July of 2018 marks the beginning of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 62nd season. WCT is proud to be part of an elite group: according to the American Association of Community Theatres, of the roughly 7,000 community theatres in the United States, only about 100 can claim 60 years of continuous operation. Since the theatre opened in 1957, WCT has produced or presented more than 650 shows, over 14,000 people have volunteered, 450,000 audience members have been entertained, and more than 15,000 students have been served.
We are thrilled to announce our 62nd Mainstage Season:
Comedy | September 14 – 30, 2018 Snowed in at their wealthy patron’s Westchester estate, a creative team reunites to launch a new show – stalked by the “Stage Door Slasher,” who haunted their last Broadway flop. (NOT a musical. YES a comedy!)
Directed By Carol Dolphin
Set during the miners’ strike of 1984-85, this musical follows Billy as he trades in boxing gloves for ballet shoes and develops the courage to be uniquely himself. This show contains strong language – discretion advised.
Directed By Mark E. Schuster
Holiday Variety Show | November 30 – December 16, 2018 Celebrate with a cast of all ages acting, singing, and dancing through classic seasonal songs and stories. This WCT family tradition is a must-see part of the holiday season.
Directed By John Cramer & Kelly Goeller
Comedy | February 8 – 24, 2019 Adapted by Steve Martin; this comedy is set in Germany, 1910. As events unfold, Theo worries about scandal and repercussions at his job as a government clerk. Louise allows herself to revel in newfound fame, reveling in the possibilities. They explore scandal, fame, and gender roles through intricate wordplay.
Directed By Phil Stepanski
Directed By James Padovano
Drama | May 3 – 19, 2019 Jonas lives in a utopia with no pain, no fear – and no choice. Jonas is assigned to be the Receiver of his community’s memories and learns that life does not have to be so black and white. Based on the Newberry Award winning novel by Lois Lowry.
Directed By Katie Lynne Krueger
Comedy | June 7 – 23, 2019 Barnaby Folcey is murdered at a family gathering where he had the motive to murder everyone, but no one had reason to want him dead. Everything seems to go wrong in this absurd comedy – there are secret passages, poison in the sherry, and the police take forever to arrive, so the eclectic group tries to unmask the murderer themselves.
Directed By David Kaye
Subscription Packages Go On Sale May 1, 2018 | Individual Mainstage Tickets Go On Sale July 1, 2018
See you at the Theatre!
To be, or not to be, that is the question
-Hamlet, Act III, Scene I.
What quote could be more quintessential than this line from quite arguably the most renown English poet and playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. If you thought you were about to embark on an emotional journey of a tragic Shakespeare play, then the answer to the question is “not to be.” O…there will be emotion, not of a tragic nature but of a comedic twist on the plays that have shaped and influenced countless authors, playwrights, and screenwriters for centuries. Get ready to be taken on a witty paradoxical weaving of all 37 Shakespearean plays in 97 minutes.
We have many opportunities throughout the year to enjoy, in more than one way, the offerings at the Civic. If after seeing The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) you want to dust off your acting skills, we encourage you to audition for any of our upcoming shows. If acting isn’t up your alley, purchasing tickets to our upcoming shows or donations are always a welcomed support of the theatre. We also have many opportunities for volunteering your time to the theatre to help keep it in the pristine state and experience you are used to after all of these years of entertainment.
So grab your tissue box–not for the traditional tears of sadness you get from Shakespeare but because you will have countless tears of joy from the non-stop laughter from this fresh take on these timeless stories. Please spread the word to your family and friends about the great works Waukesha Civic Theatre has to offer. Remember, we cannot provide this great entertainment without the support of our collective Civic family.
Board of Directors
I usually use this space to share with you the themes of the play, what they mean to me, and how they apply to our present time and culture. And indeed, the plays of William Shakespeare have had a profound impact on my life. It was seeing The Comedy Of Errors as a sophomore in high school that first got me interested in theatre and radically changed my life. I am working my way through seeing all his plays performed on stage or screen (only six to go!).
Well, forget all of that. Sure, The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (abridged) is an appreciation of the playwright and his immeasurable impact on the world. But, don’t worry – no knowledge or love of Shakespeare is needed. I think The Today Show put it best when, reviewing the show they stated: “If you like Shakespeare, you’ll love this show. If you hate Shakespeare, you’ll love this show!”
So, prepare yourself for a whirlwind theatrical experience that is unlike anything you’ve seen before. This is going to be a high-speed roller coaster ride so buckle in and keep your hands and feet inside the theater at all times.
Oh, and one more thing… you best be ready. You never know when we might be calling on you for help tonight!
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.
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!
Managing Artistic Director
Director: The House Without A Christmas Tree
Welcome to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame! This production at Waukesha Civic Theatre is truly a must-see “TV” (Theatrical Venue) event. This is an amazing institution that showcases local talent in quality shows, and I am proud to be on the Board of Directors. Do not miss other sell-out performances this season! We have some great productions yet to come.
We have an amazing array of entertainment and involvement opportunities all year round: Mainstage, Random Acts, A.C.T., Friday Night Live, PIX Flix, our community partnerships such as ACAP, and Waukesha Reads, and a host of special events. You can be involved on and off stage! So whether you can pound a nail, sing a solo, teach kids, focus a light, or just have a passion for the arts, there are plenty of ways to get involved. I encourage you to speak to any board member about being part of this community.
In the original work, Victor Hugo expressed his passions for maintaining a reverence for the achievements of a society in transition. Today, live theater stands in stark contrast to the bite-sized hand held electronic entertainment that consumes so much of our modern era. And this live experience does not exist without performers and patrons who have a passion for the arts. Please come join us in that important community expression.
See you at the Theatre!
Board of Directors
It is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 61st season! I want to personally THANK YOU on behalf of the entire WCT family including the Board of Directors, theatre staff, actors, actresses, technicians, ushers, A.C.T. students and families, and all of our wonderful volunteers. As a patron of the arts, you are an essential and important ingredient to every effort that is put on stage at WCT!
Waukesha Civic Theatre offers a wide variety of performances and educational opportunities that enrich our community’s culture. With so many programs and activities geared for any age you are sure to find something that fits your particular interest. Become an ambassador for Waukesha Civic Theatre and help us spread the word throughout our community about the excellent entertainment and educational opportunities that WCT provides. Your continued support over the past 60 years means the world to us, and we know that “all the world’s a stage…”
Enjoy this evening’s performance of Sex Please We’re Sixty and we look forward to seeing you many times throughout our 61st season!
WCT Board President
Since its inception 60 years ago, the Waukesha Civic Theatre has sought ways to enrich, challenge, and entertain the Waukesha community. We have done this through our theatrical productions, education and outreach programs, and community partnerships. We have a vibrant production schedule, including 7 Mainstage productions each season and, this season, 29 Random Acts Of Entertainment! We have had an educational component to our programming from the beginning, offering summer camps, one-day workshops, after school classes, and outreach at several area schools. We have gone through many changes over the past six decades. We started out as a small group of thespians with a passion and a mission. 17 years ago, we moved into the old PIX theatre in the heart of downtown Waukesha. Look for our new marquees next time you drive down Main Street! This season, we are thrilled to partner with Waukesha Reads to promote community engagement with the NEA Big Read book, To Kill A Mockingbird.
We are also presenting To Kill A Mockingbird as our second Mainstage show in our 60th season. This American classic is directed by Rhonda Marie Schmidt and runs October 28-November 13, 2016. In addition to our 11 regular performances, we are offering 3 weekday matinees for school groups. We will offer talkbacks after the Sunday matinee performances and after each of the weekday matinees for schools. The talkbacks will feature cast members and community scholars, coordinated by Waukesha Reads. There are still seats available for school groups – call our box office for more information!
Here’s the schedule of performances:
Friday, October 28th at 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 29th at 7:30 pm (Pay What You Can)
Sunday, October 30th at 2:00 pm
Thursday, November 3rd at 9:30 am
Friday, November 4th at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 5th at 3:30 pm
Saturday, November 5th at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 6th at 2:00 pm
Wednesday, November 9th at 9:30 am
Thursday, November 10th at 8:30 am (SOLD OUT!)
Friday, November 11th at 7:30 pm
Saturday, November 12th at 2:00 pm (Pay What You Can)
Saturday, November 12th at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 13th at 2:00 pm
We have several ways for you to save on live, quality entertainment here at Waukesha’s cultural cornerstone!
If you are going to buy 4 or more tickets to a Mainstage show, get a Fabulous Flex Pass. This includes 4 tickets, which you can use in any combination to a Mainstage show, and then any other ticket you buy for the rest of the season is at the subscriber rate of $21 per ticket.
If you are a student at any level, you can take advantage of our Student Rush rate. Student Rush tickets are available at the box office on the day of the performance and are a 50% savings!
We also have two Pay What You Can (PWYC) performances for each Mainstage production. On these dates, (which are always the first Saturday evening and third Saturday matinee of a production run) if you buy your tickets at the box office that day, you can name your own price! There’s no better deal in theatre!
We consider a group to be 10 or more patrons attending the same performance. If the group is school-related, Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts, they qualify for our Educational Group Rate – a 63% savings!
Our ticket price structure for Mainstage shows is:
$24 Student/Senior (60+)/Military
$21 Subscriber/Group (10+)
$13.50 Student Rush
$10 Educational Group (10+)
If you like what you see, bring your ticket stub back to see the show again at half price! Use it yourself, or pass it along to a friend who hasn’t seen the show. This is our Terrific Tickets deal and it’s a great way for friends and family to take advantage of the quality live theatre we have right here in the heart of downtown Waukesha.
Tickets are available at the box office Tuesday-Friday, from noon to 5 pm or 24/7 online! Call our box office at 262.547.0708 or visit us at www.waukeshacivictheatre.org for more information. We hope to see you soon at Waukesha’s cultural cornerstone – a hidden gem in the heart of downtown!
The last we saw of Atticus Finch, when the Oscar winning performance of Gregory Peck’s film followed the release of the novel, he was sitting in the corner of injured son Jem’s bedroom, the warm arms of his cardigan sweater wrapping and re-wrapping around the clinging figure of his daughter Scout, the three of them recovering from a painful experience of racism, hatred, and violence, and the often lonely cost of standing against it.
I have a feeling that many of us, both on the stage and in the audience, whether fans of the book or film or both, join Scout and her older self Jean Louise in waiting to see Atticus again.
The play strikes a chord for me as I had a very Atticus-like father, a dead ringer in both looks and mannerisms and as I grew into an adult and journalist, I had the opportunity to see lawyers and judges in action at the county courthouse in Virginia. And just as I still get that experience today covering trials today in rural Wisconsin, I also have witnessed the conflicts of race and prejudice all too recently near us in Milwaukee and through the nation.
Like Scout at the start of the play we wait for Atticus to return from the courthouse. Like Jean Louise at the end we look back through the window, and through the decades, wishing we could go back to him, to speak to him and finish the lessons. Lessons of putting ourselves in others shoes, and realizing that even as we rail against what isn’t right, we are not alone as others quietly do the uncomfortable business of protecting Mockingbirds be they a Tom Robinson or a Boo Radley.
I suspect those of us who were graced with a great father miss him; and those of us who didn’t miss and yearn for such an experience.
Fortunately Christopher Sergel’s play gives us that opportunity in an up-close and live setting not to be missed. It’s been said that in some ways To Kill A Mockingbird is a love letter from novelist Harper Lee to her father. Of the several Sergel versions of the play that exist, the one being performed at Waukesha Civic Theatre comes closest to depicting that moment, and lifetime of reaching out to Atticus.
It’s a safe bet you’ll feel him reaching back and holding you safe.
Written by Jim McClure, who plays Judge Taylor in To Kill A Mockingbird at the Waukesha Civic Theatre