Theater, dance and music return in person this July
WARREN MILLER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
BIG SKY – For lovers of theater, music and dance, the summer at Warren Miller Performing Arts Center has become a local tradition, one that Executive Director John Zirkle has announced will return with live performances in July. Now in its eighth summer, WMPAC’s artists-in-residence actually never stopped creating and presenting, even last summer, and this season’s line-up is directly informed by work incubated during the pandemic.
“This summer’s line-up isn’t a ‘return’ to the theater, because we never left,” explains Zirkle. “It’s a continuation. You’ll see us incorporate new techniques and technology into the hallmarks of WMPAC summer: personal relationships with our community and our creators, the joy of seeing new work live, and the artistic process at work.”
The first performance of the summer, on Sunday, July 11, will be an episode of a new musical, “Keep Your Head Down,” which was commissioned last summer as part of WMPAC’s virtual Big Sky Summer Theatre Festival. This year, the project takes a leap forward with in-person performances from all of the artists. “Keep Your Head Down” is an episodic musical that uses docu-style interviews, original songs and animation to debunk myths about the Asian-American experience.
The timely and provocative show is now in development for a limited TV series. Audiences will see an episode of that series adapted for the stage, and get to discuss the process and material with the actors and creative team, lead by Ari Afsar and director Jess McLeod, after the show.
On July 17, Big Sky’s favorite dance company, James Sewell Ballet, is back. The hyper-collaborative and inventive troupe, locally known for dancing in ski boots, will team up with regional choir Roots in the Sky for a unique combination of movement and sound. Zirkle says the show will specifically highlight the joys of togetherness we’ve all been missing.
Finally, on July 30 and 31, the renowned Grammy-winning vocal group The Crossing returns for two unforgettable outdoor concerts, inspired by the Nordic ski experience and piano concert of last winter. “We’ve learned we can put on a concert anywhere a person can carry a backpack,” says Zirkle.
In the first concert, on Friday, vocalists stationed along a trail through the forest at the Jack Creek Preserve will provide “a new voice every 50 feet, as if the music is developing as you walk through it,” Zirkle explains. On Saturday, audiences will walk to a gorgeous mountain meadow above Moose Creek in the canyon with Cache Creek Outfitters for a literal surround-sound experience. The musical selections at each venue will be different, reflecting the location, and give audiences a combination of natural beauty and refined artistry they won’t soon forget.
Reservations can be made for each experience online at warrenmillerpac.org. Spots are limited, and prices for entry range from $19 per person for experiences at WMPAC to $50 per car at outdoor locations. The ongoing vision of the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is to create in the summer, present in the winter and inspire year-round.