hugo’s novel.  Guided by Mark E. Schuster, one of WCT’s premier directors, and featuring a lush and beautiful score played by a full orchestra and sung by 40 powerful voices, I am confident that our production will astound everyone who sees it.

I would like to thank everyone that supports WCT!  We wouldn’t be here without you. All of our volunteers help us out in any number of ways by acting, ushering, serving on the board of directors, providing maintenance or office support, or working on sets, costumes, props. Our patrons come to WCT see quality live entertainment, the fruits of our volunteers’ labor. Our donors help keep us financially sound by their gifts to the Annual Operating Fund, the Endowment Fund, or by including us in their planned giving.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and money that you give to WCT.

One way, and arguably the best way, to support WCT is to spread the word about Waukesha’s best kept secret.  It always amazes me when I meet someone in Waukesha who has no idea what a fantastic organization we have right here in the heart of the community.  Tell people about what we do and all we offer.

Enrich. Challenge. Entertain. That says it all, so keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone. We couldn’t do it without you.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

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

MAD Corner: Sex Please We’re Sixty

Sixty-One Amazing Years. Wow! Since its very modest beginnings in 1957, WCT has produced more than 400 shows and continues its long-standing tradition as Waukesha’s first choice for quality live entertainment … truly “A Sight To See!” According to the American Association of Community Theatres, there are over 7,000 community theatres in the nation, and only 100 of them are on record of having survived for 60 years or more, so WCT is in a very elite group of theatres.

I can’t believe I am starting my fifteenth season with the Waukesha Civic Theatre. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! It has been a pleasure and an honor to work in this beautiful facility for this incredible organization and with this amazing community, and I look forward to many more seasons of high quality live entertainment.

We are kicking off our 61st season with a whole bunch of silliness. Farces are fun. It’s that simple. They’re fun to watch, they’re fun to be in, and they’re fun to direct. And Michael and Susan Parker’s Sex Please We’re Sixty continues their tradition of clever, silly, and fun farces. Sit back, relax, let us tickle your funny bone for a couple of hours and … have fun!

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Director’s Note: Sex Please We’re Sixty

On the surface, I am an unconventional choice as a director for Sex Please We’re Sixty.  What does a man in his thirties know about the romantic lives of menopausal women and a sixty-something Casanova?  Turns out, not a whole lot. 

But as I got to know Bud, Mrs. Stancliffe, and the visitors of the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast, I discovered a more universal story, one that speaks to people of all ages; especially those of my generation.

In today’s world, more than ever before, we find ourselves looking for a sense of purpose. We get caught up in the business of our jobs, our kids, countless activities, the news of the world. We tell friends and family that we’ll visit, “when things settle down” or “when we have time.” We send emails or texts instead of making phone calls. Entire stories are told in 140 characters, a small series of pictures, or a six-second video. The digital age has made us more connected, but many people feel more isolated.

This show is a reminder that at all ages, we seek love, companionship, and a purpose in life. Sometimes we pretend to be something we aren’t in order to get what we think we want. Sometimes we get stuck in a routine and need an objective person to give us a push in a new direction. Sometimes the things we want require the most effort and time (even 20 years). Sometimes we need someone to see us for who we truly are, flaws and all. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings wanting to be loved and accepted.

Thank you to the cast and crew for all their hard work on this show, to John Cramer for this opportunity to direct my first show at WCT, and to family and friends for their support.

 

 

Peter Kao
Director