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Third place finisher at the 2013 American Association of Community Theatre National Festival with our production of Cradle and All

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Take a look at how we make the news!

Read our Winter 2017-2018 Newsletter


WHC Supports Central Wisconsin Play Reading Series

Dozens of actors from Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point and Marshfield will take to the stage to present a six-part play reading series dedicated to the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The series will be held on six consecutive Sunday afternoons at cultural venues across Central Wisconsin.

The series, which received a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and is organized by Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre, will begin on January 7 at 1:00 pm at the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre main stage, with a reading of Ibsen’s folk-lore tale, “Peer Gynt.” It will conclude with a fully staged production of one of the greatest works in world theatre, “A Doll’s House”, which was revived in London and on Broadway, and was the subject of last year’s Tony-award winning production “A Doll’s House, Part 2”.

“We are excited to bring the works of this master playwright to our audiences, and to use the series as an opportunity to bring together actors and audiences from across Central Wisconsin,” Ellen Roeseler, executive director of Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre, said.

“Ibsen was the father of modern theatre, and his works remain as relevant today – 150 years later – as they were when he wrote them,” project director Cathy Meils said. “It’s probably the reason that Ibsen is the second most produced playwright in the world, after Shakespeare.” 

The Wisconsin Humanities Council, which also supported the theatre’s first play reading series in 2015, is the only grant program in the state devoted to the public humanities. Each of the play readings will be followed by a discussion with actors and audience members, accompanied by Norwegian refreshments.

The dates and locations for the series are:
January 7, 1:00 pm at Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre main auditorium, “Peer Gynt”
January 14, 1:00 pm at UW-Stevens Point Studio Theatre (Noel Fine Arts Center), “The Wild Duck”
January 21, 1:00 pm at UW-Marshfield Helen Laird Theatre, “An Enemy of the People”
January 28, 1:00 pm at Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre studio theatre, “Rosmersholm”
February 4, 1:00 pm at the Chestnut Center for the Arts, Marshfield, “Ghosts”
February 11, 1:00 pm at South Wood County Historical Museum, “Hedda Gabler”
For more information about the Ibsen series and the performances of “A Doll’s House” go to


Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Names Production Managers

  Christopher Powers Mike Treder

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre announced today that Christopher Powers and Michael Treder have been named Production Managers of the group. In this position, they will be responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of all productions and rentals at the theatre. The Production Managers are ultimately responsible for ensuring all aspects of the production are completed within budget, according to the designer’s and director’s wishes, and in time for the first public performance.

Christopher Powers has grown up in the Wisconsin Rapids area.  He has previously worked with both WRCT and Lincoln High School helping in their children’s theater programs.  Currently, he is the Unit Teen Director at the Boys & Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area where he spends his days helping the youth of the area grow.  Theater has always been a passion in his life, and he looks forward to giving back to the theater that started his love for the stage.

Michael Treder is currently a sophomore music education major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has been involved in the community theater since the age of 12, and has been involved with shows ever since. He has taken on the role of actor, crew member, director, and lighting designer. He has even performed professionally as the role of "Seymour" in Little Shop of Horrors as part of the American Gothic Performing Arts Festival. WRCT has given him so much, so he's excited to give back and take on the new role of Production Manager!

The WRCT Production Managers will report to Executive Director Ellen Roeseler. “We are very excited to have two people in this challenging role,” Roeseler said, “It’s a big job, and we were impressed with the enthusiasm, dedication, and experience Christopher and Michael bring to WRCT. Both of these guys grew up here. How great is it that they want to stay and give back to the community and this organization?”

For more information on WRCT youth programming, contact the WRCT office by phone at 715-421-0435 or visit the WRCT website at


Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Names New Youth Coordinator

  Stephanie Hoerth

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre announced today that Stephanie Hoerth will assume the position of Youth Coordinator of the group. In this position, she will be responsible for overseeing the various youth programs at WRCT to include the summer youth and HOPO productions, the annual haunted house, and the youth drama club.

Stephanie has been involved with WRCT since 2000, and has been a member of the board of directors since 2010. After directing the summer youth production for several years, she and co-founder Gretchen Powers launched the WRCT HOPO summer youth workshop, modeled after Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre. Stephanie has been involved with HOPO since 2010, and was the previous leader of the Youth Drama Club. She has worked extensively both on- an off-stage for both main stage and youth productions, and helped organize the first haunted house. Stephanie was also part of the 2013 AACTFest team, which placed 3rd at the national competition.

The WRCT Youth Coordinator will report to Executive Director Ellen Roeseler. “We’re excited to finally put this all together,” said Roeseler, “We want to assure a healthy, growing youth base; and the demand for more youth programs is great. Stephanie is the natural choice; she’s been doing most of this for years.” Stephanie is enthusiastic about the new role. “I’ve been involved with theatre since I was a child, and I haven’t lost my love for it,” she said, “I’m so happy and excited to be able to continue sharing my passion for it with so many kids over the years.”

For more information on WRCT youth programming, contact the WRCT office by phone at 715-421-0435 or visit the WRCT website at


Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION At Wisconsin AACTFest 2017

  Gregory Konz-Kryminski and Bevery Ross

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre came away with multiple awards this past weekend, including EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION for D.L. Colburn’s THE GIN GAME, and EXCELLENCE IN ACTING BY AN ACTRESS for cast member Beverly Ross. Other WRCT team members include Gregory Konz-Krzyminski, actor; Cathy Meils, Director; Don Matthews, Stage Manager and Sound; Ellen Roeseler, lights; and Gavin Giese, technician.

The festival was held in Stevens Point and featured performances of seven statewide community theatres competing for the chance to advance to the five-state regional competition in Champagne, IL at the end of April. The Stevens Point Community theatre, cwACT, will advance as well. The competition culminates with nationals in June.

AACTFest is a bi-annual competition sponsored by the American Association of Community Theatres. AACT's theatre festivals are part of a multi-year process that culminates in a national festival, held in odd-numbered years. Community theatres from AACT's 10 regions enter productions for adjudication and advancement from state to regional to national level. AACTFest is thus a celebration of theatre and a learning experience for those who take part. National festivals are major events -- typically more than 600 people participate, with performances of 12 productions, plus workshops and exhibitions. Awards are presented for outstanding work in performance, including production, acting, directing, lighting, sound, sets, costumes, and more.

Andy Gilbert, WRCT board president, said, “Congratulations to Cathy, her cast and crew who deserve a big thank you for their time and dedication to this project. This is the kind of recognition that makes our community attractive to potential businesses and residents. To be acknowledged as one of the best by our peers is both gratifying and encouraging. Thank you to everyone who supported this project. Congratulations as well to our friends up the road at cwACT. What great representation from Central Wisconsin!”

For more information on this news release, please contact Ellen Roeseler, Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Executive Director at 715-421-0425 or


Local Theatre Group Brings Back the 1940's

Fundraising Event Salutes WWII Shows for the Troops

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre’s third annual theme dinner will be held Thursday, August 11 at the WRCT auditorium in the Centralia Center. This year’s theme is “1940s Canteen,” and features a WWII salute to the troops. “It’s the 75th anniversary of Bob Hope’s first performance before the troops,” said Event Chair Amanda Meidl, “and we wanted to pay homage to his spirit and that of The Greatest Generation.” Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and guests will be treated to a scrumptious dinner created by Great Expectations. Other events include pre-show entertainment and fun after dinner with show to follow. “Peter Greyy is coming all the way from Seattle to emcee as Bob Crosby, assisted by our very own former Broadway performer, Joel Goodness as Bing Hope. It’s the first time these two will perform together, and I can’t wait to see it.”

Other entertainers include Ken Pelo, Amanda Meidl, the Lake Arrowhead Chorus, Two Left Feet, David Farmbrough, Michelle Newman, Lori Thompson, Maggie Dickinson, and the Sam Andrews Sisters – Julie Stoffel, Jill Joosten-Russell, Ann Hartley, and Melanie Kozlowski. The National Guard will present the colors, and Creepers Car Club will have period cars on display. “The evening will be so much fun,” says Amanda, “you can come in costume or not, but the important thing is to enjoy the celebration – laugh, sing along, buy some raffle tickets, eat some fantastic food, and contribute to a great cause at the same time.” Proceeds will go to support Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre programming. Tickets are $40 and include dinner and entertainment.

Bob Hope has been quoted as saying, “I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.” The WRCT 3rd Annual Theme Dinner is a great place to steer yourself on August 11. Call for reservations at 715-421-0435.

For more information on this news release, please contact Ellen Roeseler, Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Executive Director at 715-421-0425 or


Jensen Center Hosts Love Letters on February 6

As a prelude to the upcoming Valentine’s Day, the Lettie W. Jensen Community Center is hosting Love Letters on Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center’s theater. The play is presented by veteran members of the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theater (WRCT), Jody Steinke and Michael Barrett and is under the direction of Cathy Meils, WRCT Director.

The play has been in near constant production in the U.S. and around the world since it first opened on Broadway in 1989. Written by notable playwright A.R. Gurney, the play is designed as a series of letters written over the span of 50 years by two childhood friends, following them through each important stage of their lives. The author requires that the play be read (not memorized) and be staged with two actors sitting onstage. The simplicity of the production, the richness of the characters, and the beauty of the play have attracted actors and audience alike such as; William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Christopher Walken, Robert Wagner, Carol Burnett, Jeff Daniels, James Earl Jones, Alan Alda, Hal Linden, and Candice Bergen to name a few.

First performed by WRCT in 2015, it earned rave review, doses of laughter and a few tears. Excited to mount a second production, the comfort and location of the Jensen Center Theater allows them to reach an even wider audience. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors/students and group rates are available. They may be purchased on-line at, or by calling or stopping in at the Jensen Center during office hours (Mon-Thr 8-4:30, Fri 8-noon) 715-824-5202.


Wisconsin Humanities Council Supports Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Chekhov Play Reading Workshop

WRCT will offer a series of five lectures and play readings of the five full-length plays by Anton Chekhov

The Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre has received a $2,000 grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council for their 40th anniversary event “Sundays Afternoons with Anton”, a five-part play reading workshop taking place January 10 – April 10, 2016, in Wisconsin Rapids. The series will serve to educate both participants and audiences, with lectures providing historical, social, political and critical information on the times, life, and work of Russian author Anton Chekhov who transformed dramatic literature.

The play readings will take place on a series of five Sunday afternoons in January – April, 2016 and will be free of charge to the public. Refreshments themed to each play will be served. Each presentation will begin with a lecture focusing on a specific aspect, including Russian society, Russian history, Russian theatrical literature, Chekhov and Stanislavski, and Chekhov’s life. The series is presented as a companion piece to a production of the Tony-award winning play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” to be presented by WRCT in May 2016.

“Anton Chekhov was a seminal figure in the emergence of modern theatre,” says Cathy Meils, Workshop Director, “Chekhov’s works exemplify the idea of the Slavic soul, and hee found his counterpart in the actor/director Konstantin Stanislavski (the Stanislavski Method), who literally transformed acting into a style he described as spiritual realism.” The workshops and plays are scheduled as follows. All will be on Sunday afternoons from 1-4, and all are free to the public. January 10 – “Ivanov,” January 31 – “Uncle Vanya,” February 28 – “The Seagull,” April 3 – “Three Sisters,” and April 10 – “The Cherry Orchard.” The workshop will be held in the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre auditorium in Wisconsin Rapids.

“Receiving the support and endorsement of the Wisconsin Humanities Council allows us to offer this program free of charge to the public,” said Ellen Roeseler, WRCT Executive Director. “Anyone who appreciates theatre today pays homage to the work of Chekhov and Stanislavski. Providing this historical backdrop is an opportunity we are proud to be able to offer thanks to their support.”

For more information, see the WRCT website at or contact the WRCT office at 715-421-0435. For more information on this news release, please contact Ellen Roeseler, Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Executive Director at 715-421-0425 or edwrct@wc

The Wisconsin Humanities Council is a leading statewide resource for librarians, teachers, museum educators and civic leaders, who drive entertaining and informative programs using history, culture and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone. The Wisconsin Humanities Council also awards more than $175,000 a year over seven rounds of grants to local organizations piloting humanities programming. For more information on Wisconsin Humanities Council, visit or connect on Facebook at Council or Twitter at @WiHumanities.


U.S. Bank Foundation Supports ARTi Gras Festival

Grant Brings Theatre, History, Music, and Poetry to Winter Arts and Culture Festival

The arts and culture festival ARTi Gras has received a $2,500 grant from the U.S. Bank Foundation for the 2016 festival taking place March 10-19, 2016, in Wisconsin Rapids. Amy Gust of U.S. Bank in Wisconsin Rapids presented the check to Cathy Meils, ARTi Gras Festival Chair and Andy Gilbert, President of Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre, the fiscal agent for ARTi Gras.

Each year, the U.S. Bank Foundation provides cash contributions to nonprofit organizations in grant priority areas of education, economic opportunity, and artistic and cultural enrichment. In 2014, the U.S. Bank Foundation provided more than $23.5 million in grant funding. “The Foundation would like to raise awareness of its charitable giving within the community,” said Wisconsin Rapids Branch Manager Amy Gust, “and we are excited to be part of the ARTi Gras 2016 festival.”

ARTi Gras is a 10-day festival of the arts taking place March 10-19 in Wisconsin Rapids and Central Wisconsin, involving collaboration with area arts and culture institutions, and headquartered at Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre. ARTi Gras covers the entire spectrum of the arts, from literary to visual to performing, and involves both guest artists – including international artists – and local artists, with a variety of programming reaching all segments of the population. The festival will expand considerably in 2016, encompassing a longer calendar schedule, more events (including its first international performers), and more venues in a wider geographical area.

“Receiving the support and endorsement of the U.S. Bank Foundation is so vital to the festival,” said Cathy Meils, ARTi Gras Festival Director. “Because of this kind of sponsorship, ARTi Gras can bring the community an exciting array of arts while keeping the cost of ticket prices low. The U.S. Bank sponsorship dollars will enable us to bring in groups from outside the area, which we could not do otherwise.”

ARTi Gras is unique to the State of Wisconsin and has already received grants from the WI Department of Tourism, the Wisconsin Arts Board and the Wisconsin Humanities Council. “The festival is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Andy Gilbert, President of Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre, “and this year’s events will be better than ever. Thank you, U.S. Bank Foundation, for helping to support our local community.”

For more information on ARTi Gras, see the WRCT website at or contact the WRCT office at 715-421-0435. For more information on the U.S. Bank Foundation, visit their website at

For more information on this news release, please contact Ellen Roeseler, Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre Executive Director at 715-421-0425 or


“ARTi GRAS” Festival on Track for Big Year With Tourism Grant

Tourism Secretary presents $10,000 grant to help expand popular art festival

After two successful years, Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre looks to grow its “ARTi Gras” art festival with help from a Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The 10-day event will feature a wide variety of artistic programming, including literary and visual performances and artists from around the world. The $10,000 JEM Grant will allow Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre to expand the festival’s venues, event schedule and performers.   

“ARTi Gras is a festival on the rise that celebrates the arts and shines a light on cultural organizations in Central Wisconsin,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. “We are proud to support events like ARTi Gras that showcase the state as an arts destination and create a positive economic impact in the community.”

In fiscal 2015, the Department funded 59 Joint Effort Marketing projects, awarding a total of more than $1.1 million. Visitor expenditures driven by the marketing from these projects will exceed $31 million. In 2014, the tourism economy in Wisconsin totaled $18.5 billion, a more than five percent increase from 2013. Total business sales in Wood County topped $166 million in 2014, supporting 2,166 jobs and $11 million in state and local taxes.

“We are very grateful to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for this recognition of our young and growing festival,” said Andy Gilbert, President Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre. “The JEM grant will help us build our audiences and take the festival to the next level.”

The JEM Grant will contribute to new marketing materials including broadcast, online and print, advertising. The new campaign targets surrounding cities and larger metro areas such as Wisconsin Dells, Madison, Eau Claire, La Crosse and Green Bay. This year’s festival will include more than 20 scheduled events across Central Wisconsin as well as TV broadcasts centered on established guest artists.

JEM grant funds are available to non-profit organizations for the promotion of Wisconsin tourism events and destinations. The state can fund up to 75 percent of a project's first-year advertising and marketing costs, and provide support for second- and third-year projects with decreasing amounts for funding until projects become self-sustaining. For information on the JEM Program and application materials, visit

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the State as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found