Many people have preconceived notions about Montana and the West. Often someone thinks that there aren’t many cultural activities offered in a state like Montana. While it is true that we do not have the same range of cultural activities as New York City or Chicago, Billings certainly has a lot to offer its citizens including the two great theaters we have here in town – the Alberta Bair Theater and the Billings Studio Theater. We also have a third theater (Venture Theatre), but since I have never been there I am unable to discuss it in much detail in this blog.
Alberta Bair Theater is the home of a wide variety of high-quality touring productions. During the past season alone, I have seen five productions at the ABT including a play (Christmas with C.S. Lewis), three musicals(Miracle on 34th St, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast) and a comedian (Bill Cosby). The Alberta Bair also hosts various local productions including those of the Billings Symphony and the Rimrock Opera Company. I love going to the Alberta Bair because of its’ commitment to bringing the best stage productions to the city of Billings. I can’t wait to see what the theater’s management have planned for next season!
Unlike the ABT, Billings Studio Theater (which is located next to the Rocky campus) is the home of productions that are performed, directed, and produced by local citizens. Before seeing my first show at the theater, I was a bit skeptical that community theater could match the quality of the shows I had seen at the ABT. However, I can happily report that the BST shows are indeed blessed with great actors, set designers, and directors who definitely know what they’re doing. After seeing three productions at the Billings Studio Theater during my last two years of college (The Trip to Bountiful, Maggie Getting Married, and 39 Steps), I can’t wait to return to this great theater. I won’t have to wait long since they’re performing one of my favorite musicals (Les Miserables) as their season opener in September!
It’s also worth noting that the BST is the home of Rocky’s theater productions that are performed near the end of each semester. Last year’s performances included a version of Romeo and Juliet set during the 1920’s and an adaptation of the famous musical South Pacific. I’m sad to say that I missed both of these productions, but I hope to make up for it by seeing a Rocky production sometime during my upcoming junior year.
If you’re looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend one of your evenings while in school, be sure to take the time to patronize one of these excellent theaters.
I’m unsure of what I’ll be writing about next week, but it will likely be another installment in my “Places of Interest in Billings” series. After all, there are so many interesting places to tell you about!