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 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!

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 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.


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! 

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!

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


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



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


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


Unload all items in refrigerator


Clean/organize scene shop and furniture storage area


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

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!

Abrams Spotlight Wedding Show is April 5

The Stadium View, JPS Nvitations and Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. will present the Abrams Spotlight Wedding Show at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple Street, Abrams. Brides, grooms, their families and friends are invited to attend the show, scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5, at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, formerly a quaint country church, has been newly renovated and is now open for weddings and funerals.

Guests at the Abrams Spotlight Wedding Show will have the opportunity to speak directly to a variety of wedding vendors from Northeast Wisconsin. Vendors will provide information about their products and services, including wedding cakes, music, photography, invitations, make-up, and more.

Drawings for prizes will be held throughout the event.

Tickets are $10; however, fees will be waived for the first 200 registrants. Call the Abrams theater box office to reserve your tickets, 920-826-5852.

Wedding vendors interested in exhibiting at the show are encouraged to call the box office for prices and availability, 920-826-5852.


Notice something different about our upcoming winter musical?! ASPI is proud to present Elf The Musical, Jr. That Jr. part is very important because it means that all the cast and production crew are between the ages of 6 and 15. This production is 100% youth driven!

While ASPI makes it a priority to have multi-generational musicals with children’s roles, this will be the very first musical with an entire youth cast. This also includes youth in the production staff, where they will be mentored by their adult counterpart.  You can see the entire lineup of cast and crew here.

Elf The Musical Jr. is being directed by Liz Jolly along with her junior director Sydney Surber. An instant Christmas classic, this musical production of the hit film is an opportunity for our young cast and crew to shine!

In their working relationship as director and junior director, Liz includes Sydney in all her duties and decisions. Sydney’s role as junior director involves various roles such as blocking part of a scene, casting parts in a song, and attending production meetings. Just to name a few!

It may be a junior production, but Liz is demanding the highest professional-level quality from the cast and production staff. She believes they are all more than up to the challenge! Since the “adult” characters in the production are also played by children, casting requires looking at each child is capable of, which gives youth the opportunity to play roles they normally wouldn’t.

The great opportunity a junior production brings to the theater, Liz explains, is that it allows junior members to become more involved in different aspects of theater, such as production. Production roles, while generally not considered as popular as acting on the stage, are just as essential for a show’s success.  Liz cannot wait to see how her young cast and crew grow in their roles both on and off stage.

Liz also believes that directing a junior production breathes new life into all parts of the job. The adults involved in the production are mentoring their junior counterparts, which involves explaining what they are doing and why. Which Liz thinks is great because sometimes why things are done can be forgotten and this mentorship encourages communication.

Both Liz and Sydney believe everyone should make attending Elf The Musical, Jr. part of their Christmas festivities this winter season. This show is sure to get you in the holiday spirit with its huge song and dance numbers and its way of tugging at one’s heart strings. This hilarious show with it’s positive uplifting message will take you from Bah Humbug to Sparklejollytwinklejinglely!

Want to be on Santa’s nice list? Order your tickets for Elf The Musical, Jr. NOW. They make the perfect gift! Showtimes are December 6-8 and December 13-15. It’s sure to be a Santa approved evening ?

Meet the Directors

Liz has been involved with ASPI since 2010. Her many roles have included director of Meet Me in St. Louis, Miss Hannigan in Annie, Kathy Selden in Singing in the Rain, and The Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone, where she also lended her talents as costume designer. 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 The Green Room Lounge in De Pere.

Liz is more than qualified to mentor this young cast and crew as she holds a BA in Theatre Studies and Classical Studies from St. Norbert college and an additional degree in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

Miss Sydney Surber has been involved in theatre since the age of 4 years old! Elf will be her eighth production with ASPI. She also had the opportunity to shadow her mom as assistant director for ASPI’s production of Barefoot in the Park. A 6th grader at Bay City Christian School, Sydney is on the volleyball team. When not acting or playing volleyball, she enjoys taking piano and voice lessons.