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PHOTO COURTESY OF UNSPLASH.COM

‘HOWL! A Montana Love Story’ premieres at WMPAC

BIG SKY COMMUNITY THEATER

BIG SKY – When Virginia City playwright Allyson Adams first debuted the precursor to “HOWL! A Montana Love Story” in 1997, members of the audience, some troubled by the content, packed into a tiny Ennis furniture store for the performance.

The venue wasn’t Adams’ first choice, but the controversial, watershed ecological event that served as the basis for the play—the 1995 reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park—had some Madison County residents bristling.

The original play was titled “The People vs. Hairy Wolf,” and was performed by 25 youth drama students from Ennis. To the audience’s surprise, Adams says, they found the story quite balanced, neither leaning in favor of the wolves nor the ranchers who felt left out of the reintroduction decision-making process.

The world premiere of Adams’ latest play, “Howl! A Montana Love Story,” comes to the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center on Nov. 15 and 16, and revisits the wolf reintroduction telling the story with drama, humor, modern dance and live music. 

Carly (played by Kali Armstrong) is a young woman haunted by prescient dreams of a white wolf, and her boyfriend Quinn (Josh Allen), is a rancher who sees the wolf reintroduction as nothing more than a danger and detriment to his livelihood. The wolf reintroduction divides the small ranching town near Yellowstone National Park where they live, creating a stand off among residents on both sides of the issue. The town also responds to newcomers arriving in the wake of the wolf reintroduction firestorm, including a wolf biologist (Ashley Hegseth) and an East

Coast reporter (Joe O’Connor).

“Howl!” also features previously unreleased original music by renowned American pianist George Winston, a live band featuring original music and vocals by Armstrong, joined by local actor Stephanie Kissell, and modern dance choreography by Jennifer Waters.

Under the guidance of Adams and veteran Bozeman director Cara Wilder, the local 12-member cast will take the WMPAC stage at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 and 5 p.m. on Nov. 16.

“I was thrilled when [WMPAC artistic director] John Zirkle asked me to direct a Big Sky Community Theater production this fall,” Wilder said. “He gave me the option of choosing a play, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to present Allyson’s play. She and I are friends, and she brought the play to me about a decade ago so that’s how long we’ve been discussing presenting it somewhere, somehow.”

That vision will soon come to fruition at WMPAC—don’t miss the opportunity to see this important and entertaining story told by a local playwright and director, and performed by local actors.

Visit warrenmillerpac.org for more info.

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