Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols

By Book By John Cramer, Based On A Variety Of Holiday Classics
Music And Lyrics By Various Artists

Directed by John Cramer
December 4 to 20, 2009

Read the Reviews:

Waukesha Freeman, WaukeshaNOW

Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Tom Koth

Sponsored In Part By

WCT projects are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Angila Allen


Christine Allen

Ensemble, Woodland Creature

Ellie Allen

Ensemble, Virginia, Woodland Creature

Allie Babich


Paul Burkard

Ensemble, George Bailey, Professor Hinkle

Samantha Burkard


Mark Cage

Ensemble, Skinny Santa, Potter’s Assistant, Bob Cratchit

Catherine Chapman

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Woodland Creature

Lucy Chapman

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Woodland Creature

Jennifer Clark

Ensemble, Guitar

Elena Cramer

Ensemble, Mary Cratchit, Woodland Creature

Jude Cramer

Ensemble, Hermey, Tiny Tim Cratchit

Don Devona

Winter Warlock

Julianna Dodd

Ensemble, Christmas Story Child

Kaitlyn Downing

Ensemble, Janey Bailey

Mary Ebbott

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Woodland Creature

Scott Ebbott

Ensemble, Frosty The Snowman, Peter Pine

Bethany Fink

Ensemble, Belinda Cratchit

Glen Fink

Ensemble, Sam The Snowman, Francis Church, Ebenezer Scrooge, Guitar

Jade Flanders

Ensemble, Elf, Woodland Creature

Ruby Flanders

Ensemble, Woodland Creature

Paula Garcia

Ensemble, Alice Cratchit

Ralph Garcia

Ensemble, Ralph

Colin Gray-Hoehn

Ensemble, Peter Bailey

Gary Griepentrog

Ensemble, John Cratchit, Schwartz

Emily Hartwig

Ensemble, Bumble

Natalie Hartwig


Michelle Heimlich

Ensemble, Bumble

Madison Huber

Ensemble, Elf, Christmas Story Child

Jon Jones

Ensemble, Ghost of Christmas Present, Guitar

Erick Juarez

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Christmas Story Child

Mark Katka

Ensemble, Elf, Woodland Creature, Randy

Matt Katka

Ensemble, Elf, Tommy Bailey, Topper

Beth Keller

Ensemble, Willy Willow

Jane Klett

Ensemble, Mary Bailey

Zoë Klett

Ensemble, Elf, Zuzu Bailey

Tom Koth


Stephanie LaChance

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Woodland Creature

Bjorn Larson

Ensemble, Elf, Frosty Child, Ralphie, Violin

Abby Lewis

Ensemble, Frosty Child, Christmas Story Child, Violin

Sarah MacGregor

Ensemble, Bumble

Carol McLean


Jacob Meixner

Ensemble, Elf, Scutt Farkas

Abbi Minnesale

Ensemble, Martha Cratchit

Eric Minnesale

Ensemble, Rudolph, Peter Cratchit, Grover Dill

Jim Murdock

Mr. Potter

Erika Pannicke

Ensemble, Bumble

Lee Piekarski


Jenna Portz

Ensemble, Woodland Creature

Alyssa Proell

Ensemble, Elf, Hocus Pocus, Cindy Lou Who, Woodland Creature

Shawn Spellman

Ensemble, Mrs. Claus

Nicki Stamn

Ensemble, Bumble

Jacob Sudbrink

Ensemble, Kris Kringle, Viola, Violin

Alie Velcheck

Ensemble, Elf, Karen

Jim Volden

Ensemble, Santa Claus

Alexander Vrba

Ensemble, Elf, Max, Woodland Creature

Heather Anne Vrba

Ensemble, Woodland Creature

Josh Webber

.Ensemble, Flick

Jean Weidman


Capri Whiteley

Ensemble, Frosty Child

Wesley Yoshino

Ensemble, Head Elf

Production Staff 

Director and Co-Choreographer

John Cramer

Music Director, Orchestration Sequencer, Sound Designer

Jacob Sudbrink

Stage Manager

Katie Danner

Scenic Designer and Set Decorator

Mark E. Schuster

Master Carpenter

A.J. Simon

Costume Designer

Sallie Burkard

Lighting Designer

Aaron Schmidt

Properties Designer

Debi Mumford


Rayen Singletary

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

Assistant Stage Manager

Phillip Alonge

Costume Construction Crew Leads

Aleta Bernard
Lee Piekarski

Costume Construction Crew

Carol Burkard
Joanie Burkard
Anne Conway
Karin Cunningham
Teri Downing
Ann Flanders
Karen Gray-Hoehn
Amanda Hartwig
Peter Kao
Marge Konetzke
Laura Kurutz
Jean Novy
A.J. Simon
Sharon Sohner
Shawn Spellman
Peggy Stoop
Jean Weidman

Holiday spirit captured in Civic Theatre show

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
December 11, 2009

A Christmas show comprised of a host of carols and characters is a wonderful way to engage many participants and encourage young talent. "Candy Canes Tales and Holiday Carols" at the Waukesha Civic Theatre is a perfect showcase for an array of varying gifts. Mark E. Schuster designed the colorful set with its giant illuminated book which foretold each vignette, Sallie Burkard created a rich assemblage of beautiful and clever costumes to suit the stories and John Cramer, with Jacob Sudbrink's assistance, wrote and directed the show.

It was a mammoth task to take on, with a cast of more than 60, but one which reaped many rewards.

We not only got to hear 46 Christmas songs, but we also re-encountered Santa, his elves, Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph, the Abominable Snowman, Scrooge, George Bailey and the Winter Warlock, to name a few familiars.

The tunes are quite varied, ranging from Allie Babich's soaring rendition of "O Holy Night" to the doo-wap version of "The Perfect Christmas Night," tunefully delivered by Samantha Burkard, with her father Paul, Jon Jones and Jacob Sudbrink providing harmonious backup.

Other solo numbers that deserve mention are Jude Cramer's soulful plea, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," and Kaitlyn Downing's pitch-perfect discovery in "I Saw Santa Kissing Santa Claus."

Jacob Sudbrink's rendering of "River" is heartfelt, but the accompaniment sometimes detracted from the beauty of the work. A guitar or a tape would have worked better.

Jan Klett's "Christmas Traditions" is a thoughtful piece, movingly executed and one not often included on a Christmas menu.

Paul Burkard is perfect as the magician in the Frosty story, and Tom Koth, a nasty grinch.

The ensemble numbers that are especially melodious include "The Jingle Bell Medley," Carol of the Bells," the "Let It Snow" Combo and "Silent Night."

Humor is prevalent in the elves workshop scene, the Grinch story and the Holiday Villains number, where all the bad guys in Christmas stories are vying for the "Most Evil" award.

The Cratchit family scene is very well done dramatically, with authentic British accents to boot. There are certainly numbers to please every taste and age.

The history of some of the songs provides a nice touch, but the manner of delivery is choppy and somewhat distracting, disrupting the rhythm of the narrative, especially when time is lost waiting for the next person to deliver his or her line.

The scene changes are a bit cumbersome and time-consuming. Perhaps some smaller numbers could have been performed downstage during transitions. If the show gets tweaked here and there, it looks like one that could become a tradition, tapping as it does into many Christmas favorites.

The starting time probably should have been 7:30 p.m. to accommodate all the little people on stage and in the audience. However there are some performances at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

It is highly recommended as a lovely Christmas gift to the Waukesha community. It runs through Dec. 20.

'Candy Cane Tales' wraps up everything Christmas

WCT's variety show doesn't miss a holiday trick
By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
Dec. 8, 2009

Waukesha Civic Theatre's holiday show is like a tree of a thousands of lights, 15 dozen decorated cookies, a 10-foot tower of wrapped presents.

However, like the tree with some lights burned out, the handful of cookies that crumbled, the gifts the paper didn't quite cover, "Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols" has its flaws; but who notices, among all the colorful costumes, familiar holiday tunes, stories and characters and festive, gleaming decorations not to mention a cast of 61, most of whom are happy, smiling children.

The 21 scenes in "Candy Cane" depict various popular holiday shows, such as "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and showcase familiar seasonal tunes. The scenes are preceded by a little history of the show or song, which often reveal surprising information. For instance, did you know that "The Coventry Carol" is the oldest known Christmas melody, dating back to 1534, that "O Holy Night" was the first piece of music to be broadcast on the radio, or that Henry Winkler and Jonathan Winters are among the many actors who have played Ebenezer. Scrooge?

Lots of cute kids

The children are, of course, darling and, for the most part, execute well the dance steps, tunes and parts of the scene explanations they had to learn by heart.

Little Jude Cramer is a scene stealer in "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" and in "A Couple of Misfits," where he plays an elf that wants to be a dentist along with Eric Minessale as Rudolph.

Despite numerous set changes, the 2 1/2 -hour show with intermission moved quickly and quietly save for one loud crash on opening night.

Other highlights included Jan Klett's lovely and heartfelt rendition of a not-so-familiar tune called "Christmas Eve." and its refrain of "Don't forget where you came from."

Jacob Sudbrink's violin medley, which cleverly strings together tunes to "Let It Snow," was another crowd favorite, as was Sudbrink's "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" with the cutest Woodland Creatures you ever saw.

Grinch steals the show

Tom Koth as the evil Grinch mimes the story wonderfully during "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," with various cast members handling Dr. Seuss's clever lines. Jon Jones did a fine job describing the Christmas killjoy in "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Allie Babich's "O Holy Night," accompanied by Bjorn Larson, Abby Lewis and Jacob Sudbrink on violins, was also well done, as was Samantha Burkard's jazzy "Perfect Christmas Night."

There is hardly a Yuletide character overlooked in the show, as Frosty, Virginia (from "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus"), George Bailey and Scrooge are featured. Even the Abominable Snowman makes humorous appearances throughout the show.

Even before the show started, the audience was entertained by a gorgeous set featuring a lit "open book" backdrop that changed with each scene, plus mountains of Christmas gifts, lit trees and garland as well as a stockingful of holiday tunes.

Volunteer of the Production - Tom Koth

The reason for rhyming this text is a cinch;
for the role Tom played in the show was the Grinch.
He was helpful backstage to the young and the old;
he did what was needed, never had to be told.
He brought flowers to the cast and that made them feel grand;
and his performance on stage was the best in the land.
Tom was commended for he has no Grinch-like greed;
and his all-around effort helped the show to succeed.