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Before there were spotlights and solos… there were homilies and hymns!

Written by: Anna Olson

The Byng Community Theater was not always home to ASPI and their theatrical performances. The building used to be St. Louis Catholic Parish and its history goes all the way back to 1909.

It all began as a mission church of St. Patrick’s in Stiles. Father Philip St. Louis, who was pastoring in Stiles at the time, came together with 13 other families to begin organizing the first Catholic Parish in Abrams. In 1910, services were being held in a hall above the general store and it wasn’t until the fall of 1911 that the church on Maple was built. Unfortunately, on Sunday February 6th, 1927, a chimney fire destroyed the church. But the congregation came together and rebuilt the church, and in August 1927 it was blessed by the Bishop of Green Bay.

In August 2003, ASPI held their first show, Emmerella, at the Abrams Town Hall. Then in 2007, ASPI found their future home, the St. Louis Church. The building was acquired and the crew was busy making updates to create their theater. This included remodeling to create a stage, a backstage area, and a concession stand.

On October 24th , 2008, ASPI held their first production, Unwrapped, in their new theater.

When you walk into the theater, you can still see and feel the history of days gone by. But the theater is constantly looking for ways to improve and maintain its valuable presence in the community. Recent updates include a fresh paint job; a new and improved control booth for sound, lighting, and projecting; the addition of modular set booms (see past blog post); and more future updates to be announced.

Come and check out the theater on August 4th-6th and the 11th-13th for ASPI’s latest production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS. Tickets are on sale NOW! For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to www.abramstheater.com or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

 

Pictured:

Top left- the old paint job, remember the stars?

Top right- St. Louis Catholic Church mass, date unknown

Bottom- the new paint job completed June 2017

 

 

She said what? : A Steel Magnolias Trivia Contest

ASPI is proud to present their production of Steel Magnolias, where you can take a trip to Truvy’s beauty shop and visit with six resilient women as they experience life’s ups and downs with laughter, tears, and the power of friendship.

Meet the ladies:

M’Lynn- She is the family matriarch who cares deeply for the well-being of her family.

Shelby- She is the daughter of M’Lynn and is considered the prettiest girl in town.

Truvy- The beauty shop owner who has a personality with style and sass.

Annelle- The young newcomer who is looking to find a fresh start.

Clairee- The proper yet witty wife of the former mayor.

Ouiser- While she is a wealthy curmudgeon, she is equal parts eccentric and lovable.

Instructions for the contest: 

Whether you are an avid fan or just meeting the ladies for the first time, here is your chance to score 2 tickets to a performance of ASPI’s production of Steel Magnolias. To enter, submit your answers to which character said which quote in the form below.  All correct entries will be entered for a chance to win 2 free tickets to a performance of your choosing.  The drawing will take place June 22nd!

  1. Because I have a strict philosophy that I have stuck to for fifteen years… There is no such thing as natural beauty.
  2. Pink is my signature color.
  3. A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.
  4. We can sell T-shirts saying “I Slapped Ouiser Boudreaux!” Hit her!
  5. I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.
  6. Today is very special. And my work tends to be too poofy when I’m nervous. Does your dress have to go over your head?
  7. As somebody always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me.
  8. I’m not crazy. I’ve just been in a very bad mood for forty years.

You must correctly guess the author of the quotes for your chance to win.  Enter your answers in the form below!

Are you interested in being a part of the show?  Auditions will be held June 6th or 7th 6pm-8pm at The Byng Community Theater.  Backstage volunteers are also needed- please contact the theater if you would like to be involved!

Steel Magnolias will be presented August 4-6 and August 11-13.  TICKETS GO ON SALE SATURDAY JUNE 3rd!!   For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to www.abramstheater.com or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

 

 

“Steel Magnolias” auditions for summer show,

Abrams, WI May 19, 2017: Abrams Spotlight Productions will hold auditions for its summer show, “Steel Magnolias,” a production full of sass, style and sisterhood.

Written by American playwright Robert Harling and based on his experience with his sister’s death, the show is set in Louisiana in the 1980s and is equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. At Truvy’s beauty shop, the motto is: “There’s no such thing as natural beauty.” Gossip, revelations, and witty Southern banter flow like refreshing sweet tea on a hot summer day. Through clouds of hairspray and over the buzz of blow dryers, six southern spitfires gather each week to chat and support each other through thick and thin.

The play was adapted as a film released in 1989 which earned Julia Roberts an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Shelby. Infused with heart and humor, “Steel Magnolias” is a story of love, loss, and enduring friendship.

Auditions will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, and Wednesday, June 7, at the Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple Ave., Abrams. The play calls for six adult females of various ages. Women auditioning will be asked to read from the script.

Newcomers are encouraged and welcome to audition! Back-stage volunteers also are needed, so consider sharing your time and talent.

The show will be performed Aug. 4-6 and 11-13 at the Byng Community Theater in Abrams. Rehearsals are set for Sundays and Thursdays.

For more information about auditions or to volunteer, call 920-826-5852.

Looking for something new? Time for After Dark!

By now our patrons have been seeing snippets of information related to After Dark Productions and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. What is After Dark Productions you may be asking yourself? Well, to sum it up, it is FUN!

After Dark Productions is an education based theater group created by Abrams Spotlight Productions and Directed by Kari Devine. You were introduced to Kari in our April newsletter. It was Kari who came to the Board of ASPI with the idea of doing 1 show a year that was edgier and focused on adult themes. She also came up with the idea for After Dark Productions. “Anyone involved is working with staff and resources from the semi-professional or professional theater levels” Kari says.

ASPI received feedback from patrons and past actors that there was an interest in adult only theater experiences, which resulted in the creation of After Dark Productions, along with Kari Devine’s guidance. The goal of After Dark Productions is to produce edgier productions geared towards the adult only crowds. When you see “After Dark Productions”- you are in for a wild ride!

The first production that After Dark Productions will be presenting is “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. The 2005 Broadway production is a one act musical comedy that takes place at Putnam Valley Middle School as six middle schoolers compete in their annual spelling bee hosted by three eccentric adults. Each show is bound to be different each night because the actors improvise based on the participation of the audience. It will be “adult night at the spelling bee” meaning that the festivities and humor are intended for an adult audience. Kari says “It is a comedy with a good bit of honest adult content and audience participation. It’s a nice show to get away and laugh for a night or afternoon and put normal life aside.”
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be running September 15-17 and 22-24. Go to www.abramstheater.com for more information. Tickets go on sale SOON!  Announcement will be made on Facebook!

Family Spotlight: The Wons Family

Bill, Suzie, and their children Leah, Garrett, and Sophia

  • Roles
    • Suzie and Leah’s first play was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in October 2007
    • Bill and Garrett’s first play was Unwrapped in October 2008 along with Suzie and Leah
    • Sophia’s first play was Rented Christmas in December 2008 along with Garrett
    • Bill is currently an ASPI board member
  • What got them started in ASPI?
    • When Leah was not able to make the dates for the Missoula Theater, a friend suggested that they check out ASPI. It was something Leah really wanted to do, so Suzie and Leah both auditioned and got roles in the 2007 production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
  • How does it feel to be involved in ASPI as a family?
    • Sophia- “You get to practice lines together.”
    • Bill- “You get to spend quality time with the family!”
  • What draws them to ASPI?
    • Bill- “It’s a lot of fun to perform and build relationships with the other actors. We built a lot of friendships over the years that now extend outside the theater because of the shows we have been in.”
    • Suzie- “It’s something we can do as a family. It’s close to home.”
  • What would they say to other families about getting involved in ASPI?
    • Bill- “Don’t be scared. It’s a lot of fun! It’s a great way to strengthen and build your relationships with your children. There will be plenty to talk about around the dinner table.”
  • Favorite family activity outside of ASPI

The Wons family enjoys sailing and traveling.

Fun Facts

  • Leah is currently pursuing performance as a career majoring in musical performance at Viterbo University in La Crosse.
  • Sophia is also involved in Missoula Theater and Destination Imagination.
  • Bill has also been involved in performances at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Little Suamico.

The Wons family was recently in ASPI’s production of ANNIE on March 31st, April 1st, April 2nd and April 7th, April 8th, April 9th.

Family Spotlight: The Jolly Family

David, Debra, and their daughter Liz

David, Debra, and their daughter Liz

  • Roles
    • The family’s first play was Bah, Humbug in the winter of 2009.
    • Debra helps with costumes, makeup, and hair and is also the board’s Vice President and resident choreographer.
    • David is involved in tech and is also a board advisory member.
    • Liz has performed in many shows and helps with costumes.
  • What got them started at ASPI?
    • David- “All of our backgrounds.”
    • Debra- “We are theater people!”
    • Liz- “We were here from the beginning.”
  • What draws them to ASPI?
    • Debra- “It’s a good group of people!”
    • Liz- “We do such high-level, high- quality productions for a community theater.”
  • How does it feel to be involved in ASPI as a family?
    • Liz- “I think it’s cool to work together as a family. That’s not an opportunity you get much in your life.”
  • Favorite family activity outside of ASPI
    • The Jolly family likes to travel and watch old movies and musicals.
  • Fun Facts
    • David and Debra met on the stage in ’76 when he volunteered for a ballet she was involved. “So Elizabeth had no choice but to be involved in theater. It was inevitable,” says Debra.
    • Liz graduated from St. Norbert in 2012 and studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York where she graduated in 2015.

Recently Liz was Miss Hannigan and David was Daddy Warbucks in ASPI’s production of ANNIE on March 31st, April 1st, April 2nd and April 7th, April 8th, April 9th.

 

Introducing a Multi Show package deal for our patrons!

Now available- purchase a Multi Show Pass and receive a discount.  The discount results in $2 off per ticket per show.  Must purchase the pass through the Box Office (not redeemable online).  This pass expires 18 months from the date of purchase.  The Multi Show Pass can be used on any shows with in the 18-month time frame.

$36 Adult

$30 Senior (Over 65)

$30 Youth (5-17)

$15 Child (5 and under)

Call the box office at 920-826-5852 for more information or to purchase.

Adult Night at the Spelling Bee

Pandemonium
n. wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos
Can you use it in a sentence?
Life is a pandemonium.

Join After Dark Productions, an education based theater group, for their rendering of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
This 2005 Broadway production is a one act musical comedy that takes place at Putnam Valley Middle School as six middle schoolers compete in their annual spelling bee hosted by three eccentric adults.

The show is sure to be a good time as the audience is brought into the outlandish world of Putnam and its quirky inhabitants. Did we mention that the middle schoolers are played by adults? Each show is bound to be different each night because the actors improvise based on the participation of the audience.
It will be “adult night at the spelling bee” meaning that the festivities and humor are intended for an adult audience.

Meet the Director

Kari Devine will be the director of the upcoming production The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!

Kari has been involved in theater since 1999. She got her start with St. Norbert College’s Knight Theater and since then has brought her talents to Shawano, Waupaca, Green Bay, and Oshkosh.

Kari has also been involved in the technical side of ASPI and she played the role of Sister Mary Hubert in the 2015 production of Nunsense.
This will not be Kari’s first time in the role of director. Some of her favorite productions she has directed include: Aida, Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar,
The Producers, Kiss Me Kate, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Nunsense, and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
When not working in the theater, Kari is a training specialist at Thrivent Financial in Appleton. She also works as a band and music consultant for competitive marching bands in the Midwest and as a judge for Wisconsin School Music Association’s competitive marching.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Ringo, and in the summer, she enjoys helping her family who race stock cars and trucks.
Why she thinks audiences will enjoy the upcoming production of The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee:

“It’s a comedy with a good bit of honest adult content and audience participation. It’s a nice show to get away and laugh for a night or afternoon and put normal life aside. We can all always use a moment where you can just sit, enjoy and laugh.”
After Dark Productions Wants You! Why you should audition:

“After Dark Productions is an education based theater group created by Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. Anyone involved is working with staff and resources from the semi-professional or professional theater levels. We strive to create directors, stage managers, actors, tech crew that can use skills learned at any level and any place. Mostly because it shows that theater can be hard work, but it should be FUN.”

If you would like to be involved in the quirky musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, auditions will take place Tuesday April 25 and Wednesday April 26 from 6 to 9pm at the Byng Community Theater. Come prepared with a two-minute section of a song NOT from the show and wear comfortable clothes for a practice choreography routine. For more information, or if you have any questions, please feel free to call or email director Kari Devine at 920-378-677 or devinemusical@yahoo.com.

Auditions for Steel Magnolias


Open auditions will be held from 6-8 p.m. June 6th or 7th at the Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams. Callbacks, if needed, will be from 6-8 p.m. June 8th.

Performance dates will be August 4, 5, 6 and August 11, 12, 13 with rehearsals Sunday and Thursday evenings beginning June 11. Prior to auditioning, performers should consider their availability to attend rehearsals and performances.

This production calls for 6 adult female roles of various ages. No actors under the age of 17 please.

For more information about the show, call the box office at 920-826-5852

Newsletter April 2017 Issue

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. Newsletter
April 2017 Issue

No pain, no gain. We all know this phrase. We hear it often in the sports world. Want that first-place trophy? Work for it. Olympic Gold Medal? Train. Superbowl ring? Team effort. In the theater, it’s no different. NO PAIN NO GAIN. This phrase was evoked during our recent production of Annie. Late rehearsal nights, long work days, endless production meetings resulted in one of the most successful productions ASPI has seen in its 14-year history.

The production of Annie started at the beginning of January with auditions, where 30 people came out prepared with a song to be a part of this musical. Men, women, and KIDS! So much talent came to the theater to audition, that it was difficult to pick the little girl that would embody the title character of Annie. 4 little girls were called back to vie for the spunky little red head, but in the end- only one was chosen.

As with past musicals, this production consisted of 3 months of music rehearsals, dance choreography, and blocking rehearsals. But the production doesn’t end here, there was also long hours of behind the scenes work- sets, costumes, and tech work! ASPI was blessed to have some of the highest volunteer numbers ever! A true team effort.

With all the long hours of practice, painting, cleaning, and memorizing- show time finally arrived! And it arrived with a BANG! Opening night of Annie resulted in a sold-out show- a first for ASPI history. This opening night crowd set the stage and the ball rolling, resulting in a positive momentum for the remaining shows. More sold out shows the first weekend, and 2 more sold out shows the final weekend (even a wait list) resulted in record attendance numbers. We are proud to announce that our total attendance for Annie was over 1300 patrons- and we owe all our success to YOU!

At the final cast party, as we put away the costumes, props, and set pieces, the cast and crew are tired, and perhaps a bit sad. Not because the pain wasn’t worth it- but because with all the rehearsals and hard work- we truly GAINED! Not just gaining in record attendance, but we all gained a family. Here at Abrams Spotlight Productions we pride ourselves on our family atmosphere and a place where community is at the heart of everything we do.

Are you looking to be a part of a community? Come join our theater family! There are always spots open- come to an audition, ask about helping backstage, or volunteer to usher for one of our shows. We would love to see you join our Community Theater. You truly will GAIN by volunteering, but we will gain a new family member.