Title: Yeeow-a-yip-i-o-ee ay! Oklahoma, okay!

 I got a beautiful feelin’, Everything’s goin’ my way

  • From the enduring classic, Oklahoma!

While considered by many to be the most influential work in American musical theater, many may not know that the musical is based on a 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. The play itself was not a success, but the concept seemed like it would make for a good musical plot.

Enter Rodgers and Hammerstein! While now an iconic pair, Oklahoma! was the first musical written together by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein. Both Rodgers and Hammerstein had their preferred writing processes. Rodgers preferred to set completed lyrics to music, and Hammerstein preferred to write lyrics before they were set to music. A match made in heaven!

This writing partnership allowed Hammerstein to create lyrics that strengthened the musical’s plot and evoked emotion. In the past, lyrics, music, and dance numbers did not necessarily work in harmony. Instead of furthering the plot, the intention was purely to amuse audiences. 

Because of Rodgers and Hammerstein, we now have the “book musical”, “a musical play in which the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story, with serious dramatic goals, that is able to evoke genuine emotions other than amusement.” A concept first recognized in Hammerstein’s earlier work, Show Boat

Another innovation to come from Oklahoma! is the “dream ballet” number! Choreographer Agnes de Mille created a fifteen-minute dream ballet where leading lady Laurey struggles with her feelings for her two suitors, Curly and Jud. In a dream ballet there is no dialogue, only movement, and can feature advanced dancing techniques! Dream ballet sequences take place outside of the continuum of the production with the intention of providing clarification, foreshadowing, or symbolism. Oklahoma! was de Mille’s first time choreographing a Broadway musical, and she made history!

Another interesting choice by Rodgers and Hammerstein was their cast! In the past, roles were given to actors who could sing. Instead, Rodgers and Hammerstein cast singers who could act. This means no known stars were in the initial Broadway production!

Before Oklahoma! went to Broadway, the title of the production was actually Away We Go!. It was retitled to Oklahoma! after the musical number of the same name. 

The show opened on Broadway to rave reviews! After opening on March 31, 1943, the production ran for 2, 212 performances before closing on May 29, 1948. In 1944, Rodgers and Hammerstein were awarded a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma!, and in 1993 the original Broadway production was awarded a Special Tony Award for its 50th anniversay! The Tony Award wasn’t founded until 1947, after the initial Broadway production opened.

Rodgers and Hammerstein personally oversaw the stage-to-film process of the 1955 film of the same name! And it is said the film “followed the stage version more closely than any other Rodgers and Hammerstein stage-to-film adaptation.” The 1955 Oklahoma! film starring Gordan MacRae and Shirley Jones won Academy Awards for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound Recording.

With their musical Oklahoma! Rodgers and Hammerstein are believed to have ushered in the “Golden Age” of musical theater, and ASPI is honored to bring this production to the stage once more!

Tickets are selling FAST! Get yours now! Showtimes are March 14-17 and 21-24. 

Tickets can be purchased at https://abramsspotlightproductions.com/ and please call the box office with any questions (920)826-5852!

All Hands on Deck: Volunteering at ASPI

Have you been an avid attendee of ASPI productions? So enthralled by the musical numbers and magical scenes, that you wonder how you can be involved in a production yourself?

Did you know that you don’t need to be the next Tony winner to volunteer???

Some volunteer roles require more of a time commitment than others, but we are generally able to accommodate! So whether you have 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months (you get the point) available to share your talents with ASPI, let us know and we will match the tasks to our volunteer’s time availability!

For productions, we can use people who are skilled in set design, construction, painting, sewing/costumes, etc… We are able to teach some of these skills, but if someone is familiar with how to use power tools or a sewing machine, it helps! This type of time commitment varies from a couple hours to more (it depends on the job). We are able to match the job to a volunteer’s time availability, so we don’t want people to think they can’t raise their hand to help!

We also need people to assist with shows backstage (scene changes) and sounds & lights. These are areas that require more of a scheduled time commitment. For consistency, we usually want these volunteers to be available for most of the full run through, dress rehearsals, and all shows.

Only have time to volunteer for an individual showtime? We are always in need of ushers, box office workers, and a concessions crew! Signups can be found on the ASPI’s Facebook page a few weeks prior to the first showtime.

Work days are another great way to volunteer at the theater! There is quite the list of to-dos including, cleaning, maintenance, and yard work. If you would like to learn more about work days, please read our past blog post.

Please follow ASPI’s Facebook page for future updates on workdays and other volunteer opportunities!

Tickets are on sale NOW for ASPI’s upcoming production of Oklahoma!, and they are selling FAST! Tickets can be purchased at abramsspotlightproductions.com. Please call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 with any questions!

Whimsical and Truly Scrumptious: A Director Spotlight

🎶Near, far, in our motor car

Oh what a happy time we’ll spend🎵

ASPI’s junior cast and crew, under the direction of Mrs. Liz Jolly-Haslitt, are excited to welcome audiences to the theater to experience the musical classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Liz is a familiar face to the ASPI family! She has been involved with ASPI since 2010! Off stage she has directed Meet Me in St. Louis and Elf Jr. and Beauty & the Beast Jr. Her on stage roles include Betty Haynes in White Christmas, Psuedelous in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, and The Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone. Liz’s theater experience also includes work with Theatre Z, PlayByPlay Theatre, Evergreen, Green Bay Community Theatre, SNC Summer Music Theatre, and appearances in Drunken Shakespeare at Comedy City in De Pere.

Liz holds a BA in Theatre Studies and Classical Studies from St. Norbert College, De Pere, and also has completed a two-year conservatory program in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

In September, Liz married her now husband with the nuptials taking place in this very theater!* When not in the theater, Liz loves to travel with friends and her husband, Joe. And take dance classes when she can!

For this junior production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the cast and crew range in age from 5 to 18! Liz can already attest to their contagious energy! 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a timeless story of magical adventures and limitless imagination! The theater design for the production is going to have a whimsical puppet theater aesthetic. Not only will this design match the whimsicality of the musical, but will also creatively accommodate the size of the cast!

Another unique and innovative aspect of this production is the car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, itself! The car is played by FIVE actors! Liz had the exciting opportunity to work with the actors on movement and puppetry, which were part of her studies in NYC. 

With 40 kids in the cast, Liz has tried to give all the actors at least one line, a few measures in a song, or featured dance. So not only will they have their time to shine alone, they will also learn how to work cohesively as a team.

Other benefits of youth participating in local theater include:

  • Developing creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Developing empathy
  • Building confidence
  • Practicing communication and working in groups

Last but certainly not least, junior productions are a wonderful opportunity to make lifelong friendships! Liz has been fortunate to make such friendships in the theater and she hopes her cast and crew will too!

Tickets are on sale NOW for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr., and they are selling FAST!

7pm showtimes: November 30th and December 1st, 7th, and 8th

1pm showtimes: December 2nd, 3rd, 9th, and 10th

Purchase your tickets “toot sweet” because you are in for a “truly scrumptious” delight! 

Tickets can be purchased at abramsspotlightproductions.com. Please call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 with any questions!

*For hosting your own wedding or event at the theater, please click here for more information! 

A burlesque dancer sitting down in black and white

Get Yourself a Gimmick: The Rise of Burlesque

This March, ASPI will proudly present Gypsy: A Musical Fable! Considered by many as the greatest American musical, Gypsy is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, an American burlesque entertainer and striptease artist. Gypsy and her sister made their start in vaudeville, but after her sister’s elopement Gypsy pursued burlesque. Gypsy was known for the elegance and wit she brought to her act. The story goes that her act reached new heights when one of her gown’s shoulder straps gave out and the dress fell down. She was encouraged by the audience’s reactions and decided to make it part of her act. Her style was considered subtle in comparison to other burlesque acts.

In Gypsy: A Musical Fable, audiences will see entertainer Gypsy transition from the vaudeville circuit and blossom into a burlesque star. Like the song “You Gotta Get a Gimmick”, Gypsy has to discover her own “gimmick”, what it will take to set her apart and be a successful strip tease artist.

🎶“So get yourself a gimmick and you, too,
Can be a star!”🎶

Gypsy was one of the biggest stars of Minsky’s Burlesque in New York City and she performed with their company for four years. In a world of prohibition and the enforcement of moral convictions, for Minsky to keep their burlesque license, shows needed to be kept clean enough to prevent being raided by the police but risque enough to draw in audiences. Minsky’s was also a competing force with the vaudeville circuit.

Through the life of Gypsy, audiences will see the fading of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque. Vaudeville began in 19th century France and was popular in the United States in the 1880s until the 1930s. It was a form of variety entertainment where multiple separate acts would come together on one playbill. The show could include comedians, clowns, celebrities, magicians, dancers, musicians, ventriloquists, and so much more!

Once considered the heart of American show business, vaudeville was joined in the entertainment industry by burlesque. In 1868 a British burlesque troupe visited New York, Lydia Thompson and the “British Blondes”. The troupe was such a success, the American burlesque emerged. Shows “consisted of three parts: first, songs and ribald comic sketches by low comedians; second, assorted olios and male acts, such as acrobats, magicians and solo singers; and third, chorus numbers and sometimes a burlesque in the English style on politics or a current play. The entertainment was usually concluded by an exotic dancer or a wrestling or boxing match.”

Burlesques were hosted in clubs, cabarets, music halls, and theaters, and its height of popularity in the United States ran from the 1860s and into the 1940s. (Perhaps audiences will recall the performance of burlesque in APSI’s 2018 production of Cabaret!)

Reviving the art of burlesque is notable performer Dita Von Teese. Ms. Von Teese recently made a cameo appearance as the Fairy Goddess in Taylor Swift’s music video for “Bejeweled”, which features Von Teese’s signature martini glass act. Her other signature acts include: The Opium Den, Le Bain Noir, and The Champagne Glass. Her acts are noted for their elaborate dance shows with many characters and props, from a carousel horse to a gigantic powder compact. Von Teese’s fan dance features the world’s largest feather fans!

🎵Let us entertain you, let us make you smile!🎵 Gypsy: A Musical Fable will be on the ASPI stage March 16-18 & 23-25 at 7pm and March 19 & 26 at 1pm. Buy your tickets now! It’s sure to be a real good time! 🎶 Tickets can be purchased at abramsspotlightproductions.com. Please call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 with any questions.

theater masks on a wooden floor

Cheers to 20 Years: ASPI Proudly Presents its 20th Season

From its origins in the Abrams Town Hall, to the 2007 purchase of the church on Maple Street, ASPI is entering into its 20th season strong!

Ali Carlson, ASPI Board Secretary, remembers her first encounter with the theater and its impact in her life. Her story is like the stories told by so many other volunteers who found a second home at the theater.

“I remember walking into the theater for my first production, Seussical: The Musical. Coming from a theater background and family, I didn’t know what to expect. I was new to the community, having just moved to Little Suamico with my husband. That first show got me HOOKED! I was welcomed with open arms and never knew that this theater community could really feel like family, but also, I was able to fill my artistic cup! I still am able to fill my artistic cup! Performing, directing, and theater have always been an important part of my life, and it truly is my mission and joy to continue to bring theater to my local, rural community! So proud to be a part of ASPI and hope it continues for another 20 years!”

Brigette Finger, Board Member, tells about her experience at ASPI: “In many small towns, the local schools aren’t large enough to produce their own musicals. ASPI is so important for youth who are interested in theater, as it provides them with an opportunity to get involved and spread their wings. Anytime you join a nonprofit, you meet people who are passionate about similar things, but I believe community theater goes one level deeper. The people here at ASPI are indeed passionate about theater, but they are also welcoming, kind, dedicated, inspired and fiercely loyal. They are encouraging of all who walk in the doors of the Nancy Byng Community Theater.”

ASPI is so thankful for all of its supporters, actors, and crew. Whether you have been a supporter from the very beginning or are new to the family, your support has carried us through the highs and lows.

Despite such unprecedented challenges as the canceling of the production My Fair Lady in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, ASPI returned to the stage in September 2021 with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, an After Dark Production.

The year 2022 brought us three sensational productions: Beauty and the Beast Jr., The Foreigner, and White Christmas, and we have no intention of slowing down!

The 2023 season will include:

  • Gypsy – March 16, 17, 18, 19 and March 23, 24, 25, 26
  • Lustful Youth (an original play written by Mike Eserkaln) – June 8, 9, 10, 11 and June 15, 16, 17, 18
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jr. – November 30, December 1, 2, 3 and December 7, 8, 9, 10

The 20th season will not only bring new productions, but the theater also has an exciting new goal! By the end of 2023, ASPI has the goal of having 100 NEW Spotlight Sponsors. There are four different levels of Spotlight Sponsors with different levels of perks:

  • Silver Spotlight: $100 – $249
  • Gold Spotlight: $250 – $499
  • Platinum Spotlight: $500 and up
  • NEW! Corporate Sponsorships are available beginning at $950 per show

Plus, it is a tax-deductible donation! You can visit https://abramsspotlightproductions.com/ to set up your donation or call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 to discuss the program that best fits you.

It is so exciting that ASPI has been successful in offering professional grade productions to Oconto County, and we are hopeful that ASPI will continue to be a staple of local theater in our community for many years to come! We also hope that the 20th season will bring new faces, patrons, and talent to the theater! Whatever your skill, ASPI has a place for you! As a nonprofit theater run completely on patronage and donations, we always need community support to keep the doors open. So, let’s keep the fantastic productions coming!

Bill Koehne, Board President, said: “ASPI isn’t just performances and shows, it’s about building a sense of community for everyone involved. Building relationships, fostering friendships, and supporting one another may not be the obvious mission of a theater organization, but it’s an important element of ASPI.”

Be sure to follow Abrams Spotlight Productions on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube so that you never miss an update!

Note: You can read more about the theater’s history, in the past blog post, “Before there were spotlights and solos… there were homilies and hymns!”

Gypsy: A Musical Fable

Come on out to audition for our spring production… Gypsy! This production is directed by Ali Carlson.

Come prepared with 24-32 bars of a song, preferably from a musical. You will also learn a short choreography routine.

This musical calls for male and female roles, age 8 years or older. No experience necessary… all are welcome!

Rehearsals will start first week in January and will be mainly on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday evenings

Questions… contact us at theater.aspi@gmail.com or 920-826-5852.

Gypsy will be presented March 16, 17, 18, 19 and March 23, 24, 25, 26.


Become a Season ticket holder or a Spotlight Sponsor to secure your seats before the general public!

A little about the show:

Regarded by many theatre professionals as the finest musical ever created, “Gypsy” is the ultimate tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success – while secretly yearning for her own. Set all across America in the 1920s and 30s, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born, Arthur Laurents’ landmark show explores the world of two-bit show business with brass, humor, heart, and sophistication.

The celebrated score by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim boasts one glorious hit after another, including: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Some People,” “If Momma Was Married,” “You Gotta Get A Gimmick,” and “Together Wherever We Go.”

Gypsy is presented by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Tams-Witmark LLC

Fly On The Wall

ASPI is proud to present Larry Shue’s two-act comedy The Foreigner, running June 16-19 and June 23 – 26.

When audiences enter the theater, they will be transported to a fishing lodge in rural Georgia. There they will meet two Englishmen, army sergeant Froggy and proofreader Charlie. This tranquil retreat takes a turn when Froggy shares with the host and other guests that Charliedoes not understand a word of English. This means that Charlie is now privy to secrets and scandal galore, unbeknownst to the others! What could possibly go wrong? When Charlie overhears something that could change the future of the lodge forever, will Charlie be able to keep up his farce or will he have to expose his secret to save the day?

If you could be like Charlie for the day, able to listen in without being detected, would you? Where would you be a fly on the wall?

Below is a selection of thought provoking “would you rather” questions that are sure to leave you thinking that with great power comes great responsibility.

  • Would you rather, only be able to see 10 minutes into your own future anytime you want or be able to see anyone’s entire future but, not your own, 10 times throughout your life?
  • Would you rather, relive the same day, repeatedly, for a year or lose a year of your life?
  • Would you rather have magical powers in the normal world and not be able to tell anyone or live in a magical world of your creation but there’s nothing magical about you?
  • Would you rather be able to forget any of your past memories at any time or be able to make someone forget their memory but when they do, you acquire it as your own?
  • Would you rather have to say exactly what you’re thinking all the time or be able to read minds but only the bad things people are thinking about you?
  • Would you rather know all the mysteries of the universe or know every outcome of every choice you make?
  • Would you rather know, without being able to change it, when you’re going to die or how you’re going to die?
  • (Question Source: The Odyssey)

This is one production you don’t want to miss! It’s sure to end with a BANG! Buy your tickets NOW. Any questions? Contact the Box Office at (920) 826-5852. Tickets also available online at Www.abramstheater.com.

white christmas - snow and trees

White Christmas

December 1, 2, 3, 4 and December 8, 9, 10, 11

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is a timeless tale of joy and goodwill about a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written. 

The dazzling score features “Blue Skies” and of course the unforgettable title song, “White Christmas.” Give everyone the gift they’re dreaming of with this merry and bright holiday musical. 

Liz Jolly

Be Our Guest

We are bubbling over with excitement to feature our Beauty and the Beast, Jr. director Ms. Liz Jolly!

This March we invite you to be our guest for APSI’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr. Beauty and the Beast is ASPI’s second “Jr.” production, the first being Elf Jr. when it graced the Abrams’ stage in December 2019.

You may be wondering, what is a Jr. production? A Jr. production is a chance for young and aspiring actors to have a meaningful learning experience and to foster a lifelong love of theater. For the upcoming production of Beauty and the Beast, the cast will range in age from 5-17 years old.

“We have an abundance of extremely talented and ‘hungry for theater’ kids. The middle school and elementary school kids might not have a theater program. The high school kids might have one, but the amount of kids is too large and the funding too low to have as meaningful/tailored of a learning experience… ASPI also has an abundance of very talented and trained leader/teachers available to the kids. Without listing everyone’s credentials, many people on the production team have studied, trained, or worked extensively in their area,” explains Liz.

The production of Beauty and the Beast offers the fantastic opportunity for characterization, which Liz thinks is a great chance for young actors to deepen their skills, whether acting, singing, or dancing.

“The cast has been great – so much enthusiasm shown so far… We have some actors who have never been on stage before and I’m so excited to see them grow, connect to their characters, and hopefully love it,” shares Liz.

ASPI is in a special position to provide a unique theater experience to its cast and crew:

“I love performing but more than that I love bringing and sharing a love of theatre to/with my hometown community. I think the most special thing about ASPI is the amount of full families we have involved in our group. There aren’t many spaces for full family involvement that put children and parents/grandparents/aunt and uncles/etc. on the same level like acting on a stage or working on a crew together can. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that my parents won’t be around forever so I try to never take for granted each dance step I get to do with my mom and each nail I get to hammer in or moment on stage I share with my dad,” expresses Liz.

Audiences should be ready for a very magical and immersive experience when they take their seats in March!

“It’s called DISNEY’S Beauty and the Beast, so the tech director David Jolly (my dad) is aiming for Disney level sets, environment, and detail. Our challenge is to match that on the cast side, and based on rehearsals so far, we’re going to blow it out of the park! … I don’t want to give anything away but we’re pulling out pretty much every theater magic we can! Katie Jackson, the costumer, has done sketches of the costumes and they will be some of the best and most elaborate (adult or kids show) Abrams has done. We also have a professional makeup artist, Lance Williams, volunteering his time to help with the Beast,” Liz shares.

When not on the stage or directing, Liz is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Heritage Hill State Park. She enjoys reading, cooking (especially making soups), and venturing back into sewing. She recently joined her first Dungeons & Dragons “campaign” with friends from Guys and Dolls!

Liz holds a BA in Theatre Studies and Classical Studies from St. Norbert College and completed a 2 year conservatory program in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Liz has been involved with ASPI since 2010. Off stage she has directed Meet Me in St. Louis and Elf Jr. Her on stage roles include Psuedelous in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, and The Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone. Liz’s theater experience also includes work with Theatre Z, PlayByPlay Theatre, Evergreen, Green Bay Community Theatre, SNC Summer Music Theatre, and appearances in Drunken Shakespeare at Comedy City in De Pere.

Put our service to the test! Showtimes for Beauty and the Beast, Jr. are March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 at 7pm and March 6, 12, 13 at 1pm. Tickets are already selling fast! So take a seat and we’ll provide the rest!

Beauty and the Beast art

Tale as Old as Time

But just how old is the tale?

Beauty and the Beast is a tale that has dazzled audiences since Walt Disney Pictures released the animated musical classic in 1991.

But the tale of Beauty and the Beast has spanned generations and across countries! The tale that is now as old as time first originated in 1740 as a French fairy tale, La Belle et la Bête, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Villeneuve set out to write this “salon tale” to stress to noble born girls the importance of marrying within their class (more specifically arranged marriages). While Villeneuve’ La Belle et la Bête is the oldest known tale, variations of this classic tale can be found around the world.

In 1756, French novelist Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont shortened the tale for middle class children. Beaumont rewrote the original French tale so that it was a tale of moral instruction. This is the most known and retold rendition of Beauty and the Beast.

For those unfamiliar with Beaumont’s tale, let us go to provincial France, where there may not be singing cutlery, but it is nonetheless magical:

In Beaumont’s tale, Beauty is the youngest of six children to a wealthy merchant. When the family loses their fortune, Beauty and her three older brothers and two older sisters, along with their father, must move from the city to a small country home. While Beauty takes on their new life gracefully, her sisters do not, and they are jealous of Beauty’s looks and her kindness. On a trip to restore his family’s fortune, the merchant asked his daughters what gifts he could bring back for them. While the two sisters requested lavish gifts, Beauty only requested a single rose.

The merchant went on his trip to no avail, and on his return home he became disoriented. Lost in the snow and rain, the merchant came upon a magical palace. No one was home, but the table was set with an abundance of delicious food, a fire was roaring, and a bed awaited him.

After a restful night, the merchant intended to return home, but not before he cut a rose for Beauty from the palace garden. That is when the palace’s resident, the Beast, stormed in demanding the merchant send his daughter to live in the palace for the attempted theft.

When Beauty goes to live in the palace, the imminent death she feared never came, instead the Beast showered her with books and other luxuries. Every night the Beast would ask Beauty to marry him, and each night Beauty would decline.

One gift the Beast gave Beauty was a looking glass. Through the looking glass Beauty was able to see that her father was sick. Magic transported Beauty to her ailing father, but the Beast warned Beauty that if she didn’t return to him in one week, he would surely die without her.

Reunited with her family, Beauty’s father’s health was restored, but Beauty’s sisters were jealous of her fine things and good fortune with the Beast. They were so jealous they tried to trick her into staying away from the Beast longer than a week, in hopes that she would lose her good fortune.

But Beauty is able to see through her looking glass that the Beast is dying, so by magic she is transported back to the palace where she declares that she loves the Beast and wants to marry him. After declaring her love, the Beast is turned back into a handsome prince and the two are married. And you know how it goes, they live happily ever after!

For those of you who made it to the end of the enchanting tale, were there any surprises? Beauty not being called Belle? No singing candlesticks and clocks? Beauty’s father being a wealthy merchant not an inventor? Beauty having two evil sisters?

While Beaumont’s rendition was the inspiration for Walt Disney Pictures’ 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman added the musical magic! The film starred Broadway actress Paige O’Hara as Belle, actor Robby Benson as the Beast, and actress and Broadway star Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts. It was a success! The film was a 1992 Academy Award winner for Best Original Score (Alan Menken) and Best Original Song for “Beauty and the Beast” AND a 1992 Golden Globe Award winner for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, Best Original Score- Motion Picture, and Best Original Song- Motion Picture for the song “Beauty and the Beast”. In 1993, the film was a Grammy Award winner for Best Album for Children and Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocal for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s duet to the song “Beauty and the Beast”.

But that isn’t where the tale ended! In 1994 the musical Beauty and the Beast debuted on Broadway! All songs from the 1991 animated film were used in the musical, and composer Alan Menken along with lyricist Tim Rice composed six new songs for the musical. One song in particular, “Human Again” didn’t make it into the cut for the 1991 film but is now one of the musical numbers featured in the musical. Beauty and the Beast became Broadway’s tenth-longest running production! The musical was Tony Award nominated for Best Musical and was a Tony Award winner for Best Costume Design.

Fast forward about 20 years, Beauty and the Beast hits the big screen again with the 2017 live-action remake starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. In this adaptation Belle is an empowered young woman and bibliophile desperate for adventure outside of her small town. This live-action remake does not include the songs written for the Broadway musical but instead features four new songs including “Evermore”, sung by the Beast as he holds onto hope of Belle returning to him. And once again, Celine Dion is featured as she lends her vocals to the new original song “How Does a Moment Last Forever”, a nostalgic ballad.

You can catch this timeless musical as Beauty and the Beast, Jr. debuts on the Abrams’ stage March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 at 7pm and March 6, 12, 13 at 1pm. Tickets are on sale NOW! We cordially invite you to BE OUR GUEST!