Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols

December 3, 2012

On Friday night, we continued a family holiday tradition by going to see Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. This is the fourth year in a row that the theatre has presented this musical variety show for the holidays and we all agreed that this year was best one so far.

When the idea of this show was first conceived, the intention was to put together a live performance similar to the old holiday TV specials that were hosted by Bing Crosby and Perry Como in the 70s. The show was developed by John Cramer and he did a phenomenal job the first few years putting together a structure that allowed for a variety of songs and sketches to be switched out each year to keep the program fresh. This year, Jacob Sudbrink and Jes Hancock, enhanced the format by adding an underlying story to connect the individual pieces together. Additionally, they added several of the new humorous songs that had the audience in stitches.

Not to take away anything from the performances of previous years, but I have to say that this year’s show is extremely well cast. Paul Burkard as the father, Mark Cage as the Snow Miser, and Isaiah Reynolds as the Grinch were my favorites. Additionally, Martin Graffenius was absolutely superb with his solos of White Christmas and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. And let’s not forget the one individual that has been in it every year so far as WCT’s very own Santa Claus, Jim Volden.

If you have seen it before and were thinking about skipping it this year… DON’T! If you haven’t seen it yet, call the theatre now or go online to get your ticket your right away. You don’t want to miss the chance to start your own holiday tradition.


A Christmas Carol 2009

November 29, 2009

We started out the holiday season by seeing the Milwaukee Rep’s A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater on Friday afternoon. This show is quickly becoming a holiday tradition for our family. A.J. got to see the entire show from the other side of the stage this year. We all enjoyed the show immensely.

There were some small, slight changes throughout the show but they all seemed to make the show a little better. I can truly understand why this show has become a holiday favorite in the Milwaukee area. The story is so heartwarming and the actors, costumes, and set bring it to life so perfectly. Jim Pickering does such an amazing job as Scrooge. It is fun to watch his reactions to things going on even when he isn’t the focus of the scene. But what has always impressed me the most about this production is the continuity. There is singing and movement through all of the scene changes. Everything has a purpose and the audience isn’t keep waiting in the dark for the preparation for the upcoming scene.

If you don’t see any other Christmas show this season, go out to see A Christmas Carol at the Rep. Make it a holiday tradition in your family.

Holiday Theatre in the Area

December 12, 2008

I know that several of my recent posts have been about A Christmas Carol at The Milwaukee Rep. Can you blame me? That being said, there are many other wonderful holiday productions going on at community theatres around the area. Going to a show at Christmas is a great tradition to start or continue this year. The list below is fairly Dramagoon-centric. It contains shows at theatres where we have played or with people we have had the pleasure to play with or both.

Waukesha Civic Theatre presents Miracle on 34th Street. The performances run December 12, 2008 (tonight) through December 21, 2008. The show stars Brian Zelinski as Fred Gailey and Nicole Gorski as Doris Walker and contains many of the fine actors that performed in the holiday show at WCT last year. It is also directed by our director from last year’s show, Karin Cunningham. WCT always seems to put on an entertaining show.

Acacia Theatre Company is currently running It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. It had two shows last weekend and three more shows this weekend; tonight, tomorrow afternoon, and Sunday afternoon. The show got a great review from The Shepherd Express. It stars John Pfannerstill as George Bailey, Elaine Wyler as his wife Mary, and Michael Chobanoff as Mr. Potter.

Theatre On Main is currently running The Big Bad Wolf Meets Santa Claus. It opened on December 5, 2008 and runs through December 21, 2008. I don’t much about this show. From the name it seems like it would be more kid-oriented than any of the others shows currently out there. Theatre On Main does a great job on those types of shows and their ticket prices are reasonable; especially for children.

Sunset Playhouse is currently running It’s a Wonderful Life. It also opened on December 5, 2008 and runs through December 21, 2008 with a special performance on New Year’s Eve. This is a different version than the Acacia one. This is show also got a good review; this one from the Waukesha Freeman. This show is directed by Howard Bashinski and stage managed by Donna Redmer. They are the team that successfully produced The Music Man and Lost In Yonkers and many others.

A Christmas Carol

November 28, 2008

On Wednesday, we went to see the “Family Preview” of A Christmas Carol at the Pabst Theater. We were very lucky and had seats in the fourth row on the first level. In fact, I was in the seat in the exact center of that row. As I have mentioned before, this was my first time seeing this show at The Rep. I just have to say that the show was amazing. All of the actors did such a phenomenal job that I really felt like I was in England in the 1840s and not in a theatre in downtown Milwaukee. When the first act was over, I was surprised at how quickly it had gone. I was just riveted by everything I saw.

The thing that amazed me the most, outside the total enjoyment of the show, was the efficiency of the scene changes. The Pabst Theater is the first theater that either A.J. or I has worked in that has a “Fly System”. Many of the set pieces are attached to ropes and raised and lowered into place during the scene changes. At the same time, the entire cast is singing a traditional English Christmas Carol while moving in and out smaller pieces like desks, tables, or stoves. The effect is wonderful to watch. The settings change before your eyes without some annoying blackout where stagehands scurry around in the dark.

I am so glad that A.J. got the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful show. This is truly one of the jewels of the Milwaukee theatre scene. I hope that it lives on for many years to come. I plan to see it at least once more this year and we have added it to the list of family traditions for Christmases yet to come. “God Bless Us, Everyone!”

A Christmas Carol at The Milwaukee Rep

November 23, 2008

In August, I mentioned that A.J. got an ensemble part in A Christmas Carol at The Milwaukee Rep. They have been rehearsing the show all month and they are in the middle of tech week right now. A.J. has been having a terrific time. He has met a lot of new people and made several friends. There are so many wonderful actors and actresses associated with the show. He is also very excited about getting to perform in the “historic” Pabst Theater. He says the set is awesome. The show opens on Friday, November 28th and there are 39 performances between then and the last show on Sunday, December 28th.

I have to admit that even though we have lived in the Milwaukee area for over eleven years, we have never seen A Christmas Carol at The Rep. With everything that A.J. has described and everything that I have seen while picking him up from rehearsals, I really can’t wait to see the show. It is going to be fantastic. Hopefully, seeing this show will become a new tradition for our family.

Winter Wonderland

December 29, 2007

We had a whole bunch of snow here in early December. So much so that we were in a panic over the the possible ice damns on the roof. About a week before Christmas, the weather warmed up and we lost most of our snow. We still had a “white” Christmas but there wasn’t much there.

Our family has a tradition of sledding on New Year’s Day if there is enough snow. Our back-up plan is bowling. It was looking like another year of bowling until yesterday. We received about 6 inches of the fluffy white stuff. More than enough for some fun sledding adventures.

Maybe we’ll break out the snowshoes too.

That’s a wrap

December 16, 2007

It started with auditions back on October 21st and we wrapped up with our eleventh performance this afternoon. Erin, A.J., and I have officially been in a show together and it was a lot of fun. There were some long nights and we learned a lot about being in “large cast” shows. But, in the end, it was a great show and we are all glad for the experience. I’m sure that we will miss it a lot during the next week.

The three of us owe a great many thanks to Kristi, the fourth member of our acting team. We would not have made it this far with out her keeping us fed, in clean clothes, and organized. On top of that, she helped in all thing theatrical by ferrying some of us to reheasals more than half of the time, helping backstage, and taking pictures of the production. Thanks for helping us to make it “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!!!!”

The Run is Half Over

December 13, 2007

Six shows down and five to go. Things have been going really well. Last night we had a special “Donor Night” performance for all the people that donate to theatre. We played to a nearly packed house. It was a good audience to play to. Being donors, they seemed more appreciative. I heard many more positive comments from exiting audience members after the show than I have heard at other performances.

The review is out. Apparently, Julie McHale of the Waukesha Freeman was too busy going to shows at the Rep last weekend to attend a hometown production. Luckily, Russ Bickerstaff reviewed the show for the Shepherd Express. I am not familiar with how he normally reviews but it seems to be a good albeit short review. He doesn’t necessarily rave but also doesn’t have any negative comments either. A.J. seems to have weaseled his way into another review. “… Charlie talks to his parents without prying any attention away from a home video game he’s playing” refers to the character that A.J. plays. You can see the entire review here.

Another Opening Night! Wahoo!!!

December 7, 2007

Tonight is the night. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever officially opens tonight at Waukesha Civic Theatre. The curtain opens at 8pm. The preview was last night. It was our first performance in front of an audience of more than 6 or 7 parents and the tech crew. It felt good. We got some laughs and applause and there were no major issues. The audience members I talked to after the show said that they enjoyed it. Either they were being very polite and not wanting to hurt my feelings or the show was as good as I thought it was. I’m sure that tonight will be even better. There are eleven performances in the next two weeks. Come out and see us have fun with the Herdmans. You will have an enjoyable time.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

November 27, 2007

As I have mentioned before, AJ, Erin, and I are going to be performing in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Waukesha Civic Theatre this Christmas season. We have less than two weeks until the show opens and rehearsals have been going really well. Those familiar with this show will finds some interesting and enjoyable twists in our version.

I would post the cast list so you could see it if your favorite WCT performer will be onstage, but I don’t have to because it is posted here. Tickets for this special holiday show are reduced to $14.00. I have included the calendar of show times below. There will many performances at different times. Hopefully, this will allow more people to see the show.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Show Times

          Dec 7
8:00 PM
Dec 8
2:00 PM
6:00 PM
Dec 9
2:00 PM
6:00 PM
Dec 10 Dec 11 Dec 12
7:30 PM
Dec 13
7:30 PM
Dec 14
8:00 PM
Dec 15
2:00 PM
6:00 PM
Dec 16
2:00 PM