Four Seasons Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director*
Andy Abrams is the founder and artistic director of Four Seasons Theatre, as well as a talented composer and musician. While he grew up doing theater (he was president of the Middleton High School Drama Club and a member of the Thespian Initiation), he didn’t get into musical theater until he was an adult. He just wanted to be an opera singer and studied vocal performance at the UW-Madison.
While in high school, Andy directed “Snoopy” for the Middleton Recreation Department. He went to Patty Whitely and asked her why Middleton didn’t have a community theater. Within six months, they’d started Middleton Players Theater (Andy was 19). Through college, he would sing all year, then serve as music director for MPT in the summer.
After college, Andy won a scholarship to study voice in Milan, followed by an opera apprenticeship program in Iowa. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted to pursue opera or musical theater, so he moved to New York to try both. In his first NY apartment building, he put a note under the doors of neighbors advertising his services as a vocal coach and pianist. Within a month, a neighbor introduced him to the national tour director for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” who hired him as its music director. He toured for a year with “Kiss.” Back in NY, Andy worked on a variety of shows and got his Equity card. Eventually, he auditioned for the BMI Musical Theater Writing Workshop and was accepted into the highly competitive program in 2001. His first class met on September 10, and the events of September 11 dominated the lives and writing of his cohort.
A writer and lyricist in the program, Bill Augustin, convinced Andy to write the score for a musical version of “But I’m a Cheerleader.” In 2005, “Cheerleader” played the NY Musical Theater Festival. A whole series of producers said that they were interested. Heartbreakingly, a very large production company optioned the play and kept it tied up for almost two years before the owners of the company actually read the script and decided that they couldn’t deal with the subject matter.
In 2004, Andy was breaking up with his boyfriend, “Cheerleader” was stalled, and he thought, “Why am I here?” He’d been returning to Madison most summers to direct for the Middleton Players Theater. His agent pointed out that he could write anywhere, so he headed home to Wisconsin. The day he returned, Andy met with Erin Burke and Chris Lange to talk about starting Four Seasons Theatre, now in its fourth season. In addition to serving as the Four Seasons’ Artistic Director, Andy is also the Chorus Master for the Madison Opera, which he describes as a lot of fun, prepping the chorus and directing back stage.
And he’s talking with local theater producers about a professional Madison production of “But I’m a Cheerleader” to lure producers from the coasts. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can see Four Seasons’ production of “Evita” in August 2009 at the Memorial Union Theater on the UW-Madison campus.
*Editor’s Note:Abrams was the Founding Artistic Director of Four Seasons Theatre, a regional musical theatre company in Madison, WI from 2005-2010. Most recently Andrew organized, musical directed, and conducted the Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley Evening of Broadway Favorites with the Four Seasons Theatre Orchestra. Andrew is now the Artistic Director, and Co-Founder of the newly formed Capital City Theatre. Sarah Marty is now the producing Artistic Director of Four Season Theatre.