Getting to know ‘A Bunch of Characters’

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. Torkelson, Mr. Beaver, & Mr. Gardiner

Debra Snell as Mrs. Beaver and Rick Holmquist as Mr. Beaver. Photo by Keith Bredeson

“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

Michael Misiura as Mr. Darcy and Rebekah Fager as Elizabeth Bennet. Photo by Ron Taube

“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.

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