Father Of The Bride

By Caroline Francke

Directed by Mary Rynders

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

Rhonda Trickey

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.


David Abresch

Red, Furniture Mover

Phillip Alonge

Pete, Furniture Mover

Sylvie Arnold

Cynthia, Pulitski’s Assistant / Telegram Boy

Evelyn Barta

Buzz Taylor

Colleen Glatzel

Miss Pulitski

Andrew Gratke

Andre, Buckingham Caterer

Brandon C. Haut

Buckley Dunstan

Katie Homar

Ellie Banks

Jessica Kennedy

Kay Banks

Kevin Koehne

Mr. Massoula

Tony Kolp

Ben Banks

Stephanie LaChance

Peggy Swift

Brittany Meister

Miss Bellamy

Kirk Rodriguez

Joe, Circulation Expert

Anna Schamens

Maxie, Tim’s Florist

Mike Shelby

Stanley Banks

Christian Strutz

Tommy Banks

Rhonda Trickey


Production Staff 

Director / Set Decorator

Mary Rynders

Stage Manager

Jennifer Allen

Scenic Designer / Master Carpenter

Jeff Smerz

Costume Coordinator

Christine Birt

Properties Designer

Shawn Spellman

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Keith Handy

Assistant Director

Anne Matthews

Set Construction Crew

Kirk Rodriguez
Brett Smerz
Jennifer Smerz

Light and Sound Crew

Kimberly Fudali

Just about anybody can relate to 'Father of the Bride'

Beloved remake well done by WCT
By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
June 12, 2015

WAUKESHA — "Father of the Bride," which was popularized in two films, one starring Spencer Tracy (1950) and the other Steve Martin (1991), also ended up as a stage play adapted from the novel by Edward Streeter (1949).

It has enjoyed longevity because of the extravagances of weddings and the expenses incurred by the fathers of brides. It also touches upon a father’s giving up his darling daughter to another man, often a difficult task. Without a very strong actor as the father, this story wouldn’t fly.

Not to worry. The featured talented actor, Mike Shelby, is assuredly up to the task as the beleaguered father in the present production at the Waukesha Civic Theatre. He is absolutely perfect, more than capable of conveying all the emotions necessary to depict the conflicted parent.

The story opens at the breakfast table where Stanley is snarling, Ellie is placating, Ben and Tommy, the two brothers, are offering their observations, and Kay, the beloved daughter, makes her grand entrance in one of many gorgeous outfits straight from the 1950s. Rumor has it that Kay has found the man she wants to marry, and everyone in the family is reacting to the news of Kay’s and Buckley’s upcoming union. The stage is set. We immediately surmise the type of characters that will comprise this scenario, and we can already sense the humor and the clashes that will inevitably ensue. We also get a glimpse of the maid, someone we will enjoy watching.

The last significant character to arrive is Buckley, a gangly looking creature who is sincere but a bit on the nerdy side, a rather odd coupling to be sure. Stanley is very critical of him, thinking as many fathers do, that no one is worthy of his daughter. Buckley is shy, unsure of himself, but madly in love with Kay. That he’s sure of.

What initially starts out as the small, unobtrusive, inexpensive wedding that Buckley desires soon snowballs into a grand affair, even though Stanley offers his future son-in-law $1,500 to elope. The living room and the basement soon fill up with many unneeded gifts; the roster of attendants continues to mushroom; the shopping sprees increase; the wedding planners, caterers, florists, photographers, stylists flow into the formula; and soon Stanley is fearing for his financial survival.

Meanwhile we’re chuckling away at the clever characterizations, the truth in the events, and the wear and tear on all the relationships in the story, especially the one between Kay and Buckley and the crucial one between Kay and her father.

Kudos to the entire cast and to the excellent direction afforded by Mary Rynders, the posh set by Jeff Smerz, the wonderful costume choices made by Shawn Spellman. Standouts in the cast include Mike Shelby as Stanley, Katie Homar as Ellie, Jessica Kennedy as Kay, Brandon C. Haut as Buckley, Rhonda Trickey as Delilah, Christian Strutz as Tommy and Kevin Koehne as Mr. Massoula.

You will enjoy this if you’re a daughter, a parent or anyone connected to our cultural customs around the rituals of marriage.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre ends season with a perfect marriage

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
June 9, 2015

A young woman in love is a beautiful sight. That same woman on her wedding day is even more beautiful.

Jessica Kennedy plays that part in Waukesha Civic Theatre's latest offering, "Father of the Bride," to perfection in bookend scenes. Everything that come in between is just as delightful.

As Kay Banks, the daughter of Stanley and Ellie Banks (Mike Shelby and Katie Homar), Kennedy breezes down the stairs to the family breakfast table in the opening scene like she's floating on a cloud. It is clear she's in love. It's clear because Kennedy oozes that feeling out of every pore as her two brothers, Tommy (Christian Strutz) and Ben (Tony Kolp), and her parents quietly enjoy their breakfast.

Quietly, until Dad begins questioning Kay on the source of her affection, Buckley Dunston (Brandon Haut). Kay rapidly deflects her dad's verbal onslaughts. The whole scene is pantomimed with great glee as a boxing match by Tommy.

It is a wonderfully done scene, which sets the stage for the rest of the show. The seeds of the play are sown. Dad sees a big, expensive wedding looming. As he begins contemplating this financial hit, he muses, "Take my own economic life and squeeze it to death with my own hands."

When the family meets Buckley, Dad likes his idea of getting married in some "ivy-covered church" he and Kay might happen across on their travels. Kay agrees that she wants a small wedding, but not that small. She promises Buckley that the guest list won't surpass 50.

That point leads to all sorts of contention and hilarity as each family member lobbies for a list of invitees, making Kay's promise seem impossible to keep. And if the guest list isn't enough to cause a "civil war," as Miss Bellamy, Stanley's secretary who has been engaged to handle such details, says, there are other daily annoyances for the family. There is the barrage of phone calls related to the wedding, as well as a steady stream of wedding gifts that leaves the family living room filled with gleaming silver and boxes piled high.

When the big day finally arrives, there are the usual mishaps, but nothing to turn the charming show into a comical farce.

Instead, the show is filled with wonderful, heartwarming scenes and lots of opportunities for even small roles to have an impact.

Kennedy's Kay is the key. She infuses so much life into every scene you just can't wait for her to appear on stage. She displays all the emotion you'd expect from a bride-to-be — staunchly defending her man, lighting up when Buckley walks in the door and melting into his arms, arguing irrationally with Buckley as the wedding nears. Her fiery personality and poise are remindful of a young Katharine Hepburn.

As the dad, Shelby also manages a roller coaster of emotions. His man-to-man talk with a downtrodden Buckley is nicely done. "You talked like a man and she talked like a woman and neither of you knew what the other was talking about," he tells Buckley after their argument.

Haut, who played Curly in WCT's "Oklahoma!" a couple years ago, is a good match for Kay. He has a very sincere and likable quality, as well as a very deep and clear voice.

I loved the bouncy portrayal of the youthful Tommy by Christian Strutz, who really puts his character out there with big motions and a big voice, adding lots of energy to his scenes.

But perhaps the most memorable performance is that of the wedding planner, Mr. Massoula, by Kevin Koehne. He waltzes into the Banks' staid lives with his hands dancing and his French accent lilting like a song. The withering looks he casts at Stanley and Ellie when they reject his suggestions are priceless.

This is a great cast from top to bottom, with small roles getting big treatment such as Brittany Meister's Miss Bellamy and Colleen Glatzel's Miss Pulitski, Kay's dressmaker.

Director Mary Rynders had all performers in high gear for opening night. The set featured an effective gray and white palette for the Banks' substantial home, while lighting kept everything crystal clear.

All the show's clever dialogue was crisply delivered by performers and executed by sound designer Keith Handy.

And what better way to end WCT's 2014-15 season than on the upbeat note of a beautiful wedding!

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 - Rhonda Trickey

Rhonda is the definition of a dedicated cast member, helping out wherever she could. She was not only great on stage, but she assisted the women with hair and makeup, picked out costume pieces, and wrapped many of the countless wedding gifts used in the show. Rhonda was always a positive energy and showed great compassion not only for her fellow cast members, but for acting itself. Her kind and professional demeanor made the show a very enjoyable experience.