Leading Ladies

By Ken Ludwig

Directed by Dustin J. Martin
March 4 to 20, 2016

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

Lauren Heinen

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.


Nicholas Callan Haubner


Lauren Heinen


Andrew Kelly


Kevin Koehne


Noah Maguire


Jim Mallmann


Denise Meagher


Tanya Tranberg


Production Staff 


Dustin J. Martin

Stage Manager

Katie Danner

Master Carpenter / Scenic Designer

Michael Talaska

Costume Designer

Dana Brzezinski

Lighting Designer

Scott Fudali

Sound Designer

Keith Handy

Properties Designer

Shawn Spellman

Wig Master

Anthony Mackie


Marann Curtis

Set Construction Crew

Dave Binney
Barbara Talaska
Becky Talaska
Patrick Talaska

Spotlight Operator

Phillip Alonge

'Leading Ladies' leaves them laughing at Waukesha Civic Theatre

By JULIE McHALE - TimeOut Theater Critic
March 10, 2016

WAUKESHA - We’ve seen some of Ken Ludwig’s comedies before. "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Moon over Buffalo" are two community theater favorites.

This time "Leading Ladies" takes the stage, and it’s just as zany as the other two. The popular British playwright is keeping a host of audiences throughout the world laughing at his outlandish farces.

The genre always requires a good sense of timing and movement, and often many costume changes. An element of slapstick is also part of the crazy mix. The fine cast chosen by director Dustin J. Martin met all the challenges and seemed to be enjoying themselves in the process.

The story centers around two Shakespearean actors who are down on their luck when they spot a newspaper article about a rich woman who is seeking her long-lost nephews in order to share her inheritance of $3 million with them and her niece Meg. The beleaguered actors, Leo and Jack, decide to impersonate Aunt Florence’s heirs. To complicate their ruse, they soon discover that it is two nieces, not nephews, that are required to pull off the swindle.

Nicholas Callan Haubner and Kevin Koehne are suddenly transformed into Stephanie and Maxine, and quite the hilarious metamorphosis it is, especially for Haubner, who is a man of substantial size.

When they arrive at their supposed cousin Meg’s house, they also meet Pastor Duncan, her greedy fiance; played by Andrew Kelly, who is convincing as the holy moocher, Aunt Florence, a feisty lady who keeps dying and resurrecting, her incompetent doctor, and Meg’s friend Audrey and her bumbling friend Butch.

Denise Meagher is wonderful as the rich, testy aunt; Jim Mallmann is convincing as the frustrated doctor; Noah Maguire is a credible misfit Butch, especially funny when he tries his hand at acting; Lauren Heinen is the bubbly ditz Audrey, who eventually becomes enamored with Jack; and Tanya Tranberg is credible as the besieged bride and wannabe actor.

Set designer Michael Talaska did a splendid job of providing varied environments for all the action.

The show was well-executed with an enthusiastic standing ovation that showed the audience was having almost as good a time as the actors were.

Review Title

By Reviewer Name
Posted: Month 16, 2012

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Waukesha Civic Theatre's 'Leading Ladies' puts comedy in forefront

By Marilyn Jozwik - WaukeshaNOW Theater Critic
March 11, 2016

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis — stars of the classic comedy movie "Some Like It Hot" — would be envious of Nicholas Callan Haubner and Kevin Koehne if they would have seen their opening night performances in Waukesha Civic Theatre's "Leading Ladies."

Haubner and Koehne play two struggling British Shakespearean actors who learn they could come into a fortune if they can act their way through the roles of their lifetime — they must convince a family they've never met that they are the long lost nieces of their wealthy dying "aunt."

Lemmon and Curtis also played cross-dressers who join an all-female band to avoid being exposed after witnessing a gang massacre. In both shows, the men — dressed as women — find themselves being attracted to women. In "Some Like It Hot," it was Marilyn Monroe. In "Leading Ladies," it's the niece of the wealthy aunt, Meg (Tanya Tranberg), and fiancée of her doctor's son, Audrey (Lauren Heinen). The men, dressed in drag, must keep their maleness in check to keep from being exposed and foil their plans.

Under the direction of Dustin J. Martin, Haubner and Koehne and the rest of the cast have pulled off this marvelous piece of theater. The success of the show, however, totally hinges on how well Haubner and Koehne can manage their two characters, and they do it with ease.

Women trouble
The scene is set at the home of Meg and her frail, but still feisty, Aunt Florence (Denise Meagher). Meg is engaged to Duncan (Andrew Kelly), a not-so-holy man of the cloth. Florence's doctor (Jim Mallmann) tends to the sickly lady in her home. Other frequent visitors to the home are the Doc's son, Butch (Noah Maguire) and his girlfriend, Audrey (Lauren Heinen).

Meg and Duncan are getting ready for their wedding in just a few days when Leo and Jack show up as Maxine and Stephanie, believing Aunt Florence has died and they will inherit a million dollars each.

The plot thickens when Meg tells Leo, while dressed as Maxine, that she's a big fan of Leo and a closet Shakespearean actor herself.

Maxine tells Meg that she's a friend of Leo's and arranges to have him direct her in a performance of "Twelfth Night," which has similar gender confusions as what is going on in the play.

In the meantime, Jack is falling for Audrey while in his Stephanie character.

Stephanie's looks of bottled up restraint as Audrey playfully hugs him are priceless.

Acting it out
As Stephanie Koehne's mugging and the outlandish poses he assumes in his new role as a woman are so remindful of Lemmon in "Some Like It Hot." His scene in which Stephanie is pursued by two men at once is one of the funniest, since the hilarious antics of another Ken Ludwig play, "Lend Me a Tenor."

But it is Haubner who really puts his two characters out there. He conveys Leo's desperation after another failed gig and then dives into his Maxine character with the flair of a diva. His and Koehne's performances are nothing short of remarkable.

Tranberg and Heinen as Meg and Audrey are the perfect foils to these two hucksters. I really enjoyed Heinen's first meeting with the two on the train, as an attendant on roller skates. Her character is the perfect blend of ditz and self-confidence. Tranberg, too, is most appealing and adept at the comedy which has her successfully jockeying among Leo, Maxine and Duncan.

Mallmann's Doc is nicely taciturn as he deals with the cantankerous Aunt Florence, in a fine comedic turn by Meagher.

The ending is a hilarious backward replaying of the entire show, similar to the "Lend Me a Tenor" finale.

Michael Talaska, master carpenter and scenic designer, has created a handsome set with an easy-on-the-eyes green background, substantial French doors and sturdy staircase to handle the activity in the farce.

Ludwig's hilarity and frenetic fun are showcased without disguise in this latest WCT offering.

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 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 - Lauren Heinen

Lauren was an absolute joy to work with during the run of Leading Ladies! She went above and beyond the call of duty, always willing to lend a helping hand. She catered an amazing dinner for the cast and crew over tech weekend. And she was incredibly reliable, consistently arriving early and staying late when needed for rehearsals and performances.