dark theater and stage with lights and curtain closed

Glovers Presents Comedy City at ASPI

Hello Spring!

Spring 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. Check their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ComedyCityDePere/

Glovers in Abrams will be hosting a Comedy City improv show on Saturday, May 4th. This improv show will be sure to have your sides in stitches the entire evening! Nothing is scripted!

Stop in at Glovers afterwards and meet the cast and tell them thanks.

Tickets are $14 and are available online OR call the Box Office at 920-826-5852.

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


Grilling out tonight?  Need some corn?

Come on out to the Shell Station in Abrams to buy sweet corn!!  Every purchase will go towards our Raise the Roof campaign!

GO to 2516 W Frontier Rd, Abrams, WI 54101

Abrams Theater will be selling corn each week: Starting NOW!

August 24, 25, 26, 27, 31 and September 1, 2, 3, 4

We will also take pre-orders over the phone. Call us at the box office at 920-826-5852.

Thank you to The Konkel Family for the donation of corn for us to sell.

Pre-purchase Here

Auditions April 4-5 in Abrams

Auditions are April 4th and 5th, 6pm-8pm at The Nancy Byng Community Theater.

The play calls for male and female roles (16 years or older).

Lustful Youth is a fast paced, lots of word play show. Everyone gets to play multiple over the top fun to play characters.

It’s about a guy, Walt, who is contractually obliged to write a soap opera that is statistically perfect to get the biggest audience. As Walt writes, the show is produced (no rewrites!), He has “help” from his imaginary friend/muse Dill, but Dill keeps wanting to make things fun and interesting not statistically planned.

Hilarity ensues as Walt writes himself into his own show. It gets pretty darned zany by the end.

The Characters:

Walt – Television statistician, not a writer! Is mostly in panic and damage control through most of this.

Dill – Walt’s imaginary friend. Walt’s Id, maybe? I dunno I don’t want to get too highbrow about it.

Tony – Walt’s boss. A fast talking hard as nails business man. Time is money and he loves money.

Carl – Tony’s assistant. Sniviling Yes Man. Tries to be a tough guy. Fails.

Deb – Tony’s intern. Flighty and dutiful.

April – Fictional love interest in the soap opera Walt is writing “Lustful Youth”. Super sexy. Based off the cover of a romance novel so she’s dressed like a pirate queen.

Jake One – April’s husband. Played by the same actor as Tony. Loser. Nerd. Oblivious. Later thinks he’s a folk singer.

Jake Two – Played by the same as Carl. Soap opera hunk. Based off the same romance novel cover as April. Later he becomes a plumber, and other things.

Jake Three – Played by same as Walt. Mega Business man. The most successful and loved man in the play.

June – Played by the same as Dill. The female counter point to Jake Three. The manipulator.

May – Played by the same as Deb. Sultry seductress. Later she becomes possessed by Elvis.

Nora – Played by the same as April. Walt’s real life ex-girlfriend.

“Lustful Youth” to be presented June 8-11 and June 15-18. This comedy, written and directed by Mike Eserkaln, calls for male and female roles, age 16 and older. No experience is necessary, and all are welcome to audition.

Individuals will have two opportunities to audition: 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, or Wednesday, April 5, at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams. Individuals who audition should come prepared to read from the script. Rehearsals will start in April.

Interested in helping out behind the scenes? ASPI is looking for volunteers to build and paint sets, sell concessions, sew costumes, usher, and help with other tasks that contribute to a community theater’s success. Contact ASPI at 920-826-5852 or theater.aspi@gmail.com to learn about volunteer opportunities.

Tickets for “Lustful Youth” go on sale April 15. Season ticket holders and Spotlight Sponsors can purchase tickets before the general public.

ASPI is celebrating its 20th season of community theater and set a goal to obtain 100 new Spotlight Sponsors before the end of the year. The theater seeks to raise over $30,000 for a new roof. Donors can choose from four sponsorship levels: Silver ($100), Gold ($250), Platinum ($500), or Corporate ($950 per show). ASPI is a volunteer-led 501(c)3 organization that relies on donations, ticket sales, and fundraising to operate. To become a Spotlight Sponsor, visit Abramstheater.com and click “Support.”

Hitting the Heights: A Director Spotlight

🎶You’ll be swell, you’ll be great.
Gonna have the whole world on the plate.
Starting here, starting now,
Honey, everything’s coming up roses.🎵

Director – Ali Carlson

To kick off the theater’s 20th season, ASPI proudly presents Gypsy: A Musical Fable, with seasoned ASPI actor Ali Carlson making her directorial debut!

Being raised in a theater family, Ali got her start at the young age of 5. Her father was a Technical Director by profession and her mother was a director. Ali looks forward to following in her mother’s footsteps, which she knows are big shoes to fill!

Ali’s first involvement with ASPI was in 2011 for Seussical the Musical and her most recent role was as Judy in the 2022 production of White Christmas. When she’s not enchanting audiences, Ali is a Care Management Supervisor for Lakeland Care Inc.

While Gypsy will be Ali’s directing debut, she did try her hand at directing back in 2020. Well, we all know what happened then, COVID. The desire to direct deepened despite the challenging times! Ali is very much looking forward to seeing her vision come to life!

She is also enjoying the opportunity to bring her expertise, both in acting AND choreography, to the cast! For this production there are technically “two” casts, one being the young kids in the beginning and the second being their adult counterparts. So Ali is working with the best of both worlds! She shares that the talent in this production is incredible and everyone is so dedicated. There is also a camaraderie between the cast and everyone involved that it is truly so welcoming.

Straight from the director herself, there is much for the audience to look forward to! The musical is inspired by the American burlesque entertainer Gypsy Rose and her mother, “the ultimate show business mother.” While the musical will introduce audiences to the entertainment of vaudeville and burlesque, the musical is a comedy! With its humor and recognizable songs, Gypsy is sure to delight and entertain you!

🎵Curtain up. Light the lights. We got nothing to hit but the heights.

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

Getting ready for the Auction

Abrams Theater to Hold Online Auction

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

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

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

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

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!

Social Distancing Check-In!

Hello to our lovely supporters and followers!

Even though we would love to welcome each and every one of you and dazzle you with our shows, things beyond our control prevent us from opening our doors. But while the days are long and we are confined to our homes, there are other ways that you can connect with us….

Keep up with us on social media! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and stay up to date on upcoming theater news. Check out our website!  You can even catch up on previous posts on our blog. The blog is filled with past interviews, history of the theater, and much more.

We wanted to assure you that ASPI is not letting the pandemic stop us from progress on future productions! Taking advantage of the unlimited possibilities of technology, ASPI held virtual auditions for the comedic play The Diaries of Adam and Eve. Cast and crew remain optimistic and driven 🙂

Like other nonprofits, we thrive off of community support, particularly through ticket sales. With our production of My Fair Lady postponed, these are uncertain times ahead financially as ASPI strives to be a stronghold in the community for years to come. Please consider supporting your local theater!

The theater is a place where one can escape from everyday life. While we are confined to our homes, let us all remain hopeful and confident in the joys ahead!

Wishing everyone safety and good health! 

ASPI Postpones Production

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Wear: Eliza’s Runway

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

Everyday Styles

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

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

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

The Hair

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

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

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

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

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

Go to Accessory

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

Formal Night on the Town

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

Dare to Wear

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

Eliza on Stage

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

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

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

My Fair Lady

Oh Eliza!

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

Wendy Hiller
Wendy Hiller Reading

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

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

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

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

Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews

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

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

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

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

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn

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

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

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

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

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

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