The Bigfork Summer Playhouse swings into its 62nd season with two fun, flamboyant productions: “9 to 5 The Musical,” with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, opens June 5 and “Jersey Boys,” the rags-to-riches tale of The Four Seasons, kicks off June 9.
“Bonnie and Clyde,” the musical tale of the ill-fated lovers and outlaws who became folk heroes during the Great Depression, debuts June 23. A non-traditional score that combines blues, gospel and rockabilly music backs the thrilling tale of the doomed duo.
The fast-paced and hilarious murder-mystery “Lucky Stiff” rounds out the repertory season, opening July 7. Follow a mild-mannered English shoe clerk as he’s propelled into a lunatic mix of a murdered Atlantic City croupier, his near-sighted jilted mistress, her hen-pecked brother, and several hundred (off-stage) dogs.
Associate producer and company manager Brach Thomson notes that the only show previously produced on the Bigfork Summer Playhouse stage is “9 to 5,” and crafting sets that take the audience to new places has been fun and challenging.
While he anticipates that “Jersey Boys” will be the biggest draw this season, “I predict ‘Luck Stiff’ to be the sleeper favorite, once people see the show and start to talk about it.”
The Playhouse was open last summer, despite the pandemic. “It was tricky,” Thomson says. “Everyone was still a little terrified, but desperately wanted live entertainment.”
The company was quarantined for two weeks and tried to remain in their “bubble” through the summer. At the same time, the playhouse intensified its cleaning regime, spraying and disinfecting seats and handrails, scouring restrooms, and being diligent with sanitizer and hand washing. To avoid audience exposure, actors no longer served as ushers or sold programs.
“Theatre people love other people so it was tough for them not to have outside contact,” he says.
Patrons represented both sides of the masking debate – “and both sides were pretty vocal.”
He looks forward to a more “normal season,” although many safety protocols remain in place. The playhouse will continue to encourage social distancing and mask wearing in the lobby, “to protect our actors, staff and guests” and seating is arranged to create distance between groups. Extra cleaning and sanitizing efforts continue, with hand sanitizer available at various stations in the theater. Actors will still refrain from ushering or selling programs.
Show time is 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, with 2 p.m. matinees on select Sundays in July and August. The Playhouse also offers its fun-filled Benefit Revue July 25, which raises money for the BSP scholarship fund.
The Bigfork Summer Playhouse season wraps up with “The Hits of the 50s, 50s and 70s,” including music by Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and more, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26-28 and Sept. 2-4.
For reservations, call 406-837-4886 or visit bigforksummerplayhouse.com.