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ABC Theatre to perform historical play at Rodeo Jubilee Days

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on July 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Published in the Chisago-Isanti County Star July 9, 2015 

In 2012, ABC Theatre Company produced "Pickled or Pickles?" an original, historically-based play set in Cambridge, Minnesota during the summer of 1894. As the story goes, a mysterious shanty appeared on the north side of town and no one would admit who built it. The townswomen were sure that the men are up to no good, but did nothing until a speaker from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union stirred them to action. The WCTU was founded in 1874 by women who were concerned about the destructive power of alcohol. They met in churches to pray and then marched to the saloons to ask the owners to close their establishments. The actions of the Cambridge women made national news.

Artistic director, Dawn Holmquist wrote the play in honor of the Isanti County Fair's 135th anniversary. The play was performed daily at the fair that year, was well-liked and received invitations to make it a traveling show. This summer ABC will be doing just that with 6 different venues and a total of 13 performances. Their first stop will be the Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days, Saturday, July 11th at 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Next, they will be returning to the Isanti County Fair Wed.-Sat., July 22nd - 25th at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 26th at 1:30 p.m. In August they will be traveling to neighboring towns, including: Braham Pie Day, Friday, August 7th at 4:00 p.m.; The Kanabec History Center in Mora for Pickle Day, Saturday August 15th at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Minnesota Historical Site Oliver H. Kelley Farm in Elk River hosts them during Pickling Weekend, Sunday August 16th at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The last performance of the year will be at Emanuel Lutheran's Ice Cream Social in Bock on Sunday, August 30th at 1:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend any or all performances. Filled with familiar melodies and fun choreography, a cast of 24 talented actors will perform this show.

Cast Members:

Hans Hanson: Jason Goetz, Tilda Hanson: Danielle Johnson/Bethany Cleary, Greta Hanson: Bella Bredeson/Camille Didling, Marta Nelson: Melissa Goetz, John Johnson: Steven Rod, Inger Johnson: Sue Hupfer/Dawn Holmquist, Sven Johnson: Isaac Goetz, Ole Anderson: Owen Goetz, Anders Anderson: Brandon Eich/Uriah Gillespie, Ida Anderson: Leslie Price/Anne Dehn, Mrs. H.A Hobart: Becka Jo Bredeson/Sherry Pearce, Lars Larson: Roger Anderson/Clifton Hanson, Lottie Larson: Tracie Block, Edith Peterson: Cecelia Bredeson, Carl Carlson: Keith Bredeson/Chuck Pearce, Olaf Olafson: Tim Twining, Choreographer: Rachel Fager, Set builder: Jon Nystrom, Sound: Emily Goetz and Raeann Goetz

'Mama' coming to Event Center

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on April 9, 2015 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (1)

Published in the Braham Journal March 1st 2015

In 2008 the ABC Theatre Company performed four sold-out shows of "I Remember Mama" by John van Druten at the Isanti County Historical Society. The company received rave reviews and much interest in future shows. After almost seven years and many performances, the troupe wants to revive "Mama" and bring it to the beautiful new Braham Event Center for four performances in March. 

Producing that first "I Remember Mama" was the catalyst for the non-profit company's inception. Artistic director Dawn Holmquist took her first acting class at the Cambridge Campus of Anoka Ramsey Community College as an adult in the late 1990s. During the class, she was assigned a scene in which she played the role of Mama. While preparing for this role, she fell in love with this delightful story of a Norwegian immigrant family living in San Francisco during the early 1900s. 

Holmquist is of Swedish descent and found the story familiar and heart-warming. She immediately wanted to share it with East Central Minnesota.

The first time around she gathered a bunch of friends to put on this play. Most of them had no acting experience. ABC - "A Bunch of Characters" - aptly described the group. Some of those characters have returned for the 2015 production. There are also actors who have done theater elsewhere, but not with ABC. And since ABC's goal is to train those who have not been involved in productions in the past, there are also first-time actors. 

Since 2008 the theater company has worked with over 100 actors in plays such as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Pride and Prejedice, The Importance of Being Earnest, and The Mousetrap.

They have also produced two original history-based plays. One was for the 150th anniversary of North Isanti Baptist Church and the other for the 135th anniversary of the Isanti County Fair. In addition, they have performed two fundraisers for New Pathways Homeless Shelter and one for Cambridge Pregnancy Resource Center. Just this month the troupe presented an historical reenactment at the Kanabec County Historical Society during the Vasaloppet festivities.

Dinner Theatre performances of "I Remember Mama" will be on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Meal is served at 6 p.m. Show begins at 7 p.m. Dessert Matinee shows will be on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15. Doors open 1:30 p.m. Show begins at 2 p.m. Dessert served during intermission. Seats are reserved, so call 763-444-4539 or go online to www.abctheatrecompany.com to order tickets


ABC Theatre Company presents "The Mousetrap"

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on April 9, 2015 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Published in the Isanti County News, Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ABC Theatre Company is a local amateur non-profit theatre organization with a mission to produce plays that provide opportunities for inter-generational involvement and family participation. They strive to include, educate and train those who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in theatrical productions in the past. ABC stands for A Bunch of Characters. Since its inception in 2008 they have produced several shows including “I Remember Mama”, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”. Each of these productions included at least one first time actor. Often times the “new-comers” rose to the challenge of playing a leading role with excellent results. During one production, an actor had to drop out two weeks before opening night. Artistic director, Dawn Holmquist had to quickly find a replacement. While at Herman’s Bakery for a donut and coffee she spoke to a young man behind the counter. Sensing that he had the qualities to portray the character she was seeking, she said, “I bet you would like to act.” He countered with, “Umm, yeah, I think I would, but I have no experience”. He was immediately given the role and the show went on to be a success. The new actor later said that being cast was an amazingly fun, life-changing experience. Although, it was out of his comfort zone, he believes he did a pretty awesome job. Having never auditioned for a show until she was in her 30s, Holmquist is very motivated to provide acting experiences for others who may have lacked confidence or opportunity. She wants to encourage people of all ages to “give it a try”.

Another emphasis of the theatre company is literacy. Their slogan is “Read the Classics… Then Experience them… As a child, Holmquist was not an avid reader. It wasn’t until adulthood that she found out how enriching reading, especially the classics, could be. She now is an advocate for literacy and served for two years as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor; helping struggling readers succeed. Theatre has brought much joy to Dawn’s life. Cast members also attest to the positive effects. Someone recently said that the skills they learned while acting helped them to succeed in their job. Others shared that being in a production gave them an outlet to cope with life’s everyday challenges and that working together creates a real sense of community.

ABC Theatre Company is working in cooperation with the new Braham Event Center and will produce dinner theatre performances of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” Friday, January 9th and Saturday, January 10th at 6:00 p.m. $25.00. On Sunday, January 11th a dessert matinee will be performed at 2:00 p.m. $15.00. Get your reserved tickets now. Call 763-444-4539 or go to www.abctheatrecompany.com 

ABC Theatre Company's "Tilly" production a success

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on February 11, 2014 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Published in the Isanti County News, Wednesday, February 5, 2014 and the Isanti-Chisago County Star, Thursday, February 20, 2014

Despite the winter storm advisory Jan 26, more than 100 people attended the ABC Theatre Company's production of "Tilly " by Frank Peretti.

The cast and crew did a wonderful job presenting this touching story of life, love and forgiveness. The show was put on as a fundraiser for the Pregnancy Resource Center of Cambridge. The Friday before the show an anonymous donor pledged to cover all production costs, including the use of the Hardy Performing Arts Center. Due to this generous contribution, the entire free-will offering, which amounted to more than $1,200, was able to go directly to the Pregnancy Resource Center.

ABC Theatre and the Pregnancy Resource Center are very grateful to all who attended and to those who contributed.

A special thank you goes out to the 17 children ages 4-12 who participated in the dream scene of the play. Their names are as follows; Cecelia and Bella Bredeson; Camille Didling; Per and Svea Ekerholm; Trent, Kennedy and Colten Kueber; Josh and Jethro Martin; Dan and Rosie Misiura; Nicholas and Ryan Nyblom; and Peter, Charlie and Marta Zabinski.

ABC Theatre presents "Tilly" in Cambridge

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on February 11, 2014 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Published in the Isanti County News, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

‘Tilly’ is an unforgettable story of life, love, and forgiveness.

It was originally presented as a radio drama on Focus on the Family. Now, with the permission of the author, Frank Peretti, ABC Theatre Company will be presenting it as a play. (Story content not appropriate for children under the age of 12).

The performance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Hardy Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School and is open to the public.

There will be no admission charge, but a free-will offering will be taken to benefit the Pregnancy Resource Center of Cambridge. Their mission statement is: “To be Christ’s hands of compassion to those facing an unplanned pregnancy.”

 

ABC Theatre Company to present 'Pickled or Pickles?' at the Fair

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on August 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Published in the Isanti County News, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ten years ago, a fascinating story was related to me about Cambridge's past. I remember thinking, "Someone should really write a play about that!" July 18-22 is the 135th anniversary of the Isanti County Fair. With "Discovering Living History" as its theme, I knew it was time to start writing.

The play is set in Cambridge during the summer of 1894 when a mysterious shanty appears on the north side of town and no one will admit who built it. The women are sure that the men are up to no good, but do nothing until a speaker from the Woman's Christian Temperance Union stirs them into action. (Those actions got Cambridge into the national news.)

In case you are unfamiliar with The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), it was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1874 by women who were concerned about the destructive power of alcohol. They met in churches to pray and then marched to the saloons to ask the owners to close their establishments.

In three months the women had driven liquor out of 250 communities. This was all accomplished during a time when women could not vote. In most states women could not have control of their property or custody of their children in case of divorce. There were no legal protections for women and children, prosecutions for rape were rare, and state regulated " age of consent " was as low as seven.  

The WCTU later proposed, supported and helped establish women's right to vote, the eight-hour work day, equal pay for equal work, federal aid for education, uniform marriage and divorce laws and much more. In other words, they were real go-getters.

This organization still exists today. Members are asked to take a vow of total abstinence from alcohol. They even have a provision for those that are too young to make this pledge.

Children from birth to age 6 may be enrolled as White Ribbon Recruits when their parents, grandparents or guardians pledge to teach the children the values of total abstinence. Imagine my surprise, while researching for the play, when I found out that I had been recruited at the age of four. I even have the membership card to prove it.

Even thought the subject matter of the play is somewhat controversial, we have tried to have some fun with it.

Filled with familiar melodies and fun choreography, a cast of 20 talented actors will perform this show "free of charge" July 18-21 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m. on the front porch of the Historical Society's Old Log Cabin.

Information was taken from the WCTU website www.wctu.org/index.html

Cast Members:

Hans Hanson: Jason Goetz, Tilda Hanson: Danielle Johnson, Greta Hanson: Raeann Goetz, Nels Nelson: Scott Walburg, Marta Nelson: Debra Snell, John Johnson: Steven Rod, Inger Johnson: Dawn Holmquist, Kristina Johnson: Emily Goetz, Sven Johnson: Tallen Johnson, Anders Anderson: Brandon Eich, Ida Anderson: Anne Dehn, Mrs. H.A Hobart: Sherry Pearce, Lars Larson: Roger Anderson, Lottie Larson: Wendy Ericson, Edith Peterson: Sara Snell, Carl Carlson: Chuck Pearce and Choreographer: Rachel Fager

Getting to know 'A Bunch of Characters'

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on May 6, 2012 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This article was published in the Isanti County News on April 11, 2012

ABC (A Bunch of Characters) Theatre Company is a nonprofit, inter-generational, amateur theatre company with a preference for historical and classic literature productions. Even though this local organization has produced three plays since their inception in 2008, they know that plenty of people still are not familiar with who they are and what they do best.

 ABC presented their first play I Remember Mama to sold-out audiences at the Isanti County Historical Society.  Their second and third plays, respectively, were The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Pride and Prejudice. These last two were recently staged as a dinner theatre at Spectacular Events in Isanti and were well received.

 The mission of ABC is to produce plays that provide opportunities for inter-generational involvement and family participation.  They strive to include, educate and train those who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in theatrical productions in the past. Many of the members have had no previous acting experience and yet have taken on major roles. They are truly “a bunch of characters” and would like to share what ABC Theatre Company means to them.

Rick Holmquist - roles played - Mr. Thorkelson, Mr. Beaver, & Mr. Gardiner

“About 15 years ago, my wife, said to me, ‘I have a dream that our family act together in a play.’ I said to her, ‘That will never happen’ as I had no desire to act, and had stage-fright. When casting for I Remember Mama, there was a need for an additional male actor, so in spite of my trepidation, I said I would be in the play. Being involved helped me to stretch and grow personally, while helping my wife realize her dream. I have been able to see others accomplish their dreams by acting for the first time. Parents, children and families have been able to act together. So for me, ABC is all about dreams and helping people to realize them.”

Brandon Eich – role played – Mr. Collins

“Being cast as Mr. Collins was an amazingly fun, life-changing experience. It was out of my comfort zone. Most people don’t know that I’m actually really shy. I was so nervous about being in a play, however, decided to do it anyways without knowing what I was getting into, not that it was bad, because it was actually really fun. I ended up doing, what I believe was, a pretty awesome job. I made lots of new friends and overall enjoyed myself very much. Thank you for finding me! I have had so much fun and can’t wait to do it again. Thanks for all the help.”

Danielle Johnson – role played - Jane Bennet

“Fifteen years had passed since my last experience in a theatrical production when I found myself reading an ad listing auditions for the show Pride and Prejudice. I called my friend asking how one would speak with an English accent and then went that Tuesday evening with nerves soaring! Days later, I was squealing with delight when I found out I had been offered the role of Jane Bennet. People at work began calling me ‘Jane.’ Many weeks of rehearsal led me down the path of discovery. I learned some things about myself and I interacted with people who were finding and discovering their talents as well.  What a wonderful experience. I am grateful to ABC for helping me unlock my artistic and creative side again. Thanks for believing in us so we could make this happen. You really helped us discover our imaginations.”

 Rebekah Fager – roles played - Dorothy Schiller and Elizabeth Bennet

“ABC Theatre Company’s plays are literature-based, such as The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe and Pride & Prejudice. I always enjoy seeing my favorite stories come to life on the stage, especially locally. It gives normal people a chance to get away from the ordinary grind, roll up our sleeves and dig into an exciting world without previous experience or having to look outside our community. Their style of leadership encourages us to try things, unafraid.”

These accomplished dreams and positive experiences could not have happened if it weren’t for the patrons, and the following local businesses and organizations which supported ABC in numerous ways;

Cambridge State Bank, Lake State Federal Credit Union, Community Pride Bank, Landmark Community Bank, Minnco, The Leader, Walmart, Sears, Dominos Pizza, Rendezvous Coffee, Wintergreen’s, Julie Rosenberg Painting, Straight Line Dent, LLC, Greenberg Motors, TM Johnson Bros., East Central Energy, Pine Village, Snell’s Brookside Meadow U-Pick Wildflowers, BJ Baas Builders, Inc., Spectacular Events Banquet Center, North Isanti Baptist Church, East Central Regional Library, Isanti County News, KBEK, Isanti County Historical Society, East Central Arts Council,  Total Health Chiropractic P.A., Cambridge Eye Associates P.A., and Central Lakes Oral and Facial Surgery.

Don’t miss ABC Theatre Company at the 135th Isanti County Fair this summer. They will be producing an original drama based on local history. For more information go to www.abctheatrecompany.com.

 

 

 


ABC Theatre to present "Pride and Prejudice" Valentine's Day weekend

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on January 27, 2012 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This article was published in the Isanti County News on January 25th 2012.

After finishing a successful run of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" last October ABC Theatre Company took a short break for the holidays before beginning their next production. "Pride and Prejudice."

This classic romantic comedy, adapted by Jon Jory from the novel by Jane Austen, is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Once again the show will be at Spectacular Events Banquet Center (1320 Co. Rd. 5 N.E., Isanti). The $15.00 ticket price includes an elegant dessert buffet. The show will be performed Friday, Feb 10, at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb 11, at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., and Tuesday, Feb. 14, "Valentine's Day" at 6:45 p.m.

The talented cast includes Kirby Fager as Mr. Bennet, Joann Fager as Mrs. Bennet, Danielle Johnson as Jane Bennet, Rebekah Fager as Elizabeth Bennet, Whitney Kreyer as Mary Bennet, Maddie Simon as Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy, Rachel Fager as Lydia Bennet, Brandon Eich as Mr. Collins, Mike Misiura as Mr. Darcy, Jack Culhane as Mr. Bingley, Julie Schneider as Miss Bingley, Uriah Gillespie as Mr. Wickham, Matt Seafolk as Col. Fitzwilliam, Sherry Pearce as Lady Catherine DeBourgh, Chuck Pearce as Sir Lucas, Bethany Cleary as Charlotte Lucas, Rick Holmquist as Mr. Gardiner, Audrey Misiura as Mrs. Gardiner, and Janet Bostrom as the Housekeeper.

ABC Theatre Company gearing up for fall play The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on November 14, 2011 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This article was written by Elizabeth Sias and published in the Isanti County News on September 14, 2011

On a quiet Thursday morning, a mother and daughter sit with scripts in hand reading lines.

They were practicing for the upcoming performance of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,’ produced by the local ABC Theatre Company.

Sara Snell, left, and Emily McLean practice their lines for the upcoming production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.’ Snell will play Susan Thursday and Saturday night, while McLean will play Susan Friday and during the Saturday matinee.

The play, to be performed four times Oct. 27 through 29 at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti, is the second produced by the company. ‘I Remember Mama’ was the first.

Formed in 2008, founder Dawn Holmquist is excited to be back in the director’s shoes and hopes this play will generate interest in the community.

The mission of ABC Theatre Company, which stands for “A Bunch of Characters,” is to produce plays that provide opportunities for inter-generational involvement and family participation.

The mother-daughter acting together is just one example. Debbie Snell will play Mrs. Beaver in the upcoming play, while her daughter will play Susan.

“I’m so excited and want to share the message that it’s never too late,” Holmquist said. “There’s no such thing as ‘too young’ or ‘too old.’ Let’s all work together — there’s so many plays that have all different ages, so let’s do plays that have inter-generational themes.”

Recently, Springboard for the Arts of St. Paul accepted ABC Theatre Company into their fiscal sponsorship program, meaning the company is a nonprofit under their umbrella and can receive tax deductible donations.

Holmquist currently does fundraising, auditioning, directing and much more, but hopes the company will grow and eventually there will be more people on board.

A fundraiser for The ABC Theatre Company will be held at Spectacular Events Banquet Center in Isanti on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. An $8 taco/fajita bar will support the nonprofit.

Holmquist first became interested in theatre when she took acting classes at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Cambridge and got a part in a community play. She decided to start her own production company to provide a venue to educate and train those who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in theatrical productions in the past.

“Maybe they’re an adult and they’ve never auditioned,” she said. “We want to make the whole thing be a very comfortable, friendly experience, while still making them stretch and grow.”

She has a preference for historical and classic productions — if the fall play does well, she’d like to produce ‘Pride & Prejudice’ in the spring. Holmquist urges everyone to buy tickets right away, as they are selling quickly.

For more information about The ABC Theatre Company, to give a tax-deductible donation or to purchase tickets for ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,’ visit www.abctheatrecompany.com. Performances are Oct. 27, Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. There is also a matinee performance at noon on Oct. 29.

 

Cast List of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe:

Aslan: Scott Walburg; White Witch: Kathy Ebner; Tumnus: Becka Jo Bredeson; Fenris Ulf: Charles Johnson; Mr. Beaver: Rick Holmquist; Mrs. Beaver: Deb Snell; Unicorn: Maddie Simon; Centaur: Justin Cleary; Dwarf: Regina Zabinski; Father Christmas: Steve Rod; Elf: Jake Zacharias; White Stag: Rachel Fager; Forest Animals: Bella Bredeson, Dalton Felt and Eliana Ebner; Wood Nymphs: Moriah Ebner, Emily Goetz and Hailey Johnson; Lucy: Raeann Goetz/Cecelia Bredeson; Edmund: Mason Felt/Hans Boyum; Susan: Emily McLean/Sara Snell; Peter: Jared Zacharias/Rio Hindami.

 


ABC Theatre Company plans upcoming shows

Posted by Dawn Holmquist on August 3, 2011 at 10:57 AM Comments comments (2)

This article was published in the Isanti County News on July 20, 2011.

Do you Remember Mama? If you remember the first play produced by the ABC (A Bunch of Characters) Theatre Company, then you do. They are referring to the 2008 production of "I Remember Mama" by John van Druten. The ABC Theatre Company put on four sold-out shows at the Isanti County Historical Society that September. The company received rave reviews and much interest in future shows.

Last summer, ABC was involved in producing an original drama celebrating North Isanti Baptist Church's 150th anniversary celebration. Recently, Springboard for the Arts of St. Paul accepted ABC into their fiscal sponsorship program. This means that ABC is a non-profit under their umbrella and may receive donations. 

ABC is an inter-generational amateur theatre company with a preference for historical and classic productions. Their mission is to produce plays that provide opportunities for inter-generational involvement and family participation. They strive to include, educate and train those who may not have had the opportunity to be involved in theatrical productions in the past.

The company has exciting plans for 2011-2012. The seasons kicks off with "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," followed by "Pride and Prejudice." Both shows will be dinner theatre presentation at Spectacular Events in Isanti. Auditions will be held in August. For up-to-date information regarding shows, tickets and auditions check out their website, www.abctheatrecompany.com

Come and visit ABC at the Isanti County Fair. They will be having a drawing for free dinner theatre tickets. Also have a great lunch and support the theatre by visiting the Wal-Mart Pepsi Wagon on July 22 and 29 and August 5, 19 and 26.


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