Meet Susan Holm & Andrew Swanson of AlphaBet Soup Productions

A great article from the August 1st edition of VoyageChicago about TWU Local 769 member Susan Holm and AlphaBet Soup Productions!


Meet Susan Holm and Andrew Swanson of AlphaBet Soup Productions in Lombard

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Holm and Andrew Swanson.

Thirty years ago, two young actors (Mark Pence & Susan Holm) had just finished performing in shows at various theaters. Uncertain of where their next job was coming from, they put their heads together and decided to create their own company. Mark had written several original children’s shows during college, and Susan had performed in many TYA productions, so it seemed like the perfect fit. With $5,000 invested, they found the perfect venue (an intimate 300 seat theatre) and thus AlphaBet Soup Productions was born.

Since then, AlphaBet Soup has been bringing their special brand of award-winning shows to the stage for 30 consecutive seasons. Throughout the years, AlphaBet Soup has created and produced over 20 original musical-comedy’s for young audiences filled with larger-than-life characters, whimsical costumes, colorful sets, and always an underlying moral to the story. With this imaginative recipe, AlphaBet Soup’s zany fairy tale creations have been enjoyed by over 1 million children, parents, and educators throughout the Chicagoland area!

Susan’s partner (Mark Pence) has since retired, and stepping into the role of Production Manager is Andrew Swanson, a Chicago-based actor/marketing coordinator. With an exciting season ahead, Susan and Andrew look forward to another successful year of entertaining and educating children throughout the Chicagoland area.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest challenge is finding affordable venues and availability. It is important to us to keep the ticket prices affordable for everyone, so with that comes the challenge of creating a professional production on a tight budget.

Because of the touring schedule (9 different venues), one of our largest production costs is transportation (i.e. truck rental and labor costs).

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the AlphaBet Soup Productions story. Tell us more about the business.
AlphaBet Soup Productions has been Chicagoland’s premiere Theatre for Young Audiences since 1987. The ABS mission is, and always has been to provide Chicago area youth, families, and teachers a truly unique theatrical experience that will entertain, educate, and inspire.

We specialize in creating fabulous productions for young audiences and families. We pride ourselves on hiring professional adult Chicago-based actors on their way to stardom (Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame once played the Mad Hatter in our production of Alice in Wonderland!)

What sets us apart is our attention to detail. Ensuring that all our productions have a well written script, catchy music, beautiful costumes, great set design, and (of course) a moral to the story.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
A lot! We’ve been really lucky to form great relationships with our venues, and continue to grow our audience in those areas.

Other times, we’ve been lucky to find actors that have remained with us for multiple productions, as well as staff members that share the same enthusiasm for the company.


  • Tickets are $8.50 ($7.50 for groups of 25 or more)

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August 1, 2017