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Backstage Tour

Backstage Tour

By Meghan Hopper
If you've ever watched a live show and wondered "How do they do that?", this is the podcast for you! Each episode, we interview one of Waukesha Civic Theatre's artists, designers, directors, and more to talk with them about one aspect of their creative process.
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Currently playing episode

Christal Wagner, Choreography

Backstage Tour

Christal Wagner, Choreography

Backstage Tour

Madison Penzkover, Five WCT Experiences
Today's guest is Madison Penzkover. A recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Madison is an actor, director, and Capricorn. Before college she acted with the Waukesha Civic Theatre, First Stage, Young Company, and Old World Wisconsin. She has previously directed Dry Land at the University of Oklahoma and Dynamite Comedy at WCT. She bakes a mean meringue, plays an intense game of Settlers of Catan, and knows how to make a variety of four-legged balloon animals. Her favorite cat from the musical Cats is Mr. Mistoffelees, but Skimbleshanks takes a close second. Maddie has been involved with the Waukesha Civic Theatre since the age of 10. She is joining us today to discuss five things she has done at the Waukesha Civic Theatre in the 13 years since then.
May 28, 2021
Ryan Albrechtson, What's Next At WCT?
Ryan Albrechtson joined the Waukesha Civic Theatre as Associate Managing Director in 2021. His experience at the theatre prior to joining the staff includes performing (Honk!, Willy Wonka) and directing (It’s A Wonderful Life, My Funny Valentine). Ryan is a Theatre & Arts Management graduate of Carroll University and also serves as Producing Artistic Director of Outskirts Theatre. Other previous directing credits include Carrie: The Musical, Disenchanted, Dog Sees God, and The Amish Project. Ryan talks with us about what's coming up next at WCT.
March 26, 2021
Peter Kao, Play Selection
Peter Kao joined the WCT Family in 2008 when he played the role of Mr. Shellhammer in Miracle on 34th St. Other favorite WCT roles include Mr. Mayor in Seussical and Man in Chair in The Drowsy Chaperone.  In 2017, he directed the comedy, Sex Please, We’re Sixty.  At the end of the 2016 season, he joined the Board of Directors.  He currently serves as the Secretary on the Board and chairs the Diversity and Inclusive Practices Committee. He is also directing WCT’s upcoming production of The Language Archive. Peter will be talking about the play selection process.
March 05, 2021
Beth Perry - Acting & Theatre Etiquette
Today’s guest is Beth Perry. Originally from Washington DC, Beth was bitten by the acting bug when her godfather took her to the theatre when she was four years old. She knew right away - she wanted to be on the stage. She has been remarkably fortunate and been able to be on stages in DC, Central Florida and Southeast Wisconsin. She first appeared on the Waukesha Civic Theatre stage 18 years ago, and she’s met some of her very best friends and done some of her very best work here including Wit, The Busybody, Dixie Swim Club, Noises Off, 33 Variations, and Fawlty Towers. Her performance in WCT’s 33 Variations was recognized by the Footlights Performing Arts Awards in 2017.
February 12, 2021
Matthew Konkel - Writing In Different Mediums
Matthew Konkel is a playwright, film-producer, and screenwriter. His feature film Neptune from Last House Productions was selected for the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival and is currently available to watch on Prime Video. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally by theater companies including Milwaukee Entertainment Group, Edmonds Driftwood Players, Organised Chaos Productions, Over Our Head Players, and Screaming Media Gi60. His play Jake Revolver, Freelance Secret Agent will debut its 8th production at Waukesha Civic Theater on February 5th.  Matthew also works as a personal trainer in Milwaukee helping people reach their fitness goals. Matthew is joining us today to share five things about writing in different mediums.
January 29, 2021
Anne Van Deusen, Music Directing For Young Performers
Anne Van Deusen is a music director, pianist, accompanist and vocal coach in and around the Milwaukee area. Specializing in her ability to break open the text, Anne enjoys working with performers of all ages and all abilities. She thoroughly enjoys the collaborative process between the leadership team, the cast and crew and delights in helping young artists discover their talents and passion. In her day job, Anne is the Director of Liturgical Music at St. Mary's Church in Hales Corners, where she started a middle school mass choir "Jammin' 4 Jesus". Music-directing companies include: Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, DSHA Community TheatreWorks, In Tandem Theatre, Off the Wall Theatre, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Whitefish Bay High School, Wisconsin Hills Middle School, Brookfield Elementary School. Music-directing credits include: Violet, The Story of My Life, Spring Awakening, Les Miserables, Ragtime, Peter Pan, Into the Woods, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. Anne spoke with us about music directing for young performers.
January 01, 2021
Mark Neufang, Character Creation
Today’s guest is Mark Neufang. Originally a native of upstate New York, Mark has 20 years experience working as an actor and director in Milwaukee and Waukesha area theaters. He earned a Bachelor's degree in in art and theater at Carroll University and began his community theater endeavors on WCT's stage in 2000 when he was cast as Freddy Eynsford-Hill in "My Fair Lady". Since then, he has participated in over 50 productions on both non-professional and semi-professional stages. He made his directorial debut at WCT with "Crimes of the Heart" in 2010, and last fall, directed a highly successful production of Edward Albee's classic "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with Milwaukee Entertainment Group at the Brumder Mansion. As an actor, he has far too many favorite roles over 20 years to mention, but his most recent - Edward Bloom in "Big Fish" at WCT this past spring - is definitely right up there on his list. When he's not onstage, he works as Culinary Assistant for Taste of Home magazine, and is an avid reader and baker, baking up beautiful, photo-worthy desserts in his kitchen for his Neufangled Desserts followers on Instagram and Facebook. He lives in Milwaukee with his partner Jake and two crazy cats, Maggie and Digby.
December 18, 2020
Jackey Boelkow, Audition Techniques
Jackey Boelkow is the Director of Marketing and Development at Waukesha Civic Theatre but she is also an actor, auditioning and performing in the Milwaukee area. She was most recently seen as Chris in Outskirts Theatre Co.’s Carrie, Suzy in Sunset Playhouse’s production of The Marvelous Wonderettes, and is a cast member at Kohl’s Wild Theatre. She graduated from UW Stevens Point with her BFA in Musical Theatre in 2018 and studied and performed with the Prague Shakespeare Company in the summer of 2017. She’s joining us today to talk about auditions.
December 04, 2020
Rhonda Schmidt, Director
Rhonda Schmidt, the Executive Director of Waukesha Civic Theatre, joined the WCT team last winter, wanting to take a role in her local theatre to benefit the community, continue her work with kids in theatre, and help WCT get to the next phase of its journey. Rhonda is a Waukesha resident, a producer, director, fundraiser, designer, and teacher. In her personal life she is a wife, mother of three, and zoo wrangler of several pets. Rhonda’s last directorial work could be seen on the WCT stage and in live stream - Big Fish produced by Waukesha Civic Theatre this March...and June. Rhonda is joining us today to discuss five things she considered while directing an ensemble.
July 31, 2020
Aaron Schmidt, Lighting Design
Aaron Schmidt is a lighting and sound designer who has worked with several area theaters and schools over the past twenty years.  Most recently, Aaron designed the lighting and coordinated the technical aspects of the video projections for Waukesha Civic’s production of Big Fish. Aaron also spends time on stage as a member of the 50’s and 60’s musical group, the Four Guyz in Dinner Jackets.  By day, Aaron works as a technical project manager for one of the nation’s largest radiology practices.  Aaron is joining us today to discuss how he uses five properties of light when designing lighting for plays or musicals. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
July 24, 2020
Ian Hueston, Front of House
Ian Hueston is the Box Office Manager at Waukesha Civic Theatre, where he has worked as event staff since 2018. He studied theatre at Brevard College in North Carolina where he focused on costuming, makeup, and playwriting. He is an amateur playwright who has been featured in the literary magazine Chiaroscuro. Most of his time is spent with his boyfriends and their two adorable dogs in Racine. Ian talks with us about the front of house.
July 17, 2020
Doug Jarecki, Playwriting
Doug Jarecki is the Director of Education and Outreach at the Waukesha Civic Theatre, and also a local actor and playwright.  He is co-founder of the children's theatre company Kidsplay, where he co-writes and performs original shows for young audiences.  His work has been produced by Next Act Theatre, In Tandem, Waukesha Civic Theatre, Kohl's Wild Theatre, and more.  His Christmas play 'Twas The Month Before Christmas will be returning this December to Vogel Hall at the Marcus Center and the Oconomowoc Arts Center.   Doug is joining us today to discuss five playwriting reminders.
July 10, 2020
Sharon Sohner, Costume Design
Sharon Sohner has been involved with Waukesha Civic Theatre since 1971. She has acted, directed, stage managed, and costumed shows for WCT as well as other area community theaters and schools. A high school Communications/Drama teacher for 35 years, she was involved in all aspects of educational theater. Upon retirement, she decided to narrow her focus to costuming. She has headed or helped with at least one show per year since 2001 here with the community at Waukesha Civic Theatre. She especially likes to costume plays of a different era. As she says, “Costuming is kind of like playing dress up (whIch I loved to do as a kid) except I get to put the clothes on other people!” Sharon will be talking to us about five things to consider when costuming a play outside of present time. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
July 03, 2020
Sarah Rolli, Sound Design
Sarah Rolli is a sound and lighting designer that has worked at multiple theatres in the Madison and Milwaukee area, including Outskirts, New Berlin West TAP, and, of course, Waukesha Civic. She studied theatre at UW-Madison and has worked in live theatre, opera, and live music. When not at the theatre, she works in medical diagnostics as a biochemist. Sarah will be talking about Sound Design. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
June 26, 2020
Christal Wagner, Choreography
Today’s guest is Christal Wagner. Christal has her BFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she also spent 6 years as an adjunct faculty in the UWM dance department and will be joining the dance department to teach Dance for Musical Theatre in fall of 2020. She is a mover, choreographer, photographer, videographer, film maker, and performer all throughout the Milwaukee area. She gained her start performing professionally with Elizabeth Johnson’s company, Your Mother Dances, spending 4 seasons with the company locally and abroad. She has been a member of Danceworks Performance Company since 2007 performing and creating work on the company. In 2008 she was added to the Danceworks Mad Hot Tap and Ballroom faculty and also began her choreographic career in Musical Theatre. She has choreographed over 20 musicals and won 8 Tommy Awards for Outstanding Choreography. In 2012, she co-founded the music and dance trio Cadance Collective helping to co-create pieces through au process where music and dance are worked on simultaneously through improvisational practices and original soundscapes. She has choreographed work for Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, Shorewood High School, Nicolet High School, Waukesha Civic Theatre, and Skylight Music Theatre. Christal will be talking to us about choreography. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
June 19, 2020
Pam Seccombe, Stage Management
Pam Seccombe left her job as a high school French teacher in order to start a second career working in the theatre as a Stage Manager. She has studied stage management in the UW-Milwaukee theatre department and done internships at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Pam has managed shows at Waukesha Civic Theatre, SummerStage of Delafield, Sunset Playhouse, and at UW-M. In her spare time she enjoys studying medieval history and doing genealogical research on her family in the UK. Pam will be talking about Stage Management. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
June 12, 2020
Dana Brzezinski, Wardrobe and Costuming
Dana Brzezinski has costumed many shows for Waukesha Civic Theatre, most recent of which was CLUE THE MUSICAL. Other theater credits include designing SMALL FIRE at Next Act Theater and being Wardrobe Supervisor at Florentine Opera. Dana was raised with sewing. Most of the women of her maternal lineage have been hobby sewers or tailors. She got bit by the theater bug when she stumbled onto costume crew in high school and went on to study theater design at Bennington College. Dana will be telling us five important things about the role of wardrobe in theatre. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
June 05, 2020
Dustin J. Martin, Director
Dustin J. Martin is an award-winning director who has acted and directed at many theaters across southeastern Wisconsin. HIs production of 33 VARIATIONS at WCT won the inaugural Footlights People’s Choice Award for Best Non-Professional Play. Other credits include NOISES OFF, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, TARTUFFE, THE DIXIE SWIM CLUB, and THE MIRACLE WORKER. He is also the artistic director of SummerStage of Delafield. When not working on a show, he enjoys board gaming and spending time with his wife Eve and four teenage daughters. Dustin will be speaking to us about five things he respects as a director. Check out more episodes from Waukesha Civic Theatre on Fridays, and don't forget to rate, review, and subscribe!
May 29, 2020
Backstage Tour Trailer
Have you ever wondered what it takes to put on a show? Well, you've come to the right podcast! Each episode, we interview someone with specific knowledge and experience working in theatre. They will share five things important to their creative process. Directors, actors, stitchers, and more! Backstage Tour is a podcast produced by Waukesha Civic Theatre and hosted by yours truly, Meghan Hopper. Check back soon for new episodes!
May 21, 2020