Happy Days! New musical rocks MCT

Revisit the ’50s with musical inspired by iconic TV show, Jan. 18-28 in Missoula

On Stage
Happy Days: A New Musical
The Fonz ((Adrian Adams) returns in MCT’s musical version of “Happy Days.”Photo © Shelby Art

“Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!” Do you remember Happy Days? It was a hugely popular, iconic television show about the 1950s that was created in the 1970s.

Here in the new millennium, an era in which so many movies, cartoons, and shows have been reborn as musicals, how “perfectamundo” that “Happy Days: A New Musical” would find its way to the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. The show will rock ’n roll Jan. 18-28 with the Missoula Community Theatre.

Director Megan Wiltshire, who grew up with TV Land reruns of the original program, says the musical is a fun way of reimagining the television show. “The music is all new, written just for this show, and it’s hard to imagine the show without music by the end. The characters are so well-suited to a musical.”

Indeed, the time period is a character itself, amid the contrast of the middle-class, Midwest humdrum Cunningham family with the super cool, almost mythical leather-clad, finger-snapping Fonz.

The backdrop of ’50s doo-wop, poodle skirts, and saddle shoes at Arnold’s Malt Shop invites the audience to savor the simplicity of a time when the combination of a community and a dance contest could turn a corporate tide. And though it’s an era of deeply defined gender roles, comical cracks of the tumultuous times to come show through in the story.

Mostly though, it’s just great family-friendly fun. Wiltshire notes, “There’s romance, action, intrigue, and comedy. The music is catchy, upbeat, and delightful.” With thumbs-up musical direction by Roxann Jackson and made-in-the-shade choreography by Kirsten Paisley, Wiltshire is certain “Happy Days: The New Musical” could make your January the coolest ever.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 19-28 (Premiere Night is Jan. 18).

Tickets are available at MCTinc.org; by calling 406-728-7529; or at the MCT Box Office, which is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.