Blog Archives

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Vertigo

Vertigo is a classic Alfred Hitchcock film.  It will make its Waukesha Civic Theatre debut on the big screen at 6:30 pm on May 1, 2017.

John “Scottie” Ferguson, played by James Stewart, is a retired San Francisco police detective with a case of acrophobia.  Madelaine, played by Kim Novak, is the lady who leads him to high places.

Vertigo is a 1958 American crime film.  It is a romantic story of obsession, manipulation, fear, suspense and mystery all wrapped around twisted human psychology.  The versatility and genre befuddled audiences of 1958.  “Dolly zoom,” zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of the view toward or away from the subject created a continuous perspective of distortion.  It was a technique used to increase the drama in a scene.

Hitchcock actually pulled Vertigo out of circulation in 1973.  It wasn’t until 1980 that audiences saw it again and grew to appreciate it more.  A digital restoration of the film in 1996 further returned it to its original glory.

The film was shot on location in San Francisco, California and Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Scottie’s apartment is one block downhill from the “crookedest street in the world”.  The Mission San Juan Bastista is a real place.  Madelaine jumps into the sea at Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.  The views of San Francisco and surrounding area are beautiful.  The step back in time with the classic automobiles of the 1950’s is dramatic.

In 1989 Vertigo was recognized as a “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” film by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in the first year of the registry voting.  As of 2016, on Rotten Tomatoes the film has a “certified fresh” rating of 97%.

What better place to watch this film, considered to be one of Hitchcock’s best, if not THE best, than the big screen at the Waukesha Civic Theatre?

Take a look for yourself and decide whether or not Vertigo is the greatest Hitchcock film of all time.  Don’t leave yourself hanging in suspense (like poor Scottie).

Also, don’t forget, Hitchcock appears somewhere in all of his films.  Will you spot him?

Hope to see you May 1st!

Mary Dembinski

Board Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

No movie may be more nostalgic of the 80’s than E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. I’d like to welcome you to enjoy our presentation of the April PIX Flix feature on Monday, April 10th This was one of my favorite movies growing up. What could be more intriguing to kids both young and old than the mystery of a young boy befriending an alien from another planet?

From the moment this movie starts, it captures your imagination and relates it all to a young boy with an older know-it-all brother and talkative younger sister.  This younger sister was the breakout performance to none other than Drew Barrymore.

A set around the fall season and Halloween adds to this timeless adventure. The whole story is pulled together by the continued breathtaking music compilations by John Williams.  John Williams has been nominated for 50 academy awards and won 5 for iconic movies like Star Wars and Jaws, including one for this very movie.

This movie has everything a good family movie should have.  There are emotional ups and downs along the way, but it remains one of the most touching family friendly movies of all time.  So please join us with your whole family for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial on Monday, April 10th, and don’t forget the popcorn!

 

Rich Johnson

Treasurer

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Mr. Holland’s Opus

Next month, on Monday, March 20th, we bring Mr. Holland’s Opus back to the big screen. Friends, bring tissues.

Glenn Holland is a composer who wants to write the great American symphony. Instead he grinds out a career teaching high school music for decades to children of widely varying attitude and aptitude, while fighting his administration for funding and appreciation.

At home he’d love nothing more than to share his love of music with his only child, but tragedy strikes and his son is born deaf. Along with this heartbreak, Holland’s stubbornness causes him to estrange himself from the boy for years.

Michael Kamen was so moved by his experience composing for this movie that afterward he founded the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (www.mhopus.org) to “[keep] music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs nationwide.”

Richard Dreyfuss gives us yet another Oscar and Golden Globe nominated performance in this modern family classic, with an ending evocative of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Please join me on Monday, March 20th for the feel-good movie of 1995. I’m not crying – you are!

Penzkover Angela 2012Angela Penzkover

Board President

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Board: Casablanca

Put Monday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. on your calendar to join my wife Dawn and me at the Waukesha Civic Theatre to see one of my all-time favorite films – Casablanca for only $5.00.  Critic Leonard Maltin considers it to be “the best Hollywood movie of all time.”

It stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, in his first truly romantic role and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund which her website calls her “most famous and enduring role.”  Critic Roger Ebert called her “luminous” and her chemistry with Bogart: “she paints his face with her eyes.”

Casablanca has some of the most famous lines ever!  Watching today’s news, an anchor said they “rounded up the usual suspects” which Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault says twice to great effect.

One of the best final lines in any movie, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” was added a month after shooting ended.  Other famous Bogart lines are: “We’ll always have Paris,” and  “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Personally I love when Renault says,  “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling’s going on here” and then’s told, “Your winnings, sir.”  I also love when Bogart tells the head Nazi, “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

So come see why Casablanca, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, won Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay at the 1943 Academy Awards and includes the iconic theme song, “As Time Goes By” sung by Dooley Wilson.  Then you should watch Woody Allen’s 1972 film, Play It Again Sam, which Bogart never actually says.

I guarantee you’ll enjoy seeing it on the big Civic screen – “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”  How many films offer comedy, romance, suspense, and the fifth most memorable line in cinema – Rick’s toast to Ilsa, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” which Bogey said to Bergman as he taught her poker between takes.

Nelson Larry 2011

 

Larry Nelson

Waukesha Civic Theatre Board Director

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: The Wizard Of Oz

We are bringing the silver screen back to the PIX and The Wizard Of Oz is one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie musicals! It’s the 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz. Judy Garland plays Dorothy, a Kansas girl who feels somewhat out of place growing up on her uncle’s farm. She captured hearts and imaginations with her rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, which stands out as one of the best known musical numbers of the twentieth century.
This film was one of the first to use Technicolor, in filming the Oz scenes. It was also one of the first to be released on videocassette. The Wizard Of Oz celebrated its 77th anniversary in August 2016. It was previewed in three test markets, two of which were in southeastern Wisconsin (Kenosha & Oconomowoc).

This exciting film did not come without its dangers, however. The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, reacted to the makeup and had to be replaced. The aluminum powder makeup coated his lungs, causing him to be hospitalized and the makeup team to switch to an aluminum paste over a layer of clown white. Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch Of The West, suffered second degree burns when the grease in her makeup caught fire during a Munchkinland scene. They had to fully remove the makeup before treating her burns. After six weeks in the hospital, she returned to finish filming.

Chances are, you’ve never seen this Hollywood classic in the theatre – so join us next Monday, January 2nd, at 6:30 pm to see The Wizard Of Oz on the big screen! The movie starts at 6:30 pm and tickets are only $5! We’ll bring the popcorn, you bring your friends! See you at the Theatre!
danner-katie-2008
Katie Danner
Box Office Supervisor and
Marketing Director

Cramer’s Corner: Happy Holidays From WCT!

Happy Holidays! 

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.  We open tonight and run through December 18, including two Pay What You Can performances Saturday, December 3 at 7:30 pm and Saturday December 17 at 2:00 pm.  Click here for more information.

Waukesha Silver Bells is once again sponsoring Horse Drawn Carriage Rides in downtown Waukesha every Friday and Saturday throughout the month.  Click here for more information.

The West End Artists are presenting their 94th Art Crawl Saturday, December 3, from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, with fantastic art displays in several galleries and stores in downtown Waukesha, including our own Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in the WCT lobby. Click here for more information.

For those of you looking for something a little naughty (but a lotta nice) Joel Kopischke brings his unique brand of comedy to our stage for the eighth consecutive season with I Got Yule, Babe Tuesday and Thursday, December 6 and 8, at 7:30 pm both nights.  Joined by his merry band of incredible musicians and singers, he will present some of his favorites with a few new songs mixed in.  Click here to buy tickets.

We have two auditions coming up this month.  A.C.T. Live! auditions will be held on Monday, December 12 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and auditions for 33 Variations will be held on Monday and Tuesday, December 12 and 13, starting at 6:30 pm.  Click here for more information.

Our PIX Flix movie series is utilizing our new screen and projector, bringing the silver screen back to the PIX.  Our next movie of the season will be Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas on December 19 at 6:30 pm.  The cast of the movie includes Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, 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!  Click here to buy tickets.

We end the holiday season with the return of Tony Davis as Elvis Presely in Elvis:  The Legend Lives On with performances December 29-31.  Click here for more information.

Our current featured artist in the Waukesha State Bank Art Gallery in our lobby is the InterFaith Lifetime Art Competition Winners through December 8, and then we will feature the art of Jonathan Korotko December 10 through January 9.

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 another great season of entertainment!

I know we are only half way through our current season, but I am so excited about our 61st season I have to share it with all of you.  I am thrilled to annouce that our 2017-2018 season will include:
Sex Please, We’re Sixty
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (an area premier!)
The House Without A Christmas Tree (an original adaptation by our own Doug Jarecki)
The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
Sister Act
Wait Until Dark
Father Knows Best

Amazing, right?  Subscription packages will go on sale in May 2017! Individual tickets will go on sale in July 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 son Jude will be appearing with the Waukesha South High School choirs in two concerts.  The first with the Wisconsin Philharmonic on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30 pm at Shattuck Auditorium, and the second at Waukesha South High School on Wednesday, December 21 at 7:00 pm.

Have a Happy Holiday Season, and I’ll see you at the theatre!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer
Managing Artistic Director
jcramer@waukeshacivictheatre.org
262-547-4911 ext. 13 office

PIX Flix Spotlight On The Staff: How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Don’t Be A Grinch … Come See The Grinch!

By now you are all most likely aware of our new PIX Flix movie series, where we have brought the Silver Screen back to the PIX one Monday every month.  We are half way through our second season of the series, and our next movie makes me giddy. It is no secret that I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year, and I love, love, love, love, love holiday movies. I’m hoping to get a full house for our December movie, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, and more. This is easily one of my all-time favorite holiday movies, and I can watch it over and over.

Based on the book by Dr. Seuss and the original 1966 cartoon TV special narrated by Boris Karloff, the movie brings the wonderful world of the Whos to life. Ron Howard directed the movie, which has become the second highest-grossing holiday film of all time with over $345 million worldwide. It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

And of course there’s Jim Carrey.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Jim Carrey’s 100% commitment to every role he plays. When Mr. Carrey first started having success on the big screen I was not amused. I didn’t understand what the buzz was about, but I saw every film he was in. Perhaps begrudgingly, but I saw it. Over time I grew to appreciate his genius, and now he is one of my favorite actors of all time. His ability to completely transform himself, both vocally and physically, is a wonder to behold. And his Grinch is pure brilliance.

I love quoting the Grinch. I’m no Jim Carrey, but it sure is fun to imitate him. This is my usual go-to:

The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?

The movie’s soundtrack is loaded with fun, funny, and sentimental songs, including “Green Christmas,” “Christmas Of Love,” “Better Do It Right,” and “Perfect Christmas Night.” And of course, Carrey’s inspired version of the classic “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is spectacular. These songs are in my personal holiday music playlist and always make me smile when they start to play.

The movie will be on Monday, December 19th at 6:30 pm.  Tickets are $5 each, and we have concessions (including popcorn!) and bar service.  It would be a great night for everyone that loves WCT to gather just before the holiday to celebrate this incredible organization, each other, a very fun and funny movie, and our NEW SCREEN and PROJECTOR!!!!! I’m hoping that we can get 200, or MORE, of our key supporters and participants to come see this movie. You can fully experience our projector and screen, purchased and installed a little over a year ago thanks to the generous donations we have received for our Spotlight On The Future Campaign.  (It’s never too late to give to the campaign, or give again to the campaign.  We are at 47% of our total goal). You can buy tickets online or at the box office by phone, email, fax or in person.  Get your tickets early so you are sure to have a seat! I’ll see you then, if not before!

Cramer John 2006John Cramer

Managing Artistic Director

PS – click here to check out the rest of our PIX Flix series!

PIX Flix: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

“I wouldn’t give you two cents for all your fancy rules if, behind them, they didn’t have a little bit of plain, ordinary, everyday kindness and a little looking out for the other fella, too.” – Jefferson Smith

Waukesha Civic Theatre’s next PIX Flix presentation is Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, starring James Stewart, Claude Rains, and Jean Arthur, and directed by Frank Capra.

“Aah, he’ll never get started. I’ll make public opinion out there within five hours! I’ve done it all my life. I’ll blacken this punk so that he’ll – You leave public opinion to me. Now, Joe, I think you’d better go back into the Senate and keep those Senators lined up.” – Jim Taylor

When it premiered in 1939, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was a widely celebrated, highly controversial film. The story of idealistic everyman Jefferson Smith, who is temporarily appointed to the United States Senate only to find it filled with corruption, has inspired audiences for over seventy-five years.

“You can’t count on people voting, half the time they don’t vote, anyway.” – Senator Joseph Paine

Politics may seem inescapable at times, but this film still speaks to audiences today. Neither the Republican nor Democrat parties are ever mentioned or even hinted at on screen, and at the time of its release, it was both lauded for its patriotism and decried as pro-communist and anti-American. Washington insiders hated it, but fascist states in Europe banned it for fear that it showed that democracy worked.

“This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor machine, allegedly crooked inside and out.” – Diz Moore

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, one of the great films of 1939 (a prestigious company that includes classics such as The Wizard Of Oz, Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, and Goodbye, Mr. Chips), was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, ultimately winning for Best Original Story. It made the American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list, ranking at number 26, and it is widely considered one of Frank Capra’s best films.

“Because of just one, plain, simple rule: Love thy neighbor. And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.” – Jefferson Smith

For only $5, join us at 6:30 on Monday, November 7th for this classic American film. And don’t forget to vote!

hopper-meghan-2014Meghan Hopper

Office Manager

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