Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols

Book by John Cramer, Additional Material by Katie Danner,
Jes Sudbrink, and Jacob Sudbrink
Produced by special arrangement with Alleycat Enterprises, Inc.

Directed by Jes Sudbrink and Jacob Sudbrink
December 5 to 21, 2014

Read the Reviews:
Waukesha Freeman, Lake Country Reporter

Click on a photo to see a larger image

Photos By Carroll Studios Of Photography

Volunteer of the Production

Dan O'Brien

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.

Cast (In Alphabetical Order)  

Heat Miser

Jeff Barta

Amelia (Silver Bells Cast)

Joy Bartoli


Nathan Broege


Paul Burkard

Mrs. Claus

Lee Conrad

Young Amelia (Blue Christmas Cast)

Evie Evans

Young Melody (Blue Christmas Cast)

Marina Evans

Young Melody (Silver Bells Cast)

McKinley Evenson

Amelia (Blue Christmas Cast)

Alexa Farrell

Talent Show Emcee

Glen Fink

Grace (Blue Christmas Cast)

Karissa Homar


Elias Huber

Young Amelia (Silver Bells Cast)

Katie McCaskey


Denise Meagher


Nicole Morley

Melody (Silver Bells Cast)

Bella Portale

Melody (Blue Christmas Cast)

Amber Soik

Uncle Bob / Snow Miser

Jeff Stark

Santa Claus

Jim Volden

Grace (Silver Bells Cast)

Jenna Weinfurt


Marissa Welvang

Heat Miser Minions

Aidan Bagley
Anthony Bagley
Isaiah Delaney
Luke Lara

Snow Miser Minions

Evan Hansen
Max Huber
Tyler Johnson
Danny Muntz


Elizabeth Bagley
Ruth Caves
Erica Edquist
Glen Fink
Mary Melter
John Sindic

Blue Christmas Kids Ensemble

Ellie Evans
Keira Homar
Kylie Homar
Jenna Kahle
Nora Kahle
Paige Kahle
Kate Ketelhohn
Maggie Mueller
Anna Schamens
Emma Schoultz
Izzy Snyder
Abby Szolyga

Silver Bells Kids Ensemble

Sarah Albers
Lily Baranowski
Demi Dieringer
Maddie Dixon
Shaelyn Fett
Sydney Johnson
Allyson Kulinski
Jennifer Kulinski
Bryanna Madsen

Production Staff 

Director / Choreographer

Jes Sudbrink

Music Director

Jacob Sudbrink

Stage Manager

Jennifer Allen

Master Carpenter

Jeff Smerz

Costume Designer

Sallie Burkard

Sound Designer

Scott Fudali

Properties Designer

Susan Schoultz

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie

'Candy Canes' offers fabulous holiday songs

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
December 11, 2014

WAUKESHA - The Waukesha Civic Theatre is staging its traditional "Candy Canes" Christmas show for the sixth time.

Each year, this John Cramer creation, with some additional material by Jes and Jacob Sudbrink, is a little different from the one from the previous year. But some of the favorite traditional numbers, such as "O Holy Night," "Carol of the Bells" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas" remain on the roster, along with a few of the most amusing songs, such as "The Restroom Door Said Gentlemen," "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "Nuttin' for Christmas," that are thankfully retained for our entertainment.

This year, the new wrinkle is more focused on teenagers and their frequent squabbles, love interests and criticisms of their parents, especially their father's taste in Christmas sweaters. There were some memorable solos or duets by Alexa Farrell and Bella Portale ("Sisters"), Nicole Morley ("Perfect Christmas Night"), Nathan Broege ("Our First Christmas Together"), and Elias Huber and Marissa Welvang ("Winter Medley"). Usually girls are far ahead of boys in the vocal department in their teen years, but Broege and Huber certainly disproved that theory.

Soloist Erica Edquist delivered a soaring but nuanced rendition of "O Holy Night" and also led the melodic, well-paced "Carol of the Bells." Another euphonious ensemble was the clever union of several carols billed as "The Twelve Days of Christmas." That number was no small feat. It featured great coordination and many delightful surprises.

Young children always provide much of the joy of the holidays. Their spontaneity, unpredictability and exuberance are causes for celebration. The large gathering of youthful participants in this annual show is a tribute to Waukesha and the opportunities it provides for young performers.

The inclusion of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (Lily Baranowski), "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" (Sydney Johnson), and the Christmas Around the World medley all were well performed and enthusiastically received by adoring friends and relatives. Several small performers featured in the front row were especially appreciated for their contributions. Maddie Dixon and Max Huber are particularly fascinating to watch.

Several adults not as yet mentioned for their unique talents include the reliable Paul Burkard, Jeff Stark, Jacob Sudbrink and Jeff Barta. The entire ensemble of 55-plus cannot all be mentioned by name, but all deserve kudos for their coordinated efforts, beautifully assembled by director Jes Sudbrink. Her husband Jacob did the honors with musical direction. Costuming was masterful, thanks to the creativity of Sallie Burkard.

The only glitch in the whole production was the frequent, sometimes clunky, scene changes. In a show of many venues and short pieces, simpler is always better. An audience can use its imagination with a few suggestive clues. The rhythm and flow are more important than realism.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre's holiday show is full of surprises

By Marilyn Jozwik
Dec. 8, 2014

Fresh as new fallen snow, the 2014 version of Waukesha Civic Theatre's holiday variety show, "Candy Cane Tales and Holiday Carols," opened Friday, Dec. 5, to an appreciative crowd.

Each year, WCT tweaks the show with new numbers, while retaining some delicious leftovers from the previous year. This show, directed by Jes Sudbrink, seemed a long way from the Bumble, Scrooge and many other characters that inhabited earlier shows.

After featuring holiday characters and familiar Christmas stories and trivia for the first few years after its 2009 debut, the show has used a family holiday scene to introduce segments of songs the last three years.

This year's family consisted of Paul Burkard as Dad (for the third straight year), Denise Meagher as Mom, and their two daughters, Melody and Amelia. In the first act, McKinley Evenson played the young Melody and Katie McCaskey played the young Amelia, while Bella Portale and Alexa Farrell played the girls as teenagers in Act II. The four girls' parts have alternated during the run of the show and were played by Joy Bartoli, Marina Evans, Amber Soik and Evie Evans in other shows.

This year, the family took center stage, rather than being off to the side. That move gave the show a clear focal point, as the family conversations created segues into dozens of holiday songs, most on the light side.

There were a number of highlights in the show, most notably Erica Edquist's exquisite rendering of "O Holy Night." Matching the marvelous performance was her beautiful blue glimmery gown, which was even more elegant when she stepped in front of the black curtain.

Throughout the show, the closed curtain was used to separate scenes, bringing the action to the front of the stage while set pieces were changed, keeping the show full steam ahead like Santa on Christmas Eve.

The black background also made Sallie Burkard's wonderful costumes pop, like in the opening "Snow Miser" number featuring Jeff Stark and his minions in their shimmery silver outfits. It also served as a backdrop for an eerie version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."

Act II opened with another classy piece, as Edquist led a small ensemble in a lovely rendition of "Carol of the Bells."

Elizabeth Bagley, Denise Meagher and Mary Melter in Andrews Sisters harmony really rocked in Barry Manilow's arrangement of "Jingle Bells" with John Sindic.

In "Call Me Claus," Jacob Sudbrink, the show's music director, let loose for a jazzy, soulful "Call Me Claus," as he answered McCaskey's Amelia in her own snappy version of "Zat You, Santa Claus?"

It was the youth ensemble, featuring a couple dozen school-aged kids, which brought the heartiest applause from an audience comprised of many of the youngsters' families and friends. The kids belted out the familiar holiday tunes with gusto, adding gestures and simple steps in a variety of interpretations.

Notable additions to this year's show were a couple of numbers from Disney's animated hit "Frozen" — "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" and "In Summer" — with Burkard playing the Olaf character while the kids in wonderful, vibrantly colored outfits frolicked around him.

But the best was saved for last with the clever mash of holiday tunes incorporated into "The Twelve Days of Christmas," ending with the melody of Toto's "Down in Africa."

It was a fun way to end a fun evening filled with holiday spirit.

Student rate is available for children and any patron with a current student ID. Senior rate applies to all patrons 60 years or older. Military rate is available for any active or reserve member of the military with a current military ID.

Military rate is available for any patron with a valid current Military ID.

For our "Pay What You Can" performances, patrons can buy tickets for that show on the day of the performance at whatever price their budget will allow.

Subscriber rate is available to any subscriber for unlimited additional tickets outside their package.

10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Educational Group Rate is only available for all educational groups and Boy and Girl Scout troops. 10 ticket minimum per performance required.

Volunteer of the Production - Dan O'Brien

As a parent of a child actor, Dan was extremely helpful to the show. He volunteered to be at every single performance. Being a kid wrangler for a show with this many kids is a difficult task. Dan did it with a smile on his face and he always made sure that the kids were where they needed to be at all times.