WARREN MILLER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
BIG SKY – On March 9, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center will welcome perhaps the biggest name of any performer in the center’s six-year history. Ira Glass, the NPR radio personality and host of the massively popular podcast “This American Life,” is coming to Big Sky for two back-to-back shows.
According to executive director of WMPAC John Zirkle, it’s the most popular show the center has ever hosted, illustrated by the fact that tickets sold out nearly two months ahead of the performance.
“It’s a testament to this performance space that we’re bringing such a big name and that people are coming from as far away as Billings to experience a WMPAC show,” Zirkle said. “We’ve built considerable momentum over the past five years and people from surrounding communities are starting to take note of what we’ve got going on in Big Sky.”
Fans of “This American Life” know to expect Glass’ incisive storytelling and trademark blend of humor and empathy for the vast range of human experience he probes in the radio show and podcast.
However, attendees might not expect this type of show. Glass will perform a series of stories with two professional dancers, Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, who will illustrate the stories he tells with choreography. As Glass put it, the three of them set out to combine two art forms that “have no business being together: dance and radio.”
“What makes it work is a shared sensibility,” Glass said. “As dancers, Monica and Anna are these amazingly relatable and funny storytellers without words.”
WMPAC is no stranger to uncommon artistic collaborations, and Zirkle knows that Big Sky is an ideal venue for this type of experimental performance.
“The Big Sky community prides itself on pushing boundaries,” he said. “People don’t live here because they prefer their comfort zone. They choose to live here because they want to learn and explore. We’re fortunate to be rooted in a community that encourages us to bring in new work like this.”