- It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child.
That came to mind when I thought about the degree of
involvement and dedication required to put together a
Christmas show of such magnitude as the Waukesha Civic
Theatre’s yearly offering of “Candy Canes and Holiday
Cramer, who conceived the show for its first showing in 2009,
and Jes and Jacob Sudbrink, who continue to tweak it, are
largely responsible for its success. Other members of the
community, including many children, make their significant
contributions to this seasonal confection.
show includes many varied stories, songs and dances; it is a
good mix of secular and sacred, old and new, serious and
humorous. If you don’t like one vignette, the next one is
sure to please. There are 26 separate scenes, all united with
a colorful scenic design (A.J. Simon) and clever costuming
(Nikki Maritch). Scott Fudali and Keith Handy also add their
special lighting and sound effects.
of the outstanding scenes in Act I include some nostalgic
numbers from the film “White Christmas,”
the antics of the Snow
Miser, featuring Jeff Stark, and
a tender duet with
Lindsey Retzlaff and Karl Magsig, singing “Winter
trio of young ones perform “I Want a Hippopotamus for
Christmas,” belted out with conviction by Stephanie
Christiansen; “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front
Teeth,” earnestly delivered by Sydney Johnson; and “Bring
Him Home Santa,” poignantly sung by Sarah Albers.
of the Bells” is beautifully rendered by the whole ensemble,
and “The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen,” a clever parody,
is strongly performed by some hearty male singers. “Grandma
Got Run Over by a Reindeer” also amused us, thanks to Lee
Conrad’s broad humor.
II opens with an ensemble number, “The Christmas Can-Can,”
vigorously performed by the entire ensemble. Then we’re
introduced to a family, tucked into a cozy corner downstage,
where a father, mother and daughter interact and play a part
in many of the scenes that follow.
Paul Burkard, Teri Downing and Lily Baranowski execute
their parts well. Lily Baranowski shines in “I Saw Mommy
Kissing Santa Claus.” Burkard
always adds a comic flair.
Barta is well cast as the Heat Miser, and Marty Graffenius’
beautiful tenor voice is a standout in his confrontation with
ethnic musical collage is engaging as the ensemble sings
carols in other languages and dresses accordingly. Sudbrink
arranged the medley. In fact, we can thank Sudbrink for most
of the musical direction and arrangements. He is a very
talented young man.
two closing numbers, “Silent Night,” very movingly
arranged by Sudbrink again, and “I’ll Be Home for
Christmas,” delivered with feeling by Eddie Pronley, both
year’s show is dedicated to those who have served our
country in the military. This World War II song brought back
memories for those of us who have vivid recollections of that
era. Unfortunately, there are still many engaged in military
service who are probably longing to be home for Christmas. It
was a thoughtful idea to bring that reality to mind.
in all, this is a good family show that will entertain all
Canes” runs through Dec. 22 with three shows each weekend at
the Waukesha Civic Theatre, 264 W. Main St. For show times and
tickets, call 547-0708 or visit www.waukeshacivictheatre.org