Civilian Conservation Corps Back to Work at Whitnall Park

Oct. 3, 2009

Civilian Conservation Corps Back to Work at Whitnall Park


Musical Theatre at Boerner Gardens Celebrates Legacy of 1930's Program


MILWAUKEE, WI— The “can-do” attitude of the historic Depression era is brought to life in Camp We-Kan-Tak-It, an original musical comedy created by Milwaukee Public Theatre and Voices Theater. The multi-media show about Wisconsin’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) will be performed in Milwaukee at the Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park, one of Wisconsin’s early CCC camp sites, on October 15 (for school groups) and at 2:00 and 7:00 pm on Friday, October 16 (public shows).


“We Can Take It” was the national slogan for the Civilian Conservation Corps, one of the well-known “alphabet soup” of public works programs created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC gave jobs to three million unemployed young men, brought relief to their families, and helped conserve America's natural resources.


Based on Wisconsin CCC camp newspapers, Camp We-Kan-Tak-It incorporates original photographs, drawings, songs, and stories from the 1930's, bringing to life the reality many young men faced during the Depression and emphasizing the positive environmental effects of the project. Audiences may discover a hidden legacy of family members who served in the CCC but never shared their stories. Post-show discussions with historians Michael Gordon (2 pm, Oct. 16) and John Gurda (7 pm, October 16) will give audiences additional opportunity to reflect on how this experience relates to contemporary environmental concerns.


Boerner Botanical Gardens is within Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners. Tickets are $8 in advance/$10 at the door/$5 children, seniors, and those with disabilities, with a 20% discount for groups of 10 or more. An optional dinner is available on Friday, October 16, at 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm for a separate fee; please contact Bartolotta’s directly at 414-525-5635. For show tickets and group sales contact MPT at 414-347-1685.


The play opens as Geezer and Smitty, two enrollees at Camp We-Kan-Tak-It, prepare songs and sketches for the camp‘s Entertainment Night. They share their experiences surviving the Great Depression and working to restore Wisconsin’s forests, express gratitude for the CCC wages which help their families, and express the good-hearted humor found in everyday camp life. Songs such as "CCC Wizard Oil," "Debate a Skunk," "Three Cheers for F.D.R." and "Hunt the Snipe" entertain while offering an historical perspective for comparison with the hard times facing America today.


Camp We-Kan-Tak-It is a collaboration of Rogers Keene, Mary Schueller, Barbara Leigh, David Peterson, Jim Pekol and Patrick Porten, and is co-directed by Rogers Keene and Patrick Porten. The show toured in September and October to venues around Wisconsin. An extensive resource guide, the play’s program, and a schedule are posted at


The project is partially funded through grants from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports public programs that engage the people of Wisconsin in the exploration of human cultures, ideas and values. Additional support comes from the Triskeles Foundation, the Plum Creek Foundation, the Wisconsin Arts Board with funding from the State of Wisconsin, the National Endowment for the Arts, Milwaukee County CAMPAC, the United Performing Arts Fund, and Milwaukee County Parks.


Milwaukee Public Theatre is a professional not-for-profit touring company that increases awareness of current social issues, promotes cultural diversity and provides healing arts resources. Voices Theater is a non-profit, grassroots community-based theater of human relations, which writes and produces original drama on issues of social concern.



Milwaukee Performances:

Friday, October 16, 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Boerner Botanical Gardens, Whitnall Park

9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners

Tickets: $8 advance/$10 at the door/$5 children, seniors, those with disabilities

20% discount for groups of 10 or more

Optional dinner catered by Bartolotta’s: Friday, October 16, 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm ; separate fee

Contact Bartolotta’s Restaurant: 414-525-5635


School shows: Thursday, October 15, 10:00 am and 12:30 pm; Friday, October 16, 10:00 am


For tickets contact MPT: 414-347-1685


This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Oak Creek announces open house for new Civic Center 04:15 PM

» Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players 12:10 PM

» Greendale to host annual 'A Dickens of a Christmas' downtown event Dec. 4 11:56 AM

» Wehr Nature Center Director receives Patriot Award from Department of Defense agency 11:10 AM

» The Prairie School to host event on gifted children 11/27

» Plans for Alyson Dudek ice skating center move forward with donation 11/25

» Missing Franklin man found dead on Nov. 24 near Oak Leaf Bike Trail 11/25

» Police identify body found near bike trail as missing Franklin man 11/25

» Oak Creek girls basketball team looks to dominate with depth 11/24

» Wisconsin DOT: South 27th Street is open for business during holiday season 11/24

» Meijer to provide food for Oak Creek's annual 'Evening of Blessings' 11/24

» Greendale School Board Academy to be held for prospective spring election candidates 11/24

» Franklin girls basketball team has talent, looks for depth 11/24

» Oak Creek pulls away late to beat Brookfield Central, 59-46 11/21

» Oak Creek 8th graders 'view the world' as journalists in writing unit, 4 essays to be posted online 11/19

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Franklin's $37 million budget has no tax change 11/18

» Rawson Avenue closure beginning Nov. 18 11/18

» Cudahy man found dead near hunting tree stand in Adams County 11/18

» Greendale trustees raise tax levy 1 percent, bump up budget by 45 percent to construct fire station 11/18

» Coming off good season, will Oak Creek football team dare to be great? 11/17

» Nine Oak Creek athletes sign letters of intent 11/17

» Franklin, Oak Creek swimmers finish well at state 11/17

» Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce to host social on Nov. 24 11/17

» Oak Creek Culver's to host annual Kids2Kids Toy Drive 11/16

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss


Local Business Directory