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What Christmas Means to Me

Picture this… You are lying in your bed and your eyes begin to flutter open. You look at your window and see that the sun is barely peeking through. It’s too early to wake up, so you begin to drift off. But wait! It’s Christmas morning!

SantaYou shoot out of bed and rush to your door. You go to wake up your parents, but there’s no time! You have to check under the tree! After months and months of asking and multiple letters to Santa because I have obviously been [fingers crossed] very good this year, your Christmas dream is about to come true. That’s right, the present you have been waiting all year is before you. Look at that perfectly wrapped box. You can almost taste your anticipation. You open the box… But what is this????? This isn’t what I asked for?!

Have you ever been there? Well Ralphie Parker knows the feeling. He so desperately wanted a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. The mother of all presents! If you don’t know how the story goes, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say this:

“You’ll shoot your eye out!”

But if we are being honest, looking back on Christmases past, what do we remember most? Is it the presents? Or is it making cut out cookies with your grandmother. Picking out a Christmas tree. Going sledding. Singing carols. Snowball fights. Building a snowman. Sitting with your family as you all enjoy Christmas dinner. All that and more are the priceless moments that will last for a lifetime. Those are the cherished moments and traditions you will look back on in years to come with nostalgia. Now that is what Christmas is all about.

How will you use this holiday season to make a memory that will last a lifetime?

Need some holiday cheer? No bah humbugs allowed here! Tickets are going fast for ASPI’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical. For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

Words from the Cabaret Director: Cate Kopkey

From the company that brought you the laugh out loud hit “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, After Dark Productions is pleased to present its daring and seductive performance of Cabaret. The American musical will be ASPI’s second After Dark Production and is directed by none other than Cate Kopkey.

So, sit back and get an insider look into this tantalizing production straight from the director herself.

How did you choose the production Cabaret?
This was somewhat of a fluke! The committee that chooses our productions was struggling to fill the After Dark slot and mentioned that Cabaret was available. I JUMPED at the chance! This was a bucket list show for me to direct because of its sometimes unnoticed depth.

What makes Cabaret different from other past shows at ASPI?
Cabaret requires a little bit of everything, and that makes it different (and difficult). Dancing, singing, acting, all three are a must! The show also involves the audience in a new way. The audience is actually part of the Cabaret, and we blur the lines between so many scenes in the show that it causes the audiences to really be fully involved.

What has been the most fun part about working on this production?
This cast is incredible. They were running scenes off book at the first rehearsal. They dig into everything 100% from choreography, music, to all of the nitty gritty dramatic scenes and that makes my job easy and a TON of fun. I can push them and they just go with it! It’s such a supportive creative environment that everyone is free to try things without fear or judgement.

What has been the biggest challenge in making this show a reality?
Making sure that everything is time appropriate has been a challenge. The Kit Kat Klub is a seedy place, stuck in the 1920s. That’s a hard atmosphere to achieve and with that comes old mannerisms, posture, and styles. As if the cast didn’t have enough on their plate!

Why should someone come out and see the show?
This show will keep your attention from start to finish! It is always a quick transition from song and dance to sad and serious and right back.

Bonus Round:

Describe the show in three words:
Progressive Emotional Powerful

Favorite Number?

Favorite quote?
“Fraulein Schneider, don’t settle for the lowest apple on the tree, the one easiest to reach. Climb up a little way. It is worth it. Up there the apples are much more delicious.” – Herr Shultz

Which character do you relate to most? And why?
Oh gosh. That’s a tough question! Probably Fraulein Schneider. She is steady and consequently nervous about change.

This is sure to be one swanky number that you won’t want to miss! Sally Bowles, says it best, “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play. Life is a cabaret, old chum, come to the cabaret!”

Tickets are on sale now for showings on September 13-16 and 20-23. For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum

When you think of a cabaret, what comes to mind?

Do you think of a night club? Slinky clad women dazzling audiences with singing and dancing? An extravagant and dramatic performance?

You may be surprised to find out that that the first cabarets looked very different from what we see today.

The first cabarets were of European origin and began in France in the 16th century. Instead of a theater or night club, a 16th century French cabaret was more of a meeting place where people could come for wine and food, much like modern restaurants.

Today when you think of a cabaret, it may conjure images of a burlesque. You may even think of the musical Cabaret and the feature film it inspired.

The original Broadway musical Cabaret premiered in 1966 featuring Jill Haworth as Sally. The musical is based on the play I Am A Camera (1951) by John Van Druten and Christopher Isherwood’s novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939). The original Broadway production was a winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, and Best Direction of a Musical.

The musical was later adapted into the 1972 film, Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York. The director, Bob Fosse, was an Academy Award winner, Tony Award Winner, and Primetime Emmy Award winner.

The film was not without controversy. The film met with criticism, even censorship, for its themes of sexual innuendo, homosexuality, Nazism, and club life. But controversy did not keep the film down! It went on to be a winner of eight academy awards, including Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Liza Minnelli), and Best Cinematography.

Feeling a little risqué? Come and see ASPI’s daring production of Cabaret on September 13-16 and 20-23. Tickets are on sale NOW! For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.


The Newlywed Game: ASPI Edition. Play the couples game before you see ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Barefoot in the ParkLet’s meet the couples! First, we have Corie and Paul Bratter, of “Barefoot in the Park.” Still in the honeymoon phase and living on love. And we also have you, our audience! See how well you and the special person in your life know each other. Whether you have been married for one week or 50 years, how well do you really know your spouse? So, grab your partner and let’s play The Newlywed Game: ASPI Edition.

How to Play: This game is intended for couples. The questions are separated into three rounds. For the first two rounds, the goal is for each spouse to correctly guess the other spouse’s responses. For round one, the wife will first answer the question, and then after, the husband will try and guess the correct answer. For round two, the husband will answer first, and then the wife will try and guess the husband’s response. For round three (the bonus round), both spouses will answer each question at the same time.

The more the answers that match up, the better you know your spouse. Good luck to each couple!

Round One (Wives answer first)
How many pairs of shoes does your wife own?
What color are your wife’s eyes (no cheating 😉)?
What is your wife’s biggest pet peeve?
If you were cleaning out the closets, what is the one thing of your husband’s that you would throw away?
When it comes to replacing the toilet paper roll, should the paper go over or under?

Round Two (Husbands answer first)
What is the last movie you saw together?
What is your husband’s least favorite household chore?
Is your wife always late, always early, or always right on time?
If your wife is texting someone, who is she most likely texting?
What was your wife wearing on your first date with her?

Bonus round
Who do you trust more behind the wheel?
Who is the more romantic one in the relationship?
Who is the biggest procrastinator?
Who said “I love you” first?
When the two of you are in the car together, who controls the radio?

Need a unique date night idea? Come see Corie and Paul Bratter in ASPI’s production of “Barefoot in the Park,” which will be performed June 15-17 & 22-24. Tickets are on sale NOW! For more information on “Barefoot in the Park” or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

(Questions taken from: &

Lights, Camera, Technology

ASPI loginThe Abrams theater has come a long way since its first show in the Abrams Town Hall. You may have noticed changes in our sets and cast, but what you may not see is all the technology behind the scenes that make our productions possible.
So, what new technologies have come to the theater?

For one there is our website. Not only is it a great tool for buying, reserving, and printing tickets, it is also an important asset to the cast. Cast members use the website to share information and to access videos of the choreography, along with plunk tracks which help cast members learn their music.
There is also a phone app called MT Pit, which the theater purchases so that cast members can practice their music at home.

As you can see, the theater also has a social media presence on Facebook. With the popularity of Facebook, it has been a great way to reach out so that our audiences and viewers are up to date on all the goings on at the theater. You can also get updates through our blog and newsletter. You will never miss a blog post or show time again!

You also might have seen the new screen projector in action during the most recent production of Singin’ in the Rain. The new screen is a unique addition to the theater that can be used during a production to advertise upcoming show times or to incorporate in the set.

When it comes to a production, there are many hands and technology that can take a show from being good to great. As Bill Koehne, ASPI Board President says, “A good show doesn’t happen by accident.”

Still looking for a gift for the special mother in your life? Tickets are on sale for ASPI’s upcoming production of Barefoot in the Park. Upcoming shows will be on June 15-17 & 22-24. For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

Theater Volunteers Honored at WPS Awards Breakfast

Volunteers boardThe 30th Annual WPS Volunteer Awards breakfast on April 19 honored the meaningful work of over 1,000 volunteers in the community. Ten representatives from ASPI attended the breakfast served at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. Gathered in the ballroom was a diverse group of volunteers with one thing in common: a commitment to community service.

Among this year’s nominees were four volunteers from Abrams Spotlight Production Inc.: Ali Carlson, Debra Jolly, David Jolly, and Bill Koehne. They were nominated for the Aon Arts & Culture Award by Brigette Finger, ASPI volunteer coordinator. The foursome have contributed to the success of the theater in a variety of ways including set construction, costumes, concessions, marketing, choreography, acting, and directing. As members of the board of directors, Debra, Ali, and Bill have helped to guide, govern, and grow the theater.

Run exclusively by volunteers, ASPI presents four shows a year at the Byng Community. Each production requires the commitment of dedicated volunteers working on stage and behind the scenes. As volunteer coordinator, Brigette encouraged new recruits to get involved in community theater.

“It’s a way to volunteer as a family,” she said. “The theater itself is a family. You come to know everyone and grow close to everyone.”

ASPI is now rehearsing for its summer production, “Barefoot in the Park,” a story about newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. The romantic comedy by Neil Simon which will be presented June 15-17 and 22-24. To volunteer your time and talent, contact us today.

WPS Volunteer Award Winners
Large Group: Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Small Group: Warren and Julie Schultz
Arts & Culture: Untitled Town Board
Adult Volunteer: Steve Lapacz
Youth Volunteer: Lia Haile
Volunteer in Education: Arrow Guetschow
Volunteer Leadership: Mary Miller
Lifetime Achievement: Lori Cuene

Love is in the Air

52336340 – origami made hot air balloon in a heart shape.

On a day that is all about love and romance, let us share with you our top 5 Broadway couples that are sure to make you swoon.

  1. Captain Von Trapp and Maria (The Sound of Music)
    You have a man, a woman, and seven singing children on the mountains of Austria. You can only butt heads for so long before you realize that the person loves you, stubbornness and all. I guess they must have done “something good”.
  2. Rapunzel and her Prince (Into the Woods)
    Boy sees girl. Boy fall in love with girl. Boy must climb up girl’s long blonde hair? All I can say is that waiting to be together must have been “agony”.
  3. Esther Smith and John Truitt (Meet Me in St. Louis)
    Is there anything sweeter than “the boy next door”?
  4. Cosette, Eponine, and Marius (Les Mis)

This list would not be complete without a love triangle! Is there nothing more dramatic than unrequited love?

So, who is our mystery couple number 5? None other than the silent film star and the aspiring stage actress, Don Lockwood and Kathy Selden of Singin’ in the Rain. You will have to see the show and find out how this love story ends!

So, grab your sweetheart and come to the Abrams theater for their production of Singin’ in the Rain. Tickets are on sale NOW! For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.

New Year and the Stage Still Stands

2018 Happy New Year

“Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to.” – William Dafoe

From our theater family to yours, we want to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thank you for your support in 2017, and we cannot wait to share with you what 2018 is going to bring.

So, what do you need to know about ASPI in 2018?

We are going to be having FOUR new productions! Mark your calendars for the following unforgettable performances:

  • Singin’ in the Rain — March 16-18 & 23-25
  • Barefoot in the Park — June 15-17 & 22-24
  • Cabaret — Sept. 13-16 & 20-23
  • A Christmas Story: The Musical — Dec. 7-9 & 14-16

When you visit the theater in the new year, you may notice something is different. There is going to be new seating! Out with the church pews and in with cushioned chairs. As the recipient of a grant from the Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation, the theater will be able to replace their church pews with 200 cushioned chairs. Just in time for the first performance of “Singing in the Rain.”

While a new year for ASPI brings new shows, it also brings new hopes, dreams, and opportunities. Let’s hear from some of our cast and crew about what they hope the new year will bring for the theater.

Brigette Finger, volunteer coordinator:
“I am looking forward to the fantastic shows that we’re going to produce in 2018! I am also excited to see the reaction of our patrons when they try out our new seating in March (no more hard church pews)!”

Pam Loberger, most recently seen in her role as Clairee in “Steel Magnolias”:
“2018 is going to be a banner year for the theater with the Bond Foundation’s generous donation enabling the theatre’s uncomfortable pews to be replaced with comfortable chairs, which will add to the enjoyment of all productions… My dream is to have many familiar faces, joined by new talent to grow the ASPI family with talent both on the stage and behind the scenes. Wishing the entire ASPI family a wonderful 2018. Hope to see you all soon.”

David Jolly, most recently seen in his role as Daddy Warbucks in “Annie”:
“I hope the next year will see us continue to gain in volunteer support. This is a group owned operation and each person who contributes in any way is a stakeholder. One of our volunteers recently commented that he understands what we are trying to do and the impact that ASPI has had on his family and the community. He pledged that he is a “volunteer for life”.

Thank you all for your support in 2017 and let us make 2018 the best year yet!

Count your blessings and don’t forget to count the Abrams Theater twice

Count your blessingsIt’s that time of year again where you count your blessings over the past year. What a year 2017 has been!

Four productions and nearly 3000 people filling the seats throughout the 2017 season. Our cast and crew have taken the audience from the streets of NYC to the gymnasium of Putnam Valley Middle School. From a beauty parlor with southern belles to St. Louis World’s Fair. There were tears shed, many laughs, and I’m sure we all left the theater with a tune running through our head.

2017 was a year of changes and firsts! You may have noticed that the theater had a bit of a facelift. There’s a new interior paint job, a new sound and lighting booth, and the installation of modular set booms. All these changes are helping us create an even greater theater experience for our audiences.

You may have also noticed some new faces around the theater. We had 24 newcomers to the theater throughout the year, whether they were actors on stage or part of the backstage crew.

The theater also had their first collaboration with After Dark Productions for “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. After Dark Productions produce edgier shows that are geared for adult only crowds. Director Kari Devine (and the cast and crew) brought something new to ASPI. With nonstop laughs and audience participation, this quirky comedy was a great success!

So, what has working with the Abrams Theater meant to director Kari? — “I’ve worked with a lot of different companies in my theatre career, but this is one of my absolute favorites. In Abrams, I get the can-do and community atmosphere that a lot of other places lack. I’ve found people open to learn, support each other, and put on great shows. It’s an amazing dynamic here.”

ASPI is a unique community and has an atmosphere unlike any other! And our audiences and readers like you make what we do all worthwhile.

But don’t worry. We’ll be back in the new year! And you have the chance to join our team. Do you tap dance? Sing? Dance in the rain? Auditions for “Singin’ in the Rain” will be held 6 to 8pm Tuesday, Jan. 2, or Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple Ave., Abrams. Any questions call our box office at 920-826-5852.

Not just any festival….It’s the World’s Fair!

Join ASPI for their production of Meet Me in St. Louis! The year is 1904, the Smith family experiences life and love’s woes, all leading up to a family trip to the St. Louis World’s Fair.

So, what exactly is the world’s fair?

The world’s fair is an international exhibition meant to showcase a nation’s accomplishments. The most recently hosted was the Expo 2017 held in Astana Kazakhstan.

The tradition of the world’s fair began in Paris with the French Industrial Exposition of 1844. After which, other European countries decided to follow suit. A world’s fair can last anywhere from three weeks to six months.

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle? Many structures and towers built to be used temporarily for the fair are dismantled at the close of the festivities. But not the Eiffel Tower! While some opposed the construction, and wanted it dismantled after the fair, the Eiffel Tower is here to stay and has become an icon of Paris.

The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also knows and the St. Louis World’s Fair, was held in St. Louis, MO from April 30th to December 1st, 1904. It was intended to celebrate the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, though the opening of the exposition was delayed until 1904. It cost $15 million to fund the construction and festivities. The fair site took place over 1200 acres and close to 19.7 million people who attended the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Exhibitions included concessions, theater troupes, educational displays, local history displays, etc. from 50 nations, and 43 U.S. states (of the then 45 states).

One exhibition building was the Palace of Electricity. With a cost of $400,000, the building was to share progress in electrical engineering. Different technologies on display included the Finsen light, x-ray apparatus, radiophone, electrical lighting, and electric locomotives (to name a few).

While not invented at the fair as previously believed, there were many foods that were popularized by the fair. Can you guess what these foods are? Hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter, and cotton candy. The fair is also said to have introduced Dr. Pepper to the mass of attendees.

Come and join ASPI family on December 1st-3rd and the 8th-10th for their production of Meet Me in St. Louis. Tickets are on sale NOW! For more information on the show or to order tickets, go to or call the box office at 920-826-5852.