When news of an alien invasion streams across Montana Public Radio’s airwaves Feb. 7, try not to panic. The Montana Rep is not only bringing “The War of the Worlds” to stages across the state, it’s also teaming up with MTPR for a live broadcast of the infamous radio play.
In addition to staging “War of the World at the UM Montana Theatre in Missoula, the production also travels to Plains, Billings, Lewistown, Helena, Bozeman and Butte.
Originally broadcast from New York’s Mercury Theatre in 1938, the production triggered nationwide panic with many terrified listeners convinced that an actual alien invasion of Earth was taking place.
Part radio play, part theatrical experience, the play was adapted by Howard E. Koch and based on the sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells. The Rep’s reimagining of the classic piece is directed by Caitlin O’Connell.
“As a sci-fi geek and theatre lover, I’ve long been fascinated by the convergence of those two worlds,” says the Rep’s Artistic Director Michael Legg. “As the Rep moves to embrace more contemporary work alongside American classics, ‘War of the Worlds’ seemed the perfect choice to take a piece of theatre we all know and explore how it’s relevant in 2020.”
“And I think this production reminds us that the media’s ability to both enlighten and misinform was just as powerful in 1938 as it is today.”
Performers are Glenna Brucken, Rachel Lin, Jeremy Sher, Hudson Therriault and Lorenzo Villanueva; Caitlin O’Connell directs the production.
Hear the live radio broadcast over Montana Public Radio on Feb. 7, or catch one of the following performances:
“The War of the Worlds” Outreach performances
Plains: January 27 at 7:30 p.m.; high school auditorium
Billings: January 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Lincoln Center
Lewistown: January 30 at 7:30 p.m.; Fergus Center for the Performing Arts
Missoula – January 31 at 7:30 p.m.; February 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; February 8 at 7:30 p.m.; and February 9 at 2 p.m.; UM Montana Theatre
Helena – February 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Myrna Loy
Butte – February 5 at 7:30 p.m.: Mother Lode Theater
For more information on the show or to purchase tickets, visit montanarep.com/2019-2020.