The Alberta Bair theater, which closed in April to undergo a $13.6 million expansion and renovation, is taking the 2019-2020 season to a variety of venues, beginning Sept. 14 with “The Other Mozart” at MSU Billings Petro Theatre.
“The show must go on,” says Ron Bates, incoming chair of the Alberta Bair Theater board. “We are committed to our mission of bringing the excitement of the performing arts to Big Sky Country – even while our beloved, historic theater is under construction.”
In addition to the Petro Theatre, venues include the Babcock Theatre, Lincoln Center, and First Interstate Arena. The Valley Credit Union Student Matinee Series will be held at Lincoln Center and will serve more than 15,000 students.
“The upcoming season has been thoughtfully programmed to showcase the artistry that is the cornerstone of Alberta Bair Theater,” says programming director Jody Grant. “With a show nearly each month from September to April, we’ve got something to inspire everyone.”
The Other Mozart: “Strikingly Beautiful”
The season kicks off Sept. 14 with performances at 2 and 8 p.m. of “The Other Mozart,” the true and untold story of Nannerl Mozart, the sister of Amadeus – a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso and composer who performed throughout Europe with her brother to equal acclaim.
Described by the New York Times as “strikingly beautiful,” the sumptuous musical is set in and on a magnificent 18-foot dress, is based on facts, stories and lines pulled directly from the Mozart family’s humorous and heartbreaking letters. With the opulent beauty of the dress and hair design, the sweet smell of perfume and the clouds of dusting powder rising from the stage, “The Other Mozart” is a multi-sensual experience that transports the audience into a world of outsized beauty and delight, and one of of overwhelming restrictions and prejudice where, finally, this other Mozart tells her story. Period-style movement creates a world of elegance through balletic gestures, reverent court bows, and fan language.
Along with music composed by her famous brother and Marianna Martines (a Viennese female composer who inspired Nannerl), the play features original music by Nathan Davis and Phyllis Chen – featured composers of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, BAM and the International Contemporary Ensemble – for the instruments Nannerl knew intimately such as clavichords, music boxes and bells, as well as teacups, fans, and other ordinary objects that might have captured her imagination.
And the season continues …
The National Geographic Live! series begins Oct. 12 with Steve Winter’s “On the Trail of Big Cats,” and continues with “Pink Boots and a Machete,” Jan. 18 and “Ocean Soul” March 21. ABT’s season also offers an injection of adrenalin for skiers and snowboarders Dec. 13 with Warren Miller’s 70th film.
“Finding Neverland,” which tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters, Peter Pan, comes to the First Interstate Arena at MetraPark April 2. Other offerings are Montana Repertory Theatre’s “The War of the Worlds,” based on the original radio script, Jan. 29; and dance by Chicago-based Hiplet Ballerinas, who fuse classical pointe technique with African, Latin, Hip-Hop and urban dance styles rooted in communities of color, Feb. 25.
This year’s concerts include International Guitar Night Feb. 15, and the Joe Alterman Trio April 25. “Pianist Joe Alterman pulls off one of the rarer feats in modern jazz,” says Downbeat Magazine, “he swings – hard.”
Tickets for all shows are on sale now at on the ABT website, www.albertabairtheater.org, and by phone, 406-256-6052.