Bonnie Raitt opens the season
Alberta Bair's 30th season opens on Wednesday, Sept. 6 with the legendary Bonnie Raitt. Special guest Anders Osborne opens the show at 7 p.m. and Raitt takes the stage around 8 p.m.
Alberta Bair Theater kicks off its 30th Season on September 6 at 7 p.m. with the legendary Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt. Double bass sensation Kristin Korb brings her trio on September 29 and Dance Theater of Harlem makes their Montana debut on October 6. A full line-up can be found on the ABT website at AlbertaBairTheater.org. Tickets may be purchased at the box office during these new hours at (406) 256-6052 or in person at the window.
September 29: Kristin Korb Trio
There are few bassists who can sing and even fewer who can do it well. Kristin Korb is one of those artists who makes you forget she is playing the bass when you hear her crystalline voice. Influenced by the days when music was romantic and made you want to dance, Kristin, a Billings native who now makes Denmark her home, and her trio (Magnus Hjorth, pianist and Snorre Kirk, drummer) embody that spirit and bring their audiences along for the ride.
October 6: Dance Theatre of Harlem
Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its fourth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the artistic direction of Virginia Johnson, has grown into a multi-cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts. Dance Theatre of Harlem has achieved unprecedented success, bringing innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world.
October 9: Boz Scaggs
In support of his recent spellbinding album A Fool to Care, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs performs at Alberta Bair Theater on Monday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m. Scaggs’ remarkable career began in the late ‘60s with the Steve Miller Band and spans another 40 years of solo triumphs with albums such asSilk Degrees, which produced four number one songs including “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle.” Scaggs has a characteristically deft touch as a singer. His soul is effortless and deeply felt, never making a show of itself, but unmistakably evident in every lyric he delivers.
“I’m at a point where I’m having a lot of fun with music, more than ever,” Boz Scaggs says about A Fool to Care. “I’m just going wherever I want to go with it.” You can hear that sense of fun, as well as that ability and willingness to wander in any musical direction throughout the album’s twelve tracks.
October 25: Take Me To The River
Take Me to the River presents a live performance experience based on the award-winning film and record that brought together multiple generations of iconic Memphis and Mississippi Delta musicians to record a historic new album and re-imagine the utopia of racial, gender and generational collaboration of Memphis (Stax, Hi Records) in its heyday. This historic show features a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see legends William Bell (2017 Grammy Winner), Bobby Rush (2017 Grammy winner), and Charlie Musselwhite (2014 Grammy winner) share the stage and perform classics and new TMTTR collaborations.
Backed by an ALL-STAR Memphis band, the show includes the Hi- Rhythm Section (27 Gold and Platinum records, All of Al Green’s classics) and Grammy award winner Boo Mitchell, award-winning director and Grammy Nominee Martin Shore, alumni from the STAX Music Academy, and special appearances from Academy Winner Frayser Boy or Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone.
October 27: GENTRI: The Gentleman Trio
Established in June 2014 GENTRI is three highly trained tenors: Brad Robins, Casey Elliott and Bradley Quinn Lever. Pioneering a signature sound that can only be described as “Cinematic Pop,” the music of GENTRI is transfused with lush, epic orchestrations and rich, dynamic three-part harmonies all composed by the group’s producer Stephen Nelson. Performing with them is a local string quartet headed by David Heinzen, principal cellist of the Billings Symphony.
November 3: AJ Croce: Two Generations of American Music
AJ Croce: Two Generations of American Music features a complete set of classics by his father Jim Croce, some of his own tunes, and songs that influenced both him and his father. The show often includes such timeless songs as “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Workin’ At the Car Wash Blues,” “Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy), “One Less Set of Footsteps,” “Lovers Cross,” and “Box #10,” to name a few.
A.J. Croce is a multi-instrumentalist roots-rock artist, known for his boogie-woogie piano playing reminiscent of Dr. John. AJ has recorded eight studio albums for both major and indie labels in 23 years as a professional artist and musician. His music incorporates pop, blues, folk, and jazz, and has charted on seven radio charts including Top 40. He’s shared the stage with many notable artists including James Brown, Willie Nelson, Bela Fleck, co-written songs with greats like Leon Russell, and been produced by legends like the late Allen Toussaint. In celebration of his career, A.J. Croce will re-release his highly successful album, That’s Me in the Bar, on the year of its 20th anniversary. With his unique jazz piano stylings and blues-tinged voice, the 12-track album established Croce as a singular artistic force in 1995. The rerelease will feature a bonus track, “If You Want Me to Stay,” recorded 20 years ago but locked in the vault until now. The son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, A.J.’s career began with his first tour at age 18 opening up for B.B. King. In the span of a 20+-year career, A.J. has headlined festivals, concerts and major listening venues worldwide. He has been seen and heard on shows including Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Austin City Limits, Good Morning America, E!, and CNN.
November 10: Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey
In Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, Marvin the mouse wants to be popular. Constantly bullied and picked on by the “cool” rats, he is labeled as a loser and a geek. As respite from the continuous badgering, Marvin retreats into his science books and a world of fantasy. He longs to have adventures and to be the hero.
Join Marvin on the space adventure of a lifetime: a trip to the surface of the moon on his homemade rocket, where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite peril and views awesome beauty. Will Marvin make his dreams come true and experience the glory and acceptance he craves?
Each Lightwire Performance is a unique interpretation of a story told by dancers and glow-in-the-dark puppets. These stories are told solely through movement and puppetry, without words, so it is up to your creative imagination to determine what is happening on stage!
About Lightwire Theater: Creators Ian Carney and Corbin Popp met while dancing in Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show Movin’ Out. An immediate connection was made as they discovered their mutual love of art, theater and technology. After coming across a product called electroluminescent wire or “EL wire” for short, the possibilities seemed endless. Together, with their wives Eleanor and Whitney, they began to develop EL wire puppetry based on creatures that quickly gained personality. The performances are a truly unique, innovative and visually dazzling theatrical experience. Utilizing the talents of four cast members, they strap on EL wire puppetry to their entire bodies and bring the creatures to life through movement and dance.
November 13: Rodger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®- winning Broadway musical from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream... or a really great pair of shoes.
"PURE MAGIC! Broadway's new Cinderella CRACKLES WITH SWEETNESS AND FRESHNESS.”
“A DAZZLING DELIGHT FOR ALL AGES! CINDERELLA CASTS A NEW SPELL ON BROADWAY!”
"EYE-POPPINGLY OPULENT enough to WOW any six-year-old at heart!" -The New Yorker
December 1: Warren Miller’s 68th Film
Winter begins with Warren Miller and this year is no exception as we marvel at the athletes and cinematography that have come to define a Warren Miller snowsports film.
December 3: The Wizard of Oz at Rimrock Auto Arena
There truly is no place like home as the greatest family musical of all time, the wonderful WIZARD OF OZ, twists its way into Billings! The entire family will be captivated as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and beyond with Dorothy, Toto and their friends the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in this lavish production, featuring breathtaking special effects, dazzling choreography and classic songs.
A spectacular celebration of the iconic 1939 MGM film, THE WIZARD OF OZ will blow you away from the moment the tornado touches down and transports you to a dazzling Oz, complete with munchkins and flying monkeys. Don’t miss the chance to travel Over the Rainbow and experience this national treasure on stage.
December 8 : Jersey Boys
They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story -- a story that has made them an international sensation all over again.
Go behind the music of hits like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man” and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony Award®-winning true-life musical phenomenon, JERSEY BOYS. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true.
December 20: Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas features all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score live on stage in a line by line, song by song recreation of the beloved TV special that first aired in 1965. Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they present a pageant, save a tree and uncover the true meaning of Christmas. The evening ends with a Christmas caroling sing-a-long party with Schroeder’s band.
A Charlie Brown Christmas is directed by Ray Roderick, who adapted the book and directed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s North American National Tour, served as associate director of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden for six years, and associate director for Susan Stroman’s Broadway revival of THE MUSIC MAN.
“All the right notes” – The Chicago Tribune
January 11: RENT
In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.
January 21, 7:00 p.m.: Brooklyn Rider and Bela Fleck
Hailed as “the future of chamber music” by Strings, the game-changing string quartet Brooklyn Rider (Johnny Gandelsman, violin; Colin Jacobsen, violin; Nicholas Cords, viola; Michael Nicolas, cello)presents eclectic repertoire and gripping performances that continue to draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble. Equally at home in clubs and concert halls, the quartet has played venues as varied as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, Japan’s Todai-ji, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s Littlefield, the Library of Congress, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and South by Southwest. Through visionary programming and global collaborations, Brooklyn Rider’s fan base is ever growing.
In case you aren't familiar with Béla Fleck, there are some who say he's the world’s premier banjo player. Others claim that Béla has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. If you are familiar with Béla, you know that he just loves to play the banjo, and put it into unique settings.
Any world-class musician born with the names Béla (for Bartok), Anton (for Dvorak) and Leos (for Janacek) would seem destined to play classical music. The 15-time Grammy Award winner has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history, and remains a powerfully creative force globally in bluegrass, jazz, classical pop, rock and world beat. Most recently, Béla and Abigail Washburn took home the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. In 2009, Béla produced the award-winning documentary and recordings, Throw Down Your Heart, where he journeyed across Africa to research the origins of the banjo.
February 6: On Golden Pond, Montana Repertory Theatre
On Golden Pond is an American treasure. Many of us are familiar with the story through the Academy Award- winning film with Henry and Jane Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. Others have attended one of the literally thousands of productions this extraordinary play has received over the years. Something deep and profound resonates through the events that unfold in this American masterpiece brilliantly penned by Ernest Thompson.
Beguilingly simple, this tale of a single family and how they pull apart and then find each other has been touching audiences for decades and generations. We at Montana Rep feel it is time to reintroduce this quintessentially American play to our audiences.
This play has endured because it deals with a family in crisis in a humane, poetic, and often very funny way. It continues to resonate because we all have mothers and fathers, we all cope with aging, and we have all experienced being lost––and hopefully found. It is this dynamic, this finding of family and the love therein, that keeps On Golden Pond forever relevant.
February 10: International Guitar Night
Germany's Gypsy Jazz legend Lulo Reinhardt returns as the host of International Guitar Night and will be joined by Calum Graham, the young Canadian contemporary sensation; Marek Pasieczny, Poland's innovative classical composer/ performer; and award-winning American guitarist Michael Chapdelaine.
Lulo has built on grand-uncle Django Reinhardt's repertoire by introducing Latin rhythms. Calum has a two-handed style that has attracted millions of YouTube viewers. Marek has performed and written for a variety of orchestras around the world, and Michael has won both the Guitar Foundation of America Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championship for steel string guitar.
February 13: Swan Lake, Moscow Festival Ballet
Swan Lake is a full-length ballet in four acts with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikowski and choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that tells the story of love and deception. While hunting, Prince Siegfried sees an amazing swan. As he takes aim to shoot, the swan turns into a beautiful woman. The woman, Odette, tells the prince that she is a princess who has come under the spell of an evil sorcerer. During the day she must be a swan and swim in a lake of tears. At night she is allowed to be a human again. The spell can only be broken if a virgin prince swears eternal fidelity to her.
Prince Siegfried falls madly in love with Odette. However, through a spell by the evil sorcerer, he accidentally proposes to another woman at a party, believing that the woman is really Odette. Princess Odette feels doomed. She throws herself into the lake. The Prince feels terribly sorry he was tricked and throws himself into the lake with her. In an incredibly touching moment, the two are transformed into lovers in the afterlife.
MOSCOW FESTIVAL BALLET Company of 50 Artistic Director: Sergei Radchenko The Moscow Festival Ballet was founded in 1989 when legendary principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet Sergei Radchenko sought to realize his vision of a company which would bring together the highest classical elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in an independent new company within the framework of Russian classic ballet.
February 28: Gobsmacked!
This next-generation a cappella show redefines the limits of the human voice. Direct from sell out seasons in London, Hong Kong and Edinburgh comes the mind-blowing vocal show GOBSMACKED! the latest sensation from the UK.
Featuring the reigning world champion beatboxer Ball-Zee and an international cast of world-class vocalists, GOBSMACKED! weaves stories through all forms of a cappella from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge, multi-track live looping.
Heart stopping singing and jaw dropping beatboxing guarantees you leave with a song in your heart and a smile on your face.
March 1: Steep Canyon Rangers
A bluegrass band at their core, the Steep Canyon Rangers effortlessly walk the line between festival favorite and sophisticated string orchestra. They’re as danceable as the most progressive, party-oriented string band, and equally comfortable translating their songs for accompaniment by a full symphony.
It’s that mix of serious chops and good-natured fun that earned the Steep Canyon Rangers the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album Grammy in 2013 (for Nobody Knows You), and that drew celebrated comedian/banjoist Steve Martin to them when he needed a backing band. The Rangers are world-class musicians who are just as at home taking the stage at Carnegie Hall as they are knee- deep in a mountain brook, fly rod in hand.
Fifteen years and nine studio albums since forming in Chapel Hill, the sextet—who resides in the western N.C. mountains of Brevard and Asheville—returned to their roots at Echo Mountain Recording for their staggering new collection, RADIO. Recorded over three four-day sessions as the deep, snowy winter of 2015 held fast in the Blue Ridge, the band took full advantage of producer Jerry Douglas, who contributes his distinctive Dobro playing throughout the album.
March 14: Hamlet, Aquila Theater
Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play. Written in 1602, it is one of the most complete portrayals of the human psyche that exists in Western Literature. A compelling tale of familial discord, personal ambition, love and revenge, Hamlet has enthralled audiences for 400 years. Mortality and madness are two of the most pronounced themes of Shakespeare’s epic and the characters; Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Claudius inhabit a rich landscape replete with deceit, mistrust, and schemes. Four centuries after its premiere, Hamlet continues as one of the classics of the world stage.
Aquila’s productions of Shakespeare have been critically acclaimed by The New Yorker as “beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.” The New York Times says that Aquila “makes Shakespeare perfectly comprehensible” and hails the company as “an extraordinarily inventive and disciplined outfit.”
Directed by Desiree Sanchez, Aquila’s Hamlet will seek to shed new light on this tragic story. The production will use Sanchez’s innovative use of movement, design, sound, and superb acting to vividly explore the depths of rage, madness, love and death brought about by a culture of obsessive personal ambition. D.C. Metro said “Sanchez is wildly inventive, and the production choices made were carried out beautifully” and NY Theater Review says “her direction is polished and laser sharp. She gets the maximum amount of potential out of every stage moment, has exceptional attention to detail, and is a demiurge of direction.”
April 17: Cabaret
Based on Roundabout Theatre Company’s Tony Award®-winning production, SAM MENDES (Skyfall, American Beauty) and ROB MARSHALL’S (Into the Woods and Chicago, the films) CABARET comes to Alberta Bair Theater on April 17, 2018
Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen” and “Maybe This Time.” Leave your troubles outside – life is beautiful at CABARET– JOHN KANDER, FRED EBB and JOE MASTEROFF’s Tony-winning musical about following your heart while the world loses its way.
Jan Dietrich and Travis Nilles in ABT box office lobby
ABT announces New Box Office hours to begin Sept. 5
Alberta Bair Theater announces new box office hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The box office, located at 2801 Third Avenue North in Downtown Billings, begins these expanded hours on Tuesday, September 5 and will continue to be open two hours prior to any performance at the theater.
“Looking out my office window across from the theater, I saw, first hand, a need to expand our box office hours beyond 12:00 Noon,” said Jan Dietrich, executive director of Alberta Bair Theater. “Our staff continues to strive to meet and exceed our patrons’ expectations. Providing more access to our box office is in line with this organizational philosophy.”
Alberta Bair Theater for the Performing Arts
2722 3rd Ave N, Suite 200 | Billings, MT 59101
2017-18 Tickets On Sale!
Sept. 6 at 7 pm
Orser Outstanding Performances Series
Kristin Korb Trio
Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30
Sponsored by Sanderson Stewart
ABOUT THE ALBERTA BAIR THEATRE
Originally it was called The Fox Theater which opened its doors November 13, 1931, with a parade, a short-lived street dance and the motion picture “Merely Mary Ann” with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell.
This elegant theater, with its chandeliers, art deco design, dressing rooms and stage, was financed in part by the 20th Century Fox Corporation, which purchased the land from Charles M. Bair. The Fox Theater had the distinction of being the last Art Deco style theater in the United States built by the 20th Century Fox Corporation and designed by Robert C. Reamer.
The Fox Theater served as home for the Billings Community Concerts Organization for over fifty years. It was also the home venue for the Billings Symphony and Chorale and offered live plays and musicals that benefited the Fox Committee for the Performing Arts. This Committee was responsible for bringing such stellar performers as Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, George Winston and Judy Collins to our community. The Fox Committee’s name still lives on in the popular ‘Fox Series’ offered each season by the Alberta Bair Theater.
The Fox Theater was purchased by Carsich Theaters, a movie house company, in 1978. They planned to renovate the much loved but decaying theater into a three-screen, modern day movie house. The Fox Committee stopped this conversion and involved other community leaders in a drive to raise enough funds to renovate the building. The community support of the fundraising campaign was overwhelmingly positive.
The original Charles M. Bair family homestead sat on the same spot where the Fox Theater was built. This house, on the corner of what is now Broadway and Third Avenue North, is where Charles’ daughter Alberta M. Bair was born. This prompted Alberta Bair to provide the lead gift for the project and in 1987 the renovated Fox Theater was named in her honor.
Thanks to the dedication, vision and hard work of the founding board members, the Fox Committee and numerous community-minded people, the Alberta Bair Theater still stands as a world class performing arts center for all the people of Billings and the Northern Rockies.
Today the Alberta Bair Theater is the largest fully equipped performing arts center in the region. The 1400 seat venue showcases professional touring companies, featuring musician, dance, and theater performances, as well as local performing groups. The Alberta Bair Theater provides outstanding educational programming for 22,000 school children annually and serves a population of 400,000.