Blog Archives

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

 

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6 Plays. 30 Actors. 24 Hours. DON’T. MISS. OUT.

Trust me … you don’t want to miss this show!

 

What Is It?

During Combat Theatre participants create and perform six to eight new plays in 24 hours. Writers gather together on the Friday night before the performance at 7:30 pm and draw a location and a subject out of a hat, and the number of actors they need to write for, and then go away and write a ten to fifteen minute play overnight.

The writers return Saturday morning at 9:00 am with their completed scripts, along with all of the directors, writers, and tech staff, and the directors will then randomly draw which script they will direct, and randomly draw the actors that will perform the script. Then they block and memorize the show, find costumes and props they need, and have a 45 minute tech rehearsal to set light and sound cues.

There is a second rehearsal in the late afternoon with all of the shows running in the order they will perform, and then the performance that night. It is truly creating an evening of theatre in just 24 hours. Astounding!!!

 

When Is It?

And now we are bringing this incredible show to the WCT stage as a fundraiser for our theatre arts education program, the Academy at Civic Theatre. The show is this Saturday, August 26, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25, but the experience is priceless, and all proceeds go to an excellent cause. Don’t procrastinate … get your tickets now.

 

Why Do It?

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in Combat Theatre in downtown Milwaukee several times over the last few years, both as a director and as an actor, and it is truly one of the most amazing and unique theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. It is very challenging and rewarding. I am going to participate as a writer for the first time, and I’m TERRIFIED! I’m also EXHILARATED! I can’t wait, and I hope you can’t wait either.

 

Who Does This?!

Our “Combatants” include Maggie Arndt, Nick Bailey, Tara Cha, Tess Cinpinski, Elena Cramer, John Cramer, Mike Crowley, Alexa Farrell, Janice Ferguson, James Fletcher, Jennifer Fletcher, Tarolyn Fulkerson, Marisa Hernandez, Meghan Hopper, Matt Huebsch, Doug Jarecki, Jon Jones, Sophie Jones, Peter Kao, Stacy Kolafa, Amie Losi, Noah Maguire, Mina Miller, Andrea Moser, Karen Owecki, Chuck Padgett, Lee Piekarski, Cheryl Peterson, Beth Reichart, Sandra Renick, Amanda Satchell, Sharon Sohner, Veronica Somerfeld, Ashley Sprangers, Abigail Stein, Lauren Sutton, John Van Slyke, Kayla Tillisch, Hunter West, Adam Williams, and Karolyn Wokos.

I hope you can join us.

 

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

Take One: The ACAP PlayMakers On Film!

The ACAP PlayMakers have been part of the Waukesha Civic Theatre family since 2006 starting with a meeting with John Cramer to discuss how people with disabilities could get involved in some way with the Theatre.

 

“We have our PlayMakers program that no one is currently operating since the two creators of that program retired. Why don’t you start with that.”

 

Us run a theatre program? Nevertheless, John put his faith in us (and a lot of moral and professional support) and here we are 20 shows later.

 

As people have heard about our adaptive theatre work, many more people have joined our troupe. Starting out with 8 people, we now have over 30 people regularly involved in the program (and that’s not including the many community actors that play supporting roles in the cast). As we continue to grow, we are running out of space on stage!

 

That’s where our idea for a film production came from: looking for a way to include more people, given the limited space available at the Theatre.  We figured, if we could create and capture smaller groupings of people on film, and string them all together in a larger story, we would achieve that end.

 

So we are currently learning from scratch the ins and outs of movie making. Join us on Saturday, July 15th to see the final product – Oh, Henry: A Double Feature! Here’s hoping that 20 productions from now, we will be as successful as the ACAP PlayMakers venture has been!

 

~Mark Cage

MAD Corner: Barefoot In The Park

We end our 60th Mainstage season (and fourteen years of putting up with me as WCT’s Managing Artistic Director) with a show that is one of the best shows from one of America’s best playwrights … Barefoot In The Park by Neil Simon. I love Simon’s plays across the board, but this one has always been one of my favorites.

We recently announced our lineup for our historic 61st season and are thrilled about the variety of high quality entertainment we are offering. We are sure that you, the Waukesha community, will find something you like from our list of nearly 100 exciting entertainment options.

We have an incredible opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS presented to us and we need your help to take full advantage of this amazing offer. Scott and Nancy McCaskey & Family have challenged us to provide funds for several much needed operational improvements at Waukesha Civic Theatre. They will donate a matching dollar for every dollar we raise between May 1 and June 30, 2017, up to $25,000, raising $50,000 for WCT! That’s right. If you donate $1, they will donate $1. If you donate $100, they will match it! If you donate $1,000, that would be $2,000 for WCT, and you’ll find me skipping down the hall singing “Match maker, match maker, make me a match!”

Just a few of our immediate needs include:

  • Replacing our phone and voice mail system, which is 17 years old! ($5,000)
  • Replacing our phones, which are six to 17 years old. ($3,000)
  • Replacing our server, box office, and administrative computers and printers, which are six to ten years old. ($20,000)
  • Upgrading our concession and bar refrigeration system. ($5,000 to $30,000)

With your gift, we promise to enhance the Waukesha Civic Theatre’s ability to provide quality programs and educational opportunities for years to come.

In addition to that, we have been blessed with the incredible support of the Waukesha community as you support us as patrons, donors, and volunteers. We are excited about the future and the possibilities that lie before us, and we can’t to move into the next season with enthusiasm for the arts, our community partners, and all of the people that have been touched, and will be touched by the Waukesha Civic Theatre, an incredible sight to see in the heart of Wisconsin. I want to thank everyone for joining us in any capacity, and I hope you are enjoying the ride as much as we are.

 

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

MAD Corner: The Drowsy Chaperone

I had the pleasure of seeing The Drowsy Chaperone on Broadway when it was brand new, and absolutely fell in love with it.  It has all the elements that make musical theatre the favorite genre of most theatre lovers. The show incorporates everything except the kitchen sink – mistaken identities, dream sequences, spit takes, a deus ex machina, an unflappable English butler, an absent-minded dowager, a Broadway impresario and his Follies production, comic gangsters, a ditzy chorine, a harried best man, and a “Drowsy” (i.e. “tipsy”) Chaperone, played in the show-within-a-show by a blowzy Grande Dame of the Stage, specializing in “rousing anthems” and not above upstaging the occasional co-star. As The Man In The Chair states in his opening monologue “that’s what the show is – fun!”  I hope you think so too!

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 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: Spring Is In The Air!

As the days get longer and the temperature gets warmer, the smile that’s already on your face can just keep growing when you join us for our April offerings! 

Our next ACAP PlayMakers show, Snow White And The Magnificent Seven, opens tomorrow and has seven performances through Sunday afternoon.

Our next PIX Flix movie of the season will be
E.T. – The Extraterrestrial on April 10 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, 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!    

If you would like to help us select the movies we present in our PIX Flix movie series next season, click
here to complete our survey.

Our next A.C.T. production is
Broadway Bound on Saturday, April 15, at 10:00 am.  

We open our next Mainstage show, 
The Drowsy Chaperone, April 28 and continues through May 14.  The show has three Pay What You Can performances on April 29 at 7:30 pm, May 7 at 7:30 pm, and May 13 at 2:00 pm.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby through April 9 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 next artist will be Tom Buchs.

If you are looking for a theatre experience outside of Wisconsin, consider joining us for our
NYC Theatre Adventure October 12-15, 2017, or for our trip to Chicago to see Hamilton January 3, 2018.  Contact John Cramer by email or phone (262-547-4911 ext. 13) if you would like more information about either trip.

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 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)

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


Happy Easter!  I’ll see you at the Theatre!

John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org

262-547-4911 ext. 13

MAD Corner: 33 Variations

Life.  Death.  Health.  Illness.  Past.  Present.  Simple.  Complicated.  Words on a page; just like these words you are reading now.  They mean nothing without the experience to understand them.  Every day we all encounter these things on some level; they are all a part of the human experience. So is theatre; and it is always a cathartic event.  Comedy, tragedy, musical, mime … no matter what the genre; the storytelling is the key to sharing the joys, the sorrows, the laughter, and the tears.  We hope you enjoy Katherine and Ludwig’s combined journey

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 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: 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

MAD Corner: Blithe Spirit

Blithe Spirit is one of my favorite plays of all time.  It is also one of the most produced plays ever, and there is a good reason for that … it is awesome.  Noël  Coward got the title of the play from Percy Shelley’s poem “To a Skylark.” “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert.” The play was first seen in the West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television and radio in the 1950s and 1960s. The play enjoyed several West End and Broadway revivals in the 1970s and 1980s and was revived again in London in 2004, 2011, and 2014. It returned to Broadway in February 2009.

We hope you enjoy this classic comedy, and that it raises your spirits!

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 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. 

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

MAD Corner: For Purely Elfish Reasons

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 hidden gem by local playwright/composer Jason Powell: For Purely Elfish Reasons, a holiday show with great characters and a story line that gives a respectful (and hilarious) nod to the Marx Brothers.

Our Spotlight On The Future Campaign is coming to a close. This major gift campaign has 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 47% 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 (join us for our December movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas), a new sound board for the Mainstage, new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall, and our new LED marquees and window displays. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a year end gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

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! Happy Holidays!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director