Candy Cane Tales And Holiday Carols

Book by John Cramer
Music by Various Artists
Produced by special arrangement with Alleycat Enterprises, Inc.

Directed by Katie Danner
December 2 to 18, 2011

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

Heidi Consiglio

Check out a sample from a previous show!


Sarah Albers


Lauren Arzbaecher


Libby Barthel


Joy Bartoli


Ruth Caves


Samantha Consiglio


MaryKate Drayna


Alexa Farrell


Natalie Hartwig


Karissa Homar


Katie Homar


Tyler Johnson


Jon Jones


Amanda Kerr


Tom Koth


Kellie Kuehl


Jonathan LaMack


Sharon Lane


Kylee Manser


Shelby Mellantine


Stacy Mellantine


Alivia Nettesheim


Bret Neumann


Regan Nugent


Beth O'Brien


Esther O'Brien


Holly Penzkover


Madison Penzkover


Macy Peterson


Paxtyn Robarge


Macy Sarder


John Sindic


Shawn Spellman


Jessica Surprenant


Isabelle Szerenyi


Jim Volden


Capri Whiteley


Erin Wilson-Xayaosa


Production Staff 


Katie Danner

Stage Manager

Debi Mumford

Music Director / Orchestration Sequencer

Jacob Sudbrink



Scenic Designer/Master Carpenter

A.J. Simon

Costume Designer

Dana Brzezinski

Lighting Designer

Aaron Schmidt

Sound Designer

Aaron Schmidt

Properties Designer

Jon Danner

Video and PPT Editor

David Carter

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

‘Candy Canes’ will raise your holiday spirit

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
December 8, 2011

WAUKESHA - The Waukesha Civic Theatre has once again put its creative talents together to present "Candy Canes and Holiday Carols." Though it is basically the same show as the previous two years, there have been some changes, and all the components seem to work together more smoothly each year. The scene changes take less valuable time, and the colorful projected images and interim music fill the gaps nicely.

Thirty-six participants contribute their lively energies, a third of them for the first time to WCT, which is heartening. Community theaters should engage all comers. Being on stage, memorizing lines, songs, movements, working with others - all worthwhile activities, especially for children. One could feel and hear the audience reactions to the performances of their own little darlings. That was another show in itself.

A glistening stage set devised by A.J. Simon, a plethora of clever costumes designed by Dana Brzezinski, good lighting and sound choices by Aason J. Schmidt and able direction by Katie Danner and Jacob Sudbrink spelled success as we re-visited some of our favorite Christmas carols and stories.

A few treasured characters included The Grinch, Santa’s elves, Charlie Brown, the Crachit family, Scrooge, Rudolph, Frosty and the Abominable Snowman, an ominous presence that the children loved screaming at.

Nicely rendered tunes included "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree," by Alexa Farrell, Kellie Kuehl and Esther O'Brien, and "Perfect Christmas Night," by Erin Wilson-Xayosa, Shawn Spellman, Jessica Hancock and Jessica Surprenant. The songs gave some of the teenagers in the cast a chance to shine.

Some of the solos by the children were precious. Alivia Nettesheim aced "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," and Regan Nugent amused us with her rendition of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."

"The Carol of the Bells" was the loveliest of the ensemble numbers, and I wondered why there weren’t more numbers using harmonies, since the group really sounded quite melodious together. Surprenant, who has a spectacular voice, led the group. The inclusion of a Hawaiian carol was an unexpected new addition.

The older gentlemen who added a lot of spice to the show were Tom Koth, who was an impressive Grinch; John A. Sindic, as a spirited Heat Miser and Mr. Bailey; and Jim Volden, who played Scrooge and Sam the Snowman. All played their roles with fervor.

Giving some background on some of the carols was informative and interesting, and the nuanced reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was quite lovely. There wasn’t a flaw in the entire rendition. Shawn Spellman’s solo on "Christmas Eve" provided a nice contrast with its more adult themes. Her voice was a bit weak, but her sincerity moved us.

All in all, a good vehicle for getting us in the mood amid the hectic obligations of our lives.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2011

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WCT's holiday show packs lots of charm

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
Dec. 6, 2011

There are many delightful ways to enjoy Christmas. Food, family, even shopping can be enjoyable under the right circumstances.

But for most of us, it wouldn't be the holiday season without those wonderful once-a-year sounds and stories.

If you're short on time this time of year, you can pack all those familiar stories and songs into a couple hours at Waukesha Civic Theatre's "Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols."

The show, created by WCT's Managing Artistic Director John Cramer, is in its third year and continues to be full of fun and fancy.

This year's show was tighter than in years past … everyone was on their mark and ready to go with confident dance steps and smiles that spread to the last row at the dress rehearsal.

"Happy Holidays" and "It's the Holiday Season" opened the show nicely with bounce and enthusiasm. A.J. Simon's set of decorated trees on stylized presents and a huge lit garland above and on the side of the stage gave the performers, dressed in black and white (more colorful costumes appeared in the second half), a festive environment. A large screen on the back of the stage displayed scenes and pages of sheet music for each of the numbers.

The show included songs of the season, with introductions containing lots of interesting information - such as "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" is the most reprinted editorial in the English language - and snippets of familiar seasonal shows such as "It's a Wonderful Life."

The highlight of the show, however, was the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which just seems to get better every year. Tom Koth again took on one of the season's nastiest villains (there are several in the show) and was a real hit. Jon Jones confronted the Grinch with the holiday song with the most odious lyrics ("toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce"?) in a really fun piece.

The show missed some of the really exceptional soloists from last year's show, but made up for it with some nice ensemble numbers. Alexa Farrell, Kellie Kuehl and Esther O'Brien danced and sang a very cool "Rockin' Around the Christmas tree," while Jessica Suprenant led a jazzy "A Perfect Christmas Night" with Jessica Hancock, Esther O'Brien and Erin Wilson-Xayaosa. Suprenant came back with other ensemble members to lead a spirited version of "Carol of the Bells."

A good addition to this year's show - and adding some cultural variety - was the Merry Christmas from Hawaii segment, featuring a graceful hula to "Mele Kalikimaka" with guitar and mandolin accompaniment."

Another new number featured Tyler Johnson as Charlie Brown and Macy Sarder as Lucy in Charlie Brown Christmas, in which Lucy plays the sidewalk "shrink," complete with a sign of her rate of 5 cents.

Katie Homar was really fun to watch as the ditsy Professor Hinkle - a part Paul Burkard handled so well in the past - and was equally effective as Alice Cratchit and Mrs. Santa Claus.

Bret Neumann's quick delivery worked well as the head elf in We Are Santa's Elves, but not as Bob Cratchit in the "A Christmas Carol" portion.

While the Grinch tried to steal Christmas in his portion of the show, the children really did steal the show. The purity of sound that can only come from youthful voices made "Jolly Ol' St. Nicholas" ring true. The children's voices were also lovely in "Silent Night" and the sign language in the final verse was well-delivered.

Besides the very merry stage decorations, the entire theater was dressed to the nines for the holidays, including the lobby and restrooms (although I can't speak for the men's). Even the water cooler niche had some sparkle.

So if you have time for only one show this year, make it a festive, merry event. It doesn't get more festive and merry than this!

Volunteer of the Production - Heidi Consiglio

Heidi was an invaluable asset to the cast and crew of the show. She came to all of the rehearsals and performances, helped maintain order backstage, ensured that the child actors were onstage when they needed to be there, and helped the kids with their costumes. One cast member said "She works very hard and goes out of her way to be helpful."