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 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!”

christmas decorations on a street

ASPI’s Christmas List: Help Us Reach Our Goals in 2023

You are never too old to have a Christmas list! It’s just that as years go by, your wants and desires change and grow with you. Our wish this Christmas is that our friends and community will experience the peace and joy of the season!

If ASPI has been a part of your family traditions, may we make a humble holiday request?

The New Year will be, drum roll please… ASPI’s 20th SEASON! 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
    • Acknowledgement in the program/website
    • Early access to tickets
  • Gold Spotlight: $250 – $499
    • Acknowledgement in the program/website
    • Early access to tickets
    • 2 free tickets to each show
    • 1 drink voucher per show
    • Picture with the leads of the show on stage
  • Platinum Spotlight: $500 and up
    • Acknowledgement in the program/website
    • Early access to tickets
    • 4 free tickets to each show
    • 2 drink vouchers per show
    • Picture with the leads of the show on stage
    • Dedicated parking
    • Invitation to attend a rehearsal
  • NEW! Corporate Sponsorships are available beginning at $950 per show

ASPI’s next capital project is to replace the theater’s roof. Our campaign “Raise the Roof” seeks to raise $30,000 to fund the project! Already the theater is counting their blessings as the Oconto Falls Lioness Club has generously donated $1,000 to kick-start the campaign. Plus, all proceeds from the December 6th performance of White Christmas went to the “Raise the Roof” campaign”. Tickets for the performance sold out in 72 hours!

This season, please consider including ASPI in your holiday planning, whether it be through a sponsorship or donation amount of your choosing. You can visit to set up your donation or call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 to discuss the program that best fits you.

From our ASPI family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases and a blessed New Year! We look forward to welcoming you to the theater in 2023!

Theater Launches Raise the Roof Campaign

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. launched its Raise the Roof campaign with a $1,000 donation from the Oconto Falls Lioness Lions Club. Stephanie Holman, president of the club, presented a $1,250 check to Bill Koehne, president of ASPI, with $1,000 earmarked for a new roof and $250 for a new toilet. Holman said the donation to ASPI fits well with the Lion Lioness Club’s mission to serve the community.

“The theater gives unique life experiences to a diverse group of people in our community, whether they are attending the live performances, the actors, or working behind the scenes. We feel it enriches our community, especially with the youth and the veterans,” she said.

Stephanie Holman, president of the Oconto Falls Lioness Lions Club, presents a ceremonial check to Bill Koehne, president of Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. The club contributed $1,000 to the community theater’s Raise the Roof fund and $250 for a new toilet.
Stephanie Holman, president of the Oconto Falls Lioness Lions Club, presents a ceremonial check to Bill Koehne, president of Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. The club contributed $1,000 to the community theater’s Raise the Roof fund and $250 for a new toilet.

“It’s exciting to have a local organization like the Lioness become our initial donor in kicking off the Raise the Roof campaign,” Koehne said. “Within the first couple of weeks, other donors stepped up to contribute an additional $2,500, but we’re still a long way from achieving our goal.”

The theater hopes to raise over $30,000 for a new roof. Koehne encouraged people to become Spotlight Sponsors, either Silver ($100), Gold ($250) or Platinum ($500). All sponsors receive early access to tickets and recognition in show programs. Gold and Platinum sponsors receive two or four tickets, respectively, to each show.

Approaching its 20th season, ASPI performs three or four shows every year at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, formerly St.Louis Catholic Church in Abrams. The facility, built in 1927 and home to ASPI since 2007, has undergone a series of transformations. These include the construction of a stage with modular set booms, backstage dressing rooms, a concession stand, a light, sound, and projections booth, and restoration of the original hardwood floor. ASPI built an outdoor patio and replaced the old church pews with more comfortable, padded chairs. The roof is the next project on the list.

The latest ASPI show, “White Christmas,” will be presented in eight performances, Dec. 1-4 and 8-11. An anonymous donor provided 50 free tickets to veterans, and the eight shows sold out by mid-November. So, a ninth, Raise the Roof show was added on Dec. 6.

“All but seven seats sold out within the first 72 hours,” Koehne said, referring to the Raise the Roof show. “What a tremendous show of community spirit and support of community theater.”

Only single seats are available for “White Christmas,” and the box office has a waitlist in the event of cancellations.

Over the past 20 years, ASPI has presented many amazing shows for the community to enjoy. None of these performances would be possible without the theater’s volunteers and sponsors. Please make your tax-deductible donation today.

Meet the Director: Nostalgia, Love, & Gratitude in a White Christmas

Mrs. Debra Jolly has always loved theater, but it wasn’t until her time in college when she really started to learn all the parts of a production, that she was hooked! There are so many areas of theater, not just acting, singing and dance, but also sets, lights, special effects, costumes, marketing, coordinating volunteers, research, and so much more. She has been involved in any area needed to bring a show to life!

Mrs. Jolly’s time with ASPI began in the summer of 2010, when her daughter asked her to run lights for Arthur and Guinevere. Since that first production with ASPI, she has added other roles and talents to her resume: choreography, lighting, props, costumes, and sets. Mrs. Jolly also uses her many talents in technical and administrative areas, such as her role as Vice President of ASPI.

In 2018, Mrs. Jolly made her directorial debut in ASPI’s production of Singin’ in the Rain. Mrs. Jolly wore two hats for the production, that of both director and choreographer. She will wear both hats again for the upcoming production of White Christmas.

All involved in producing the show are focused on making every part of White Christmas well crafted. This includes the costumes and choreography! The music makes you want to dance and the costumes will be a mix of 1950s “street clothes” and “dance costumes”. It is a wonderful story, enhanced with great music and dancing, brought to life with clever sets and lots of costumes. Mrs. Jolly loves two musical numbers, in particular – “Blue Skies”, with its

amazing jazzy music, and “I Love a Piano,” with its vaudeville sound and its very demanding tap sequence. Be sure to keep an eye out for the amazing “piano skirts”!

Everyone gets a chance to shine in this show! From the leading roles, the smaller but no less interesting roles, and the ensemble who sing and dance in almost every musical number, this hardworking cast is dedicated to making this production a heartwarming and entertaining experience for their audiences!

While this stage version of White Christmas does not adhere exactly to the script of the classic 1954 movie, the audience will still experience those lovely feelings of nostalgia, love, and gratitude. So “go to sleep and dream of snow” and we’ll see you in our audience in December!

Buy your tickets NOW! Showtimes are December 1st-4th and 8th-11th with an extra “Raise the Roof” performance added Tuesday December 6th. Only single seats are available- however waitlists have been started for any cancellations that come in so give us a call today to get put on a waitlist. Tickets can be purchased at Please call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 with any questions.

ASPI Third Annual Online Auction

Preparing for the auction
2023 Donations needed for auction

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. seeks donations for its third annual online auction scheduled in December. A wide variety of prizes will be up for grabs at the ASPI Spotlight Auction dates/times are: Thursday, Dec 8 (noon) through Sunday, Dec 11 (8pm).

These dates coincide with the performance of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” which 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. “White Christmas” will be presented Dec. 1-4 and 8-11 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 Donations are due Monday, Nov. 18, 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.

Duty’s Call in White Christmas: ASPI Honored to Recognize Veterans

White Christmas opens in the midst of World War II. While in Europe in 1944, Captain Bob Wallace and Private Phil Davis learn that their General Waverly is being relieved of his command. Being a former Broadway star and an aspiring performer, respectively, Wallace and Davis send off their general with a chorus and an emotional farewell. From that moment on, the musical continually reflects the bond and support that veterans offer to their fellow comrades.

General Waverly is to be performed by Oconto Falls’ very own Bob Maloney! Mr. Maloney is honored to portray the general because as a veteran himself, he understands that the time spent with fellow soldiers is a time that defines them for the rest of their lives. 

Mr. Maloney, who currently resides in his own little piece of heaven on Beaver Lake, grew up in Green Bay in the 50’s & 60’s, and he moved to Oconto Falls as a sophomore in high school, graduating in 1972.

After enlisting in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he served from 1972 – 1976 as a Hospital Corpsman (Medic), supporting Vietnam veterans as they returned from active duty.  Duties included Great Lakes Hospital, 9th Naval District. He also pulled duty as a Brig Chaser with the Marines as their Corpsman on cross country searches for deserters, AWOL, and missing Navy and Marine Corps enlisted men and women. A few of his stops included Cherry Point, San Diego and Camp Lejeune.

In 1973, while on leave, Mr. Maloney married his high school sweetheart, Laurie Peterson. They share 2 children and 3 grandchildren, and this December they will celebrate their 49th anniversary. As Mr. Maloney says, “I’ve been a Colonel in the Auction Business, a Commander in The Legion, and now a General in White Christmas, yet I’m still just a Private at home.”

For 43 years, Mr. Maloney was self-employed as owner of Midcentral Sales, Inc. and Midcentral Auction Team. Even though he thinks he’s recently retired, his phone keeps ringing. Presently, he serves as commander of the Oconto Falls American Legion Post 302, president of the Oconto Falls Area Veterans Monument, member of the Referendum for Oconto Falls Schools, and board member of Spruce Pine Hill Cemetery.

Mr. Maloney’s first acting role was in ASPI’s 2020 production of Something Funny Happened On the Way to the Forum, and he is proud to once again join this group of talented local actors. 

ASPI has accepted a very generous donation of 50 tickets so that veterans can see the production of White Christmas for free. It is a privilege to offer these tickets to our veterans! Like Mr. Maloney says, veterans in our area always like to “pay it forward” by volunteering and assisting others that served our country. We hope veterans and their families will enjoy the show and that it will take them back to a simpler time. 

The first 50 veterans to call the Box Office, will receive a free ticket! Showtimes include December 1st-3rd and 8th-10th at 7pm, and the 4th and 11th at 1pm. Audiences can also purchase tickets at Please call the Box Office at (920) 826-5852 with any questions.

Mike Eserkaln, director of the upcoming production “The Foreigner”

Make ‘Em Laugh: A Director Spotlight

Drum roll please… ASPI is excited to introduce Mike Eserkaln, director of the upcoming production “The Foreigner”. You may have seen Mr. Eserkaln on the stage in ASPI’s production of “Oliver”, and most recently in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”.

Outside of the theater, Mike is an artist of various media: painting, digital, photography, improvisation, and writing. His work can be found at or

Mike comes to ASPI with 38 years of theater experience, including improvisational comedy. While “The Foreigner” is his first experience directing a previously published play, he has directed countless original scripts. “The Foreigner” was actually the first show that got him involved in theater.

Mike describes the play as doing a wonderful job of building the absurdity to a crazy climax. He has been looking forward to watching this show over and over again in rehearsals as all the cast and crew’s faces hurt from laughing. He can’t wait for an audience to experience that too! Audiences can be assured that this comedy will leave you in stitches!

Speaking of cast, Mike shares that the cast fit their roles quite naturally, and you would never guess that the youngest cast member is only 15 years old!

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with most of the cast before, so I knew what I was going to get with them. This is the first time I’ve been directing most of them, and of course they are already exceeding my expectations,” shares Mike.

“The Foreigner” will be presented June 16-19 and 23-26. Buy your tickets NOW. Tickets are available online at Any questions? Contact the Box Office at (920) 826-5852.

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

the foreigner logo

The Foreigner

June 16, 17, 18, 19 and June 23, 24, 25 & 26

The Foreigner is a fun, two-act comedy by American playwright Larry Shue. The story takes place in a fishing lodge in rural Tilghman County, Georgia where two Englishmen arrive as guests.

When people at the lodge try to talk to Charlie, however, he remains silent and claims to not understand English. Taking the explanation that he’s a non-English speaker as fact, the lodge’s guests quickly begin revealing their secrets, and Charlie soon discovers scandals amongst some of the residents of the lodge, along with a few other hilarious escapades.

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!