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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.