Preparing for the auction

Abrams theater to hold online auction

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. seeks donations for its second annual online auction scheduled in December. A wide variety of prizes will be up for grabs at the ASPI Spotlight Auction on Thursday, Dec. 9, to Sunday, Dec. 12. 

These dates coincide with the performance of “Guys and Dolls, a rousing musical about two big-city gamblers and the women who love them. “Guys and Dolls” will be presented Dec. 2-5 and 9-12 at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams.

Anyone interested in donating prizes, auction baskets, money, or gift certificates is encouraged to call 920-826-5852 or email theater.aspi@gmail.com. Donations are due Monday, Nov. 15, and pick-up service is available.

ASPI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that presents musicals, comedies, and dramas at the Nancy Byng Community Theater in Abrams.

Senior Spotlight

ASPI is proud to highlight two young members of our theater family! Each of these dedicated thespians have graced the stage and developed their talents as growing artists! Victoria Athey, 2021 high school graduate, and Eleanor Finger, future 2022 high school graduate, have left their marks on our community theater! 

Victoria Athey 

Victoria is a 2021 graduate of Oconto Falls High School and is currently in her freshman year at St. Norbert College, De Pere. She will be pursuing a minor in theater and Spanish. In middle school, Victoria fell in love with acting, and it was a passion she continued to pursue throughout high school. With no declared major, Victoria hopes to figure out what drives her and then go wherever the world may take her!

In 2015, Victoria made her first appearance on the Abrams stage in the The Wizard of Oz (Ozian, a crow, and a winky). After interest in dance and cheer began to dwindle and with no interest in sports, Victoria’s mom suggested she might enjoy acting and that she should audition for The Wizard of Oz. After landing a role in the production, Victoria fell in love with theater!

Other productions on Victoria’s theater resume include Annie (Bonnie, a maid, and homeless person), Meet Me in St. Louis (chorus), and A Christmas Story (an elf and adult chorus). Victoria was also involved in her high school’s production of The Sound of Music

Being involved in ASPI has meant a lot to Victoria! Through theater many friendships were formed, she found her passion, and many of her best memories were made. 

Eleanor Finger

Ellie is a current attendee of Oconto High School, where she participates in cross country, track, LifeSmarts, and in an auditioned choir group (Momentum). Upon her 2022 graduation, Ellie hopes to pursue a major in Arts Management and Business Administration at either Carroll University in Waukesha or the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.

Ellie desires to work with the business side of theater. While not sure yet where it will take her, she is very excited for the future possibilities! Ellie knows that for the near-term she would like to stay involved with ASPI, whether that’s on or off the stage. 

In 2013, Ellie began her ASPI career when her mom saw an ad in the newspaper for The Sound of Music auditions. With a little encouragement, Ellie auditioned and landed the role of Brigitta von Trapp. Ever since that first production, ASPI has felt like a second home and family to Ellie. 

Ellie’s theater productions also include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Geminae Twin), The Wizard of Oz (coroner, Ozian, and flying monkey), Shrek the Musical (young Fiona and fairy godmother), Annie (rising star, servant, and radio singer), Oliver (Bet), Meet Me in St. Louis (ensemble), Singin’ in the Rain (ensemble), A Christmas Story (ensemble), and Footloose (principal).

Ellie has also worked backstage for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and she was the assistant production coordinator for Elf Jr. the Musical. When not on stage or backstage, Ellie could be found working as an usher or attending theater workdays.

One of Ellie’s favorite musical lyrics is from Hamilton, “There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait…just you wait!” 

Victoria and Ellie, we know you both have many exciting adventures ahead to experience! And we know you will look back fondly on your time with ASPI (both have a special memory of playing hide and seek on Saturdays between shows). Whether through community theater or school productions, theater has been a valued part of their lives. Wherever their future dreams take them, we are excited to know that theater will be at the heart. Many congratulations Victoria and Ellie and break a leg as you make the world your stage!

WIN FREE TICKETS TO Guys & Dolls

Guys and dolls logo

WIN FREE TICKETS TO Guys & Dolls

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Thanks Much and Good Luck!

    director picture

    Meet the Director: Gillett Local Brings Musical Comedy to Abrams Stage

    Playgoers, I bid welcome.
    The theatre is a temple, and we are here to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy.
    Tonight, I am pleased to announce a comedy.
    We shall employ every device we know in our desire to divert you.

    Comedy Tonight

    We have the great honor of introducing Wayne Strei, director of ASPI’s upcoming production A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. This will be Mr. Strei’s debut in ASPI, but he is no stranger to theater and the arts! 

    Mr. Strei was born and raised in Gillett, WI and is a 1972 Gillett High School graduate. While his theater experience began in middle school, his higher education brought him to San Francisco, CA! In 1977, Mr. Strei received his B.A. in theatre arts from San Francisco State University. 

    Mr. Strei’s time in San Francisco was filled with performances and directing of numerous shows, as well as being a regular on People are Talking and Good Morning, Bay Area, both of which were local television in San Francisco in the 1980’s. But that’s not all! Mr. Strei was also a longtime food and entertainment writer and critic in the Bay Area. 

    In 2001, after 25 years in San Francisco, Mr. Strei returned to Wisconsin to care for his parents. Since his return, he remains living on his family’s farm in the house where he was raised.

    Mr. Strei’s theater career hasn’t slowed down! He has since directed a number of community productions at Gillett Secondary School. And seven year ago, Mr. Strei portrayed the role of Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, as directed by Ben Burish, former director of band for Oconto Falls High School. Who better to direct ASPI’s current production than Pseudolus himself! Other shows he has under his performance and director belt include Our Town, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Godspell and a number of musical revues. 

    Currently, Mr. Strei is semi-retired and serves as church musician at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gillett. He also judges forensics and accompanies musicians in local high school performances. 

    When A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum hits the ASPI stage in September, it’s guaranteed to leave our audiences in stitches!

    “I think everyone who likes to laugh will love this show! It’s irreverent, bawdy, politically incorrect and one of the true musical farces in Broadway history. It moves along quickly and there’s a guffaw every minute,” explains Mr. Strei.

    With this being Mr. Strei’s first performance with ASPI, and rehearsals and production well underway, the cast and crew have already left an impression! 

    Mr. Strei shares, “I have met so many talented and wonderful performers and technicians with ASPI, some with lots of productions here and in other theaters under their belts and others brand new to the group or even to being on stage! Our youngest performer is in middle school and I think the oldest is a month younger than myself. So about 43. Okay, 50.” 

    Still undecided if you should purchase tickets to this upcoming production? Let Director Wayne Strei share with you why this is one production you do not want to miss!

    “I know you will enjoy this crazy romp through Rome in 200 B.C. The music is charming and humorous and I think you will be humming some on your way home. Downton Abbey it ain’t, but it doesn’t need to be to introduce you to the wacky citizens who live and love in Rome during this very interesting (and funny) time period. The scenery and costumes are colorful and imaginative.  But mostly come for the singing and dancing and a wonderful script performed by some of the talented and funny people I have worked with in years!”

    Showtimes are September 16-18 and 23-25 at 7pm, September 19 and 25 at 1pm. Tickets are on sale NOW and can be purchased at abramsspotlightproductions.com. Please call the Box Office with any questions or for more information, (920)826-5852. 

    Please note A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is an After Dark Production, this means the musical is rated PG-13.

    dark theater and stage with lights and curtain closed

    Summer Fun at the Theater

    Hello Summer!

    Comedy City Logo

    Summer is officially here and ASPI has some summer plans of its own! We are EXTREMELY EXCITED to announce that COMEDY CITY is returning to the stage! You won’t want to miss this spontaneous comedy show!

    You may have seen Comedy City at their home location on Main Ave in De Pere. ASPI will be hosting a Comedy City improv show on Friday, June 25th. The show starts at 7pm and the theater’s patio will be open at 6pm for HAPPY HOUR with drinks and snacks! This improv show will be sure to have your sides in stitches the entire evening! Nothing is scripted!

    Tickets are $13 and are available online OR call the Box Office at 920-826-5852.


    A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum logo

    Calling everyone 16 and up! Auditions for the fall musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, are here!
    Audition times are July 6 or 7 from 6-8:30pm. Please come with a song prepared! Auditions will also include a short reading from the script and a short choreography audition. Show dates for the musical will be September 16-19, 23-26.
    While your summer plans may include trips to the beach, camping in the great outdoors, and so much more, make sure to include ASPI in your summer plans!

    Stay connected all summer long by liking Abrams Spotlight Productions, Inc. on Facebook. You won’t want to miss a single update!

    Enjoy your fun in the sun!

    Are You Ready Guys and Dolls?

    Spring days bring another EXCITING ASPI announcement! We are pleased to announce ASPI’s winter production!
    Drum roll please…

    🎵In December 2021, GUYS AND DOLLS will be gracing the stage! 🎶

    This romantic comedy musical features a gambler, a crap game manager, a showgirl, and a missionary. Can a wager between friends really turn into love between the manager and the missionary? Find out if opposites really do attract!
    Making her directorial debut this December is Miss Abby Frank! Miss Frank has over 12 years of theater experience, including community shows and school productions. She is no stranger to the ASPI community! Miss Frank has been involved in ASPI productions since her sophomore year of high school. You many have seen her in her first first ASPI production when she played the role of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Most recently she appeared in the role of Ariel in Footloose (2019).

    Let’s conclude with a word from the director herself!

    Guys and Dolls is arguably a classic, premiering on Broadway in 1950 before the film was released five years later. My senior year of high school I had the privilege of playing Sarah Brown in our production of Guys and Dolls, and it’s been one of my favorite musicals ever since. The way the show takes two separate, and vastly different romances, and intertwines them into one fast-paced and intriguing storyline is absolutely incredible. It has everything, for everyone, and it is 100% a show for the entire family.

    Abby Frank

    With her many years of experience on and off the stage, her familiarity with the show, and with the support of her wonderful production crew, Miss Frank is looking forward to directing her first production!

    We miss you all a “bushel and a peck” and we cannot wait to welcome you all back through the doors of the theater! Stay tuned to the blog and follow ASPI on Facebook for more exciting updates!

    Song Verse

    Singing into Spring

    With the spring sunshine and rain bringing promises for new and exciting days ahead, ASPI has some very exciting news to share with you!

    ♬Every field wears a bonnet
    With some spring daisies on it,
    Even birds of a feather show their clothes off together
    Sun’s gettin’ shinery, to spotlight the finery,
    Spring, spring, spring ♪ ♫
    ~ Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ~

    We are thrilled to announce that we will be setting the stage to welcome audiences back into the theater this September!

    Under the direction of Wayne Strei, ASPI is proud to present the musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

    Audiences will be transported to ancient Rome in this musical comedy following Pseudolus, a slave who seeks to win his freedom by uniting his master, Hero, with the one whom his heart desires, courtesan Philia. Should be simple enough, right? Well, the course of true love never did run smooth.

    This musical is inspired by the ancient Roman playwright Plautus, known for his comedic farces. In 1963, the original Broadway musical was a Tony winner for Best Musical AND Best Author. Our audiences are in for a treat as this musical is sure to be a comedic riot. For where Pseudolus goes, chaos follows!

    Details on auditions and showtimes COMING SOON! Follow ASPI on Facebook and stay tuned to the blog for highly anticipated updates regarding our September show!

    elf

    Happy Holidays From ASP!

    Does the holiday season make you feel all “sparklejollytwinklejingley” inside and out? This time last year our stage was home to Buddy the Elf and his friends. Familiar with the magical and comical holiday classic? The story follows Buddy the Elf as he ventures out from his home in the North Pole and crosses the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest, past the sea of twirly-swirly gumdrops, and through the Lincoln Tunnel to find the father he never knew he had. What made Buddy so courageous to leave the people and place he has known all his life? FAMILY! Buddy’s desire to know and be close to the ones who matter most is such a sweet and sentimental reminder of what makes the holiday season so special. It’s spending time with the ones we love and hold dear!

    And you, our sweet readers, are part of our extended theater family! While it has been some time since our seats have been filled and our stage has been set, you are as close to our hearts as ever, and we cannot wait to welcome you all back! In the meantime, just remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear! 🎶

    Happy Holidays from our theater family to yours!