Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Rosie The Riveter World Record

October 27, 2015

Last Saturday, Oct. 24 2015, Erin and Kristi traveled to the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan to help set the Guinness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter.” While it hasn’t been confirmed yet by the official record keepers, the unofficial results are that they broke the record with 2,096 women and girls dressed as Rosie the Riveter. The previous record of 1,084 participants had been set in California this past August.

In case you are unsure as to why Erin and Kristi drove all the way over to the Detroit area to be a part of this momentous occasion, let me provide some background. First of all, Erin has always been interested in strong women role models; Elizabeth Blackwell, Frida Kahlo, Alice Paul, and, of course, the Rosie the Riveters that took the place of the men/soldiers in the shipyards and bomber plants during World War II. So last summer, when Kristi and Erin were planning a vacation, they decided on a trip to San Francisco in part because it would allow them to visit the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Park in Richmond, California. Not only was it an enjoyable vacation, but Erin was able to gather some research for this year’s National History Day competition.

While they were there, they discovered that the park was planning an event for August to break the record for the most Rosie The Riveters in one location. The previous record of 776 Rosies had been set by the Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan in March, 2014. The timing of this event was disappointing as a second trip to California in such a short time was not in the stars. As I stated earlier, the August event at the National Park broke the original record by a little over 300.

This event was fortuitous for Erin and Kristi in that it caused the supporters of the Willow Run Plant to organize an additional event to take back their record. As Ypsilanti, Michigan is much closer to home for us, a car trip to be part of the World Record in October was easy to arrange. So, now Kristi and Erin can be proud of the fact that they are part of a Guinness World Record and they did it while supporting strong women.

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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.

Happy Easter!!!

April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

The Dramagoons would like to wish all of our friends and family a very Happy Easter. We hope that you are able to spend this special day with with the people that you love.

Oh… and we hope that the Easter Bunny has filled your basket with lots of yummy goodness.

Performing On-Stage With Erin

August 8, 2011

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been a role model dad. The reason why A.J. and Erin are the fantastic, talented, brilliant children that they are is due to the awesome parenting skills of my amazing wife, Kristi. She deserves a sainthood for doing all that she has done while I was at work or playing around at one of the various hobbies that I have had over the years. I am fortunate, however, that she does allow me to take some of the credit even if it is undeserved.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to perform on-stage with Erin in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka at Waukesha Civic Theatre. Ever since the Dramagoons began this acting thing, I have been trying to land parent/child roles in a show with either A.J. or Erin. This summer, Erin and I were lucky enough to be cast as Violet Beauregarde and her father, Sam. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my time as a parent. For the last month or so, I have been able to hang out with my daughter while rehearsing and performing and we’ve had nice chats in the car on the way to and from the theatre. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity to appreciate what wonderful young lady she has become.

What is really neat about this is that all of our scenes are together. Playing father and daughter, we get to share a closeness on-stage that would be difficult to share with another actor that isn’t your own child. And I am really grateful that while Erin plays the bratty Violet extremely well, she doesn’t treat her real dad as awfully as her character does.

I know that I will remember this show and this experience for a long time to come. I can only hope that A.J. and I will also be able to have a similar experience some time soon.

The Drowsy Chaperone

July 24, 2011

We just got back from going to see The Drowsy Chaperone at Sunset Playhouse and it was wonderful. If it isn’t apparent by now, I love live theatre. Like most people, comedies are my favorites. They are followed closely, however, by musicals. And I have to say that this is one of the best musicals that I have seen in a couple of years. The cast and crew did a super job and should be congratulated for giving us an amazing performance.

I’ll admit that this title, The Drowsy Chaperone, is not one that I have heard of before but I really enjoyed the story. The whole show takes place in the studio apartment of middle-aged man that is a fan of the 1920s Broadway musicals. The man, expertly played by Ben George, talks directly to the audience and tells us how he listens to records of old musicals when he is sad; his favorite being the 1929 classic, The Drowsy Chaperone. The show comes to life in his apartment as he describes the plot.

The large song and dance numbers were well choreographed and really had that big old-time musical feel. The tap number performed by Ryan Cappleman and Andy McCain was very well executed. It is awesome to see Ryan follow that scene up with a scene performed blindfolded on roller-skates. The singing performed by the entire cast was outstanding. Ellen Jenders, the ingénue, was perfect in her solo numbers. To be honest, I could probably name everyone in the cast because they were each fantastic in their own way.

The show runs through August 7th and you really need to see it. But don’t wait until the last weekend to see it. Their last weekend is the opening weekend for Willy Wonka at Waukesha Civic Theatre. And while I think that this show is one that you shouldn’t miss, I know in my heart that you are going to love our show just as much.

Happy Fathers Day

June 19, 2011

To all great dads out there, I would like to wish you a very Happy Fathers Day. I hope that you are able to spend a little quality time with your family today. And to my Dad (that I spent time with last night), I hope that you have a special day. You are the best.

A Tiny Miracle With A Fiberoptic Unicorn

June 12, 2011

On Saturday night, the entire family went out to Waukesha Civic Theatre to see their latest offering, A Tiny Miracle With A Fiberoptic Unicorn. Although WCT has produced several wonderful shows this year, we all agreed that this is the best show that they have done this season and possibly in even the last two seasons. Don’t let the title of this show put you off. If you enjoy quality live theatre like we do, you absolutely have to see this show.

The show takes place at Christmas time in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 1986. It follows 13 year old Louis Skolowski as he works up the courage to kiss the girl of his dreams, Carolyn. His path is littered with a myriad of distractions. His family is besieged with visits from both of his elderly Grandmothers; one extremely rough Grandmother that talks as if she were a sailor out on shore leave and the other sweet Grandmother suffering from mild dementia and imagining a non-existent youth spent in Poland.

Having grown up myself in Wisconsin in the mid-1980s, the show definitely struck a personal chord with me. I think the last time that I laughed so much at a show was when I saw The Foreigner a few years back. The 80s pop-culture on top of the references to places and events specific to Southeastern Wisconsin really made the show. Without giving too much away, there are a couple of moments in the play that are so serious that the comic momentum of the show is halted for a few moments. This is a relatively new play by a young playwright, Don Zolidis. If he were to rewrite those moments to come across a little lighter, this could be a truly exceptional show.

You don’t have to be a child of the 80s to enjoy this show. Both A.J. and Erin enjoyed it as much as Kristi and I did. I really believe that this show has broad appeal to all ages. Brian Zelinski is to be commended for once again directing a fantastic production.

Help the Arts!

May 18, 2011

I am very disappointed in my theatre friends. About a month ago, I issued a challenge to my friends, my family, and anyone that reads my blog. In short, I offered to match 30 $5 donations to the Waukesha Civic Theatre High Five Club with $150 of my own money. After a month, only three of my acquaintances have donated; one co-worker, and my aunt and uncle living in Florida.

What bothers me the most is that the “Give a High Five to the Arts!” idea was mine. Donations to the arts are down all over because of the rough economy. And I knew that many of my talented theatre friends don’t necessarily have the kinds of jobs that allow them to donate large sums to the theatre. But I do know that they are all very dedicated to the theatre and want to help however they can. I figured that for the cost a couple of cups of coffee from The Steaming Cup or a couple of glasses of wine at People’s Park, we could help keep our theatre in good shape.

So here’s the deal. I still believe that a small donation from a large number people can make a huge difference. I have already put in my $150 matching donation. I would love it if 27 other theatre-loving individuals dropped in $5 each. If you do, drop me an email to dramagoon at gmail dot com. I would love to send you a personal thank you.

*** Update, I missed a $10 donation from one of my theatre friends. Thanks, Wesley. That still leaves $125 to be matched. ***

Washington, DC – Day 4

April 27, 2011

Arlington National Cemetery

Tuesday was our fourth day in the Washington area. Usually, starting out the day going to a cemetery would seem to be a bad thing but not in this case. We started the day by going to Arlington National Cemetery. We visited the graves of the Kennedys; JFK, Jackie, Robert, and Teddy. At The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we got to see the changing of the guard twice and two wreath laying ceremonies. I got some great video of that and I will be posting it on YouTube when we get back.

In the afternoon, we toured the National Archives. We saw the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I was amazed to see how faded they have all become. I’m sure it didn’t help to have Nicholas Cage drag the Declaration all over Washington, Philadelphia, and New York just to find some dumb treasure… oh that’s right, that was just a movie. My 8th grade social studies teacher would have been proud as I was able to pick out “Article 1, Section 8, the 18 powers of Congress” in the Constitution rather quickly.

Washington, DC – Day 3

April 26, 2011

Library Of Congress

Yesterday was a spectacular third day in Washington, DC. It was so amazing and so jam-packed that we were exhausted when we got back to the hotel last night. Therefore, I postponed the blog update until tonight. We started out the day with a tour of the Library of Congress. What a beautiful building. The architecture is amazing. I will post some pictures on Flickr when we return. As part of the American copyright law, all books, movies, and other things that request a copyright are required to send two free copies to the Library of Congress. They get 22,000 new items every day. Wow.

Folger Shakespeare Library

After we left the LOC, we walked around the block to the Folger Shakespeare Library. This is another research library just like the Library of Congress. The difference is that this is completely funded by private donations and is totally dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare. The interesting thing about the Folger is that even though the outside follows the American Renaissance architecture like the other Washington landmarks, the inside looks more like a Tudor mansion. They even have a small theatre that puts on three productions a year. We got to watch them put the finishing touches on the Cyrano set that opens this week.

US Capitol

Our final tour on Monday was of the US Capitol. Unfortunately, because we couldn’t bring in any large backpacks, we had to walk down to the National Museum of Natural History to store our backpacks and have lunch. On a day where the temperatures were in the 80s, that was a difficult feat. Luckily, it was well worth it. The tour was excellent and we had an extremely knowledgeable guide. Although I don’t think I would recommend doing all three of these tours in the same day again, I would recommend doing all three of these tours to anyone that comes to Washington. We learned so much and had such a great time.