Blog Archives

MAD Corner: Billy Elliot The Musical

WCT is both proud and delighted to present Billy Elliot The Musical. Inspired by and based on the powerful movie from 2000, with additional music by Sir Elton John, this incredible musical tells the story of Billy, a boy torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family. Guided by Mark E. Schuster, one of WCT’s premier directors, and featuring a talented cast of actors from our community, 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

Director’s Note & MAD Corner: Gypsy

Sixty Sparkling 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 “Hidden Gem!” 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. In this extraordinary year, we offer you a multi-faceted line-up to celebrate the last 60 years of quality live entertainment at WCT.

I can’t believe I am starting my fourteenth 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.

I am thrilled that WCT is kicking off this Mainstage season by presenting Gypsy. This is one of my all-time favorite musicals. The Styne/Sondheim score is truly amazing. The characters are all full of life, love, humor, and pain … and they are based on real people! I am very excited to bring it to the WCT stage. We have a live, six piece orchestra conducted by Jim Van Deusen; Mark E. Schuster is our scenic designer and associate director; Anne Van Deusen is our music director; Sharon Sohner is our lead costume designer, and of course the incomparable Kelli Cramer taking her turn as Rose. What an incredible gathering of talent!

The 1959 Broadway musical is loosely based on the lives of Rose Hovick and her daughters Louise and June, who both reached stardom later in life. Louise became Gypsy Rose Lee and June became June Havoc. The original stage production starred Ethel Merman as Rose.

Speculated by many (including NY Times critic Ben Brantley) to be the greatest of all American musicals, Gypsy tells the story of the dreams and efforts of one hungry, powerhouse of a woman to get her two daughters into show business. Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoir of famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, entitled Gypsy: A Memoir. The memoir and the musical focus on the story of Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother, Rose, and earned Rose a place in the theatrical and literary canon as the quintessential, archetypal “Stage Mother.” The musical features songs that have become standards of the musical theatre canon, including “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together Wherever We Go,” “Rose’s Turn,” and the show-stopping, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Gypsy is famous for helping launch lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s career, and features a book by Arthur Laurents that is widely considered to be one of the classic examples of a traditional “book musical.” At the heart of the musical is the gregarious Rose, whose journey made critic Frank Rich call Gypsy “Broadway’s own brassy, unlikely answer to King Lear.” Next week, we’ll post a fun “Hovick Family Timeline” and a few photos of Rose, Louise, and June for your enjoyment.

In addition to our incredible 60th season Mainstage shows, we have more than 80 entertainment options throughout the year, including our Random Acts Of Entertainment, our Education And Outreach productions, our new PIX Flix Movie Series, and more. We offer great benefits to our subscribers (up to 39% off!), including our partnership with 16 downtown Waukesha restaurants offering great discounts to all WCT subscribers. You could literally save as much as you spend if you join us as a subscriber. We also have a year-round theatre arts education program with offerings for students of all ages, including adults.

We are close to wrapping up our Spotlight On The Future major gift campaign 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. So far we have raised 49% 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, a new sound board for the Mainstage, and new sound and lighting equipment for the Studio Theatre and Rehearsal Hall. We still need your help. If you haven’t given to the Spotlight On The Future campaign yet, please consider a gift! If you already have given, thank you, and please consider an additional gift to help us reach our goal.

The generosity of the Waukesha community astounds me, and I truly appreciate all the time, talent, and treasure that you give to WCT. Keep watching, keep participating with, and keep supporting this cultural cornerstone!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Director / Choreographer

Managing Artistic Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On the Board: There’s No Business Like Show Business

WE’RE HAVIN’ A HEAT WAVE!!!

Come see Marilyn Monroe in the number that scandalized Ed Sullivan and celebrate the end of summer at Waukesha Civic Theatre’s PIX Flix – There’s No Business Like Show Business – September 19 at 6:30 pm!

This 1954 musical/comedy – highlighting the genius of composer Irving Berlin- is a veritable Who’s Who of Hollywood greats, staring Ethel Merman, Donald O’Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Marilyn Monroe, Dan Daily and Richard Eastman. If you love laughter, singing and musical dance numbers (…and who doesn’t?!) this is a MUST SEE!

Waukesha Civic Theatre is celebrating its 60th season of bringing great entertainment to Waukesha, and it is not hard to imagine PIX theater patrons of the past filling the seats to watch this movie spectacle unfold in Fox’s first musical in Cinema Scope and DeLuxe Color!!! Come join the tradition!

Based on a story by Lamar Trotti, There’s No Business Like Show Business follows the family of Terry and Molly Donahue (Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman) as they shepherd their brood of three (Johnie Ray, Mitzi Gaynor and Donald O’Connor) through the ups and downs of vaudeville life. The film is a tribute to the power of a loving family and is chock full of romance, comedic intrigue, dancing, music and a plethora of show girls (and boys). Fans of the golden age of Hollywood will not want to miss this gem with musical numbers: “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and, of course, the film’s namesake sung by Ethel Merman herself. Everything about it is appealing!!

Although it received lukewarm reviews when first released, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards and Donald O’Connor later called it the best picture he ever made.

Make it your business to come see There’s No Business Like Show Business, September 19 at 6:30 pm See you there!!

Klett Jane 2009Jane Klett

WCT Board Director