hands holding a small present

Our Grown-Up Christmas List

Did ASPI’s Online Auction Pass you by? Didn’t place the winning bid? Don’t worry! There are other ways to make ASPI part of your holiday season!

Gift Certificates 

Did you know that you can give the gift of theater? You can choose any amount and print the certificate from the comfort of your own home!

Wish List

ASPI has our own “Christmas List”, including: power tools, sound equipment, etc. We hope we are on Santa’s nice list!

Become a Spotlight Sponsor

With four levels from Bronze to Platinum, you get to choose your contribution. Every sponsorship ensures quality ASPI productions for our community for years to come!

Theater Work Days

Or, give of your time to one of our Theater Work Days! From indoor maintenance to outdoor projects, all skills and talents are welcomed and oh so appreciated. Be sure to follow Abrams Spotlight Productions, Inc. on Facebook to stay up to date of future work days!

This holiday season is looking different for a lot of us! If you’re able, please consider adding ASPI to your list to receive some holiday cheer! 

Happy Holidays from our theater family to yours!

Getting ready for the Auction

Abrams Theater to Hold Online Auction

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. seeks donations for its online virtual auction scheduled in early December. A wide variety of prizes will be up for grabs at the ASPI Spotlight Auction on Friday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 6 at www.biddingowl.com/ASPI.

These dates coincide with the scheduled opening of “Elf, The Broadway Musical.” Unfortunately, “Elf,” “My Fair Lady,” and “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” were canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19. The auction is a way for the community theater to recover revenue these shows would have provided.

Covid-19 not only affects nonprofits like ASPI, it also affects the small businesses that nonprofits rely on for support. Donors can support local businesses and the theater at the same time by purchasing gift certificates from local companies and donating them to the auction. Those interested in donating prizes, prize baskets, or gift certificates are encouraged to email theater.aspi@gmail.com or call 920-826-5852. Prizes are due Sunday, Nov. 22.

ASPI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that presents musicals, comedies, and dramas at the Nancy Byng Community Theater in Abrams.Caption: Brigette Finger, a volunteer with Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc., shows prize baskets included in the ASPI Spotlight Auction on Dec. 4-6. To donate a prize, email theater.aspi@gmail.com or call 920-826-5852.

Mona Lisa wearing a mask

Whistle While You Work

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to an ASPI work day we go!

While our productions may be currently on hold, there is no shortage of maintenance, projects, and tasks to be done around the theater. We need your help to make sure the theater is up and ready to go for when our next season of shows begin.

We are having a socially distanced work day at the theater on Saturday, August 15, along with outside projects that can be done during the week and we need all hands on deck! From yard work to housekeeping, we have a job for you. Check out our other article: Work Day August 15, 2020 – Things To Do.

This work day is being organized by none other than ASPI veteran David Jolly, who eloquently shares why these work days are crucial to the ongoing success of the theater, especially in these unprecedented times.

“Our operations at ASPI were greatly affected by Covid-19. We were in our tech week for My Fair Lady in March when all activity had to be halted in response to the pandemic. All though all those associated with ASPI have had varying personal impacts, all of our lives have been rearranged and we must now consider the importance of various ‘non-essential’ activities and their place in our lives. ASPI will only continue to exist if many of its family members recommit to the necessary time and effort it takes to keep it going. Workdays are essential to the housekeeping tasks that must have volunteer support to be accomplished. Our upcoming workdays will be one of the first opportunities we have taken to see where we are at, in terms of ‘family’ or ‘community’ support. We will work together at this event to be protective of one another’s health while accomplishing some needed tasks.”

If you’re free Saturday, August 15th, stop by the theater between 9am-3pm! Whether it’s for a two hour time slot, or more, any amount of time can be accommodated. Please bring gloves, a mask, and some form of eye protection. Other equipment that would be greatly appreciated include: 2 string trimmers, 1 to 3 chainsaws (battery or gas powered), and 2 wheelbarrows.

We are planning to host these work days monthly so be sure to follow us on Facebook and stay tuned for future dates!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the theater at (920) 826-5852.

cleaning supplies

Work Day August 15, 2020 Things to DO

Work Day Master List
August 15, 2020

Outside:

These can be done during the week if you cannot make Saturday Just call us at 920-826-5852 and let us know which outdoor items you can manage.

Clean and weed flower beds
Trim around building and grounds
Clean up pine tree branches on NW corner of property
Clean up brush on east side of parking lot
Sweep and clean patio area
Clean and check operation of grill

Inside:

Lobby:

Remove and store any props, costumes, set pieces
Clean glass doors, dust surfaces, sweep/vacuum floors

Bathrooms:

Empty trash bins
Clean mirrors/toilets/sinks/urinal
Clean water fountain
Sweep and mop floors
Re-stock paper products and soap

House (Auditorium) :

Empty trash and recycling bins
Remove and store all props, set pieces and costumes
Stack chairs (remove row tags FIRST)
Dust piano and window ledges, sweep floor

Concessions:

Unload all items in refrigerator

Basement:

Clean/organize scene shop and furniture storage area

Kitchen:

Empty trash and recycling bins
Wash dishes in sink area, clean countertops, sweep floor
If enough muscle is available, remove non-working appliances

Tools, equipment needed:

Bring gloves, mask, eye protection (goggles or glasses)
Wear long sleeves and pants, appropriate shoes

2 string trimmers
1-3 chainsaws, battery or gas powered
2 wheelbarrows

Read our other article regarding clean up day: Whistle While You Work

elf the musical

Elf the Musical

December 4, 5, 6 and December 11, 12, 13

Coming off the popular run of Abrams Spotlight Productions production of Elf the Musical Junior…. Our winter show will be Elf the Musical- the FULL production!   Based on the cherished 2003 New Line Cinema hit, Elf features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) and Chad Beguelin (Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway), with a book by Tony Award winners,Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone).

This production of Elf the Musical is the full length production and includes 2 more songs!  Elf the Musical will feature both adults and kids in various roles.  The modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Elf the Musical will be presented December 4, 5, 6 and December 11, 12, 13.

red derby hat

Loverly News

♫ I’ve grown accustomed to her face
She almost makes the day begin
I’ve grown accustomed to the tune that
She whistles night and noon ♫

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing all of your lovely faces and miss each one of you dearly! That is why we are excited and pleased to announce the NEW showtimes for My Fair Lady!

We’ll be back on the stage September 17th-20th & 24th-27th and cannot wait for you to join us.

All who had purchased tickets for the cancelled March showings can NOW exchange their tickets by calling the box office at 920-826-5852.

Want to attend a September showtime and did not previously have tickets to a March showing? Tickets will go on sale July 17th!

Have questions? Contact the box office at 920-826-5852. For future updates be sure to check us out on Facebook!

Postponed – My Fair Lady

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. has postponed the upcoming musical “My Fair Lady” and the Spotlight Wedding Show. Future dates for the shows are being reviewed.

The postponement is in support of the well-being of the theater-going public and those who work on the productions, subject to ongoing assessment by county and state health authorities. ASPI takes the health and safety of our patrons, staff and community seriously.

ASPI customers with tickets to “My Fair Lady” will be contacted via phone or email with further information. 

Please note that ASPI is a volunteer organization with many moving parts. Our volunteers spend countless hours rehearsing, working behind-the-scenes, and doing maintenance and groundskeeping. The community theater’s income is based upon ticket sales, advertising sponsorships, and donations.

Donations to the theater are appreciated, especially now with the postponement of the shows. ASPI will need to reinvest in its promotional materials and cover other unexpected costs. You can help out by clicking here.

We look forward to bringing the spotlight back to the community theater when the coronavirus is in check.

ASPI Postpones Production

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. has postponed the upcoming musical “My Fair Lady” and the Spotlight Wedding Show. Future dates for the shows are being reviewed.

The postponement is in support of the well-being of the theater-going public and those who work on the productions, subject to ongoing assessment by county and state health authorities. ASPI takes the health and safety of our patrons, staff and community seriously.

ASPI customers with tickets to “My Fair Lady” will be contacted via phone or email with further information.

Please note that ASPI is a volunteer organization with many moving parts. Our volunteers spend countless hours rehearsing, working behind-the-scenes, and doing maintenance and groundskeeping. The community theater’s income is based upon ticket sales, advertising sponsorships, and donations.

Donations to the theater are appreciated, especially now with the postponement of the shows. ASPI will need to reinvest in its promotional materials and cover other unexpected costs. You can help out by clicking here.

We look forward to bringing the spotlight back to the community theater when the coronavirus is in check.

What to Wear: Eliza’s Runway

Our very own Mrs. Debra Jolly is costume designer for ASPI’s upcoming production of My Fair Lady. As she shares the styles of living in the 1910s from head to toe, imagine dinners on the Titanic and garden parties at Downton Abbey, the elegance, tradition, and attention to detail. My Fair Lady is Eliza Dolittle’s very own runway!

Everyday Styles

For everyday style, it all comes down to class! Upper class would have spent most of their day changing clothes to fit the activity. A feminine and lightweight day dress might have a square neckline or shawl collar, a higher waist and narrow skirt, and an overskirt. Popular fabrics of chiffon, lace, and satin were sure to adorn an upper class lady. For men, their suits were of a similar style as we see today, including a jacket, vest, white shirt and tie. Some activities would require a more formal suit with a long jacket, striped pants, white shirt complete with a cravat, vest, gloves, and a top hot. The ensemble would also include spats (or spatterdashes), a footwear accessory used to protect shoes from rain and mud.

If someone was of the middle class, their wardrobe would be much the same as the upper class, but with less trim and sturdier fabrics. There would also not be as many clothing changes throughout the day as you would see with the upper class women.

Individuals of the lower classes would be seen in older styles of clothing, often mismatched, and made of sturdier fabrics. Women’s accessories would include aprons and shawls. Many men would wear vests or jackets at work, often with a cap and a neckerchief. Because most of their clothing was secondhand cast-offs from the upper classes, working clothes looked more formal than today.

The Hair

No pixie cuts or man buns here! Even bobbed, or chin length hair on a woman was still considered a rebellious style.

Popular women’s hairstyles included the pompadour. This entailed being puffed out and slightly up at the front. And hold onto your seats because women used false hair pieces, or “rats” made of hair combings formed into rolls, to create the Pompadour hairstyle. Another popular style was the Gibson girl, puffed out hair complemented with a bun, or knot, at the top of the head.

Other popular hairstyles included Marcel waves, similar to finger waves; frizzed bangs, as made popular by King Edward’s wife, Queen Alexandra; low buns called Psyche knots after the Greek goddess; and braided twists.

With the fashion of large hats, hairstyles had to be big enough and sturdy enough to support the hat. For evening or indoor activities, hairstyles were softer and less puffed out.

Men’s hair was not as involved as their counterparts. Men usually wore their hair trimmed short and slicked back with oil or petroleum jelly. They also had a “pompadour” style where the sides were short and the top longer and pushed up, akin to the 50s style or Elvis. Handlebar mustaches, named after their similarity to the appearance of handlebars on a bicycle, also were having their time to shine!

Go to Accessory

We all have something that we cannot leave the house without. A signature scent? Favorite watch? During the 1910s, the go to accessory for both men and women was a hat. Regardless of class status, women, even lower-class women, would never be seen outdoors without a hat.

Formal Night on the Town

Here comes the glitz and the glam! Formal evenings were occasions for ball gowns, often with trains and long gloves. The look would not be complete without accessories! From jewelry to hair adornments such as feathers, flowers and jeweled combs or hair bands, women and young ladies were dressed to the nines. Satin slippers and fans, opera capes or cocoon wraps (a large circle of fabric with short sleeves at the wrists), complete the look.
While not as adorned by accessories, from their formal tuxedos with tails, complete with white shirt, best, tie, gloves, along with a top hat and opera cape, the men were sure to look sharp!

Dare to Wear

Slacks were still strictly for men. A woman in anything resembling pants was very risque indeed. Thanks to the Russian Ballet for introducing fashions of an oriental style, including harem pants. Dress hemlines were also becoming shorter. Exposed shoes and ankles? Gasp! Working our way up, it was also more common for ladies to forgo corsets. Oh my!

Eliza on Stage

ASPI is bringing a special early 1900s touch to the stage. The upper-class ladies will have large hats, which the cast members will decorate themselves! The lovely Pam Loberger, cast member and local expert on historic fashion styles, will be leading a workday session to help them create the proper look.

Are there any styles from the 1910s that you wish would make a comeback?

Many thanks to Mrs. Debra Jolly for her contribution to this blog post! You can see her efforts as choreographer, costume designer, and lighting designer in ASPI’s production of My Fair Lady. So put on your best and join us for performance running March 20-22 and March 27-29. For more information check out https://abramsspotlightproductions.com/ or call the Box Office at (920)826-5852.

My Fair Lady

Oh Eliza!

Wendy Hiller, Julie Andrews, and Audrey Hepburn. What do these three ladies have in common? Each lady has dazzled audiences in the leading role of Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady. These three accomplished actresses transform with Eliza from a Cockney accented flower seller to regal “Hungarian princess”.  

Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller Reading

Our first notable Eliza is Wendy Hiller, who appears in the 1938 British film adaptation of George  Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. It was only natural for Hiller to be cast in the lead as she had already portrayed the character on the Festival Theatre stage in Malvern Worcestershire, England in 1936.

The film adaptation featured Hiller as leading lady and Leslie Howard as Henry Higgins. The adaptation itself was an Oscar winner for Best Screenplay and Hiller received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

The film held a first for Ms. Hiller. She became the first actress to utter the word “bloody” in a British film. The line, “Not bloody likely, I’m going in a taxi!” was in the original play and the filmmakers decided to keep the line in the film.

Throughout her 60 year acting career, Hiller was primarily a stage actress, but her most notable film roles include the role of Pat Cooper in the 1958 film Separate Tables, earning her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and the 1974 film Murder on the Orient Express as Princess Dragonmiroff, earning her the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress.

Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews

Eighteen years after the film Pygmalion, the screenplay was adapted to the hit musical starring Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins and leading lady Julie Andrews as Eliza Dolittle

The musical made its Broadway debut at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in NYC on March 15, 1956. The musical ran for a total of 2,717 performances, with its last being on September 29, 1962. At that time, it was a record breaking run! However, Harrison and Andrews did not appear in all of the performances. In 1957, Harrison was replaced by Edward Mulhare and in 1958 Andrews was replaced by Sally Ann Howes (who you may recognize as the actress who played Truly Scrumptious in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).

In 1958, Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews reprised their roles in the London production of My Fair Lady. The production ran for 2,281 performances, with Harrison and Andrews exiting their roles in 1959.

Accolades all around! In 1957, the Broadway musical was a Tony Award winner with Julie Andrews receiving a nomination for her leading lady role.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn

For the 1964 film adaptation of My Fair Lady, producer Jack Warren cast Audrey Hepburn in the lead role, coming as a shock to the many fans of Julie Andrews! This was considered outrageous because fans believed Andrews was the embodiment of Eliza and that the role was made for her.

Another surprise came when audiences found out that Hepburn’s singing voice was not her own, and that it was in fact dubbed by Marni Nixon. While Hepburn’s vocals were not considered “good enough” for the role, her vocals can be heard in the chorus of the musical number “Just You Wait”.

At the 1964 Academy Awards, Andrews won Best Actress for her lead role in Mary Poppins, the award for Best Actor went to Rex Harrison for his role as Professor Henry Higgins, and the award for Best Picture went to My Fair Lady. While the film My Fair Lady received nominations in every major category, Audrey Hepburn did not receive a nomination for Best Actress in her role as Eliza. It is said that the lack of nomination, along with Andrews’ Oscar win, was to show support to Andrews and disapproval to Jack Warner for his refusal to cast her in a role that was viewed as rightfully hers.

While there was much controversy surrounding Hepburn in the role of Eliza Dolittle, Hepburn was a star and icon in her own right. Her prominent films include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sabrina, and Roman Holiday, just to name a few. Hepburn was a recipient of an Academy Award for Best Actress for Roman Holiday and a recipient of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards for Best British Actress for her roles in Roman Holiday, The Nun’s Story, and Charade.

ASPI’s very own Abby Frank will follow in the footsteps of the women before her to bring Eliza Dolittle to the stage.

Tickets are on sale NOW and wouldn’t it be loverly for you to join us! Performances run March 20-22 and March 27-29. Just you wait! This production is sure to be anything but ordinary. For more information check out https://abramsspotlightproductions.com/ or call the Box Office at (920)826-5852.