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. I am very excited about this season’s version of the show, and can’t wait to share it with the Waukesha community. Happy Holidays!
Co-Director, Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols
If you like mysteries, you are probably fond of sifting through red herrings (“clues” that are planted just to mislead). If so, The Musical Comedy Murders Of 1940 is the show for you. The red herrings begin even with the title. (Did you think you were going to see a musical? Red Herring!). Although there are a few catchy numbers, this show is not a musical at all. Instead, the concept of a trying out a new musical is a red herring for the actor-characters who believe they are auditioning for the production. And that’s just the beginning!
The clues—real and not so real—in this show will keep you guessing. Are there actual police present? How many? Are they trying to catch “The Stage Door Slasher” or a Nazi saboteur—or
both? Is Eddie really a (very struggling) comedian or a fledgling detective? Is Elsa a slightly ditzy hostess or a murderer on the loose? Is there one Helsa—or two—or three? And, in the midst of the murderous mayhem, is there romance in the air? In another two hours, you’ll know all the answers.
Thanks to the cast for hard work, good humor, and willingness to take chances. Special appreciation to the non-applauded production staff: Scott P. and Jeff for our secretive set, Sharon and Ellen for classy costumes, Scott F. and Keith for audible and electric effects, Matt for his creative compositions, Christopher for our frantic fights, Meghan for deft dialects, and Katie for her magnificent managing. A theatrical production does, indeed, take a village.
It’s a mystery. It’s a comedy (please do laugh!). And it’s just meant to be fun. So, stay awake and sift through those red herrings, but do relax and enjoy!
Thanks for supporting the arts!
Carol Dolphin 🐬