Since it was first published in 1843, Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol has captured the imagination of readers and the spirit of Christmas. The ghostly story of Ebeneezer Scrooge has been adapted for the big screen twenty times, and even more for television and stage. It’s as tied to the holiday as pine trees and sugar cookies. Is there anything that could make this story better?
Add Muppets, of course!
I consider myself something of a Christmas Carol connoisseur. This story, more than any Christmas story (aside from the big one!), is my family’s go-to for the holidays. And The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite adaptation of all time. (With a special shout-out to the George C. Scott 1984 classic!)
Does it help that I was seven years old when it came out in theaters in 1992? Of course! But its heart-warming storytelling and sharp sense of humor (not to mention its clever use of puppetry!) are what bring me back every year to my favorite Christmas movie, my favorite Muppet movie, and, frankly, one of my favorite movies of all time.
The first Muppet movie made after Jim Henson’s untimely passing, The Muppet Christmas Carol features a few nods to the creator, including a shooting star that Kermit the Frog watches early in the movie. Kermit plays faithful employee Bob Cratchit, but I won’t spoil any more clever Muppet casting here for those who haven’t seen the film yet. I will, however, spend some time praising Michael Caine’s performance as Ebeneezer Scrooge. He is always fully committed, even when he’s acting against a miniature mouse Muppet, and his heartfelt performance grounds the story while never getting in the way of the fun.
Every family has its holiday traditions. My family’s Christmas Eve includes corned beef sandwiches and beloved frog puppets. What could be better?
This year, though, I’ll be viewing the movie a bit earlier than usual. (Don’t worry, family, we’ll still get in our Christmas Eve tradition!) I couldn’t miss a chance to see the movie again on the big screen, now could I?
Whether you’re seeing the movie for the first time or the twenty-sixth time (and I may still have you beat!), Waukesha Civic Theatre hopes you’ll join us for our December PIX Flix showing. Tickets are only $5. Be sure to pick up some Pop’s Kettle Corn at the concession stand, and we’ll see you on December 10th at 6:30!
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.
Managing Artistic Director
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!
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!
Managing Artistic Director
We end our 59th Mainstage season (and thirteen years of putting up with me as WCT’s Managing Artistic Director) with a show that is perfectly silly and full of fun … Fawlty Towers. This John Cleese British television farce has become a cult classic and Netflix favorite. The show is a potpourri of delightful and hilarious characters and situations.
We recently announced our lineup for our historic 60th season and are thrilled about the variety of high quality entertainment we are offering for our Diamond Anniversary. We are sure that you, the Waukesha community, will find something you like from our list of exciting entertainment.
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, a true gem in the heart of Wisconsin. I want to thank everyone for joining us, and I hope you are enjoying the ride as much as we are.
If you haven’t already done so, please consider a donation of any size to our Spotlight On The Future Campaign, a major gift drive with 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. We have raised more than a third of our goal, but we need your help to reach the full amount.
Managing Artistic Director
What better way to end our 59th Season at Waukesha Civic Theatre than with the outrageous laughs provided by Basil Fawlty and friends in Fawlty Towers, based on the 1970s British sitcom of the same name. I have fond childhood memories of watching Fawlty Towers with my father when it was first aired in the US; it was one of the few TV shows he thought was worth watching. It’s an all-time classic, to be sure, as the British Film Institute put the show at #1 on its BFI TV 100 in 2000.
In our upcoming 60th Season, we’ve got more classics planned in our Mainstage series, starting with Gypsy in September and followed by To Kill A Mockingbird. To help celebrate this big milestone season, the cast of Gypsy will include the incomparable Kelli Cramer, starring as Rose, and John Cramer as Herbie. John will also direct Gypsy, and auditions for all remaining roles will be held on June 17-18.
For further details on Waukesha Civic Theatre’s 60th Season, feel free to pick up a 2016-2017 Season Calendar on your way out – better yet, take more than one, give them to friends, and let them know about the wonderful shows you’ve see here.
Finally, as a board director who is also an actor, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of Waukesha Civic Theatre. This institution means so much to me and to everyone else on-stage, off-stage, and behind the scenes; it’s truly a blessing in our lives. Thank you!
Welcome to Fawlty Towers. Or should I say, welcome to the 70’s. Of course, there’s nothing screamingly dated about this play, nor is there anything offensive, so as they say, it holds up. No my friend, what you are about to witness (or have already witnessed, if you waited to read this until you arrived at home) is simply a British themed comedy sometimes called “farce”, which is simply funny. There’s no plot, or deep-seated theme that you must be emotionally affected by, there’s no “message” to perceive, no mystery to unravel. Nope. None of that here. Just some harmless laughter at Basil Fawlty’s expense. It is your opportunity to forget the insanity and drama of the world outside these doors, and have a good time. Laugh! After all, laughter is the best medicine, good for the soul, and it burns calories!