Try something new: Sheldon Theatre’s second half of season begins
Although we are only four days into the new year, the Sheldon Theatre’s calendar is in full swing as it continues its 25-year celebration with the second half of the performance season.
From films to bluegrass to dance and brass, the theatre’s lineup has a little something for everyone.
The Sheldon reopened in 1988 after being restored to its 1904 “jewel box” elegance. Originally designed for live theater, it operated as a movie house during the heyday of the silver screen.
For the last 24 of 25 years the performing arts center has been led by Executive Director Sean Dowse, who says he is overall pleased with the first half of the year as he looks forward to the remainder of the season.
“We had a good attendance and sales were a bit up over last year,” Dowse said. “It was a good first half, we had a bunch of really nice shows that people responded to.”
Tonight’s showing of the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” kicks off the lineup.
The Missoula Children’s Theatre is back and busy with “Blackbeard the Pirate” (Jan. 11) and “Betty Lou and the Country Beast” (Jan. 25).
“I’m looking forward to the improvised Shakespeare (Jan. 18) coming up. It is going to be a great hoot, great fun and people will all be laughing through that evening,” Dowse added.
New and noteworthy talent includes the “Valentine’s Day Comedy Special for Lovers” (Feb. 15).
“Two great comedians from the West Coast are coming into town,” Dowse said. The comedians, Pat Hazell and Karen Morgan, are top-notch in their industry.
Hazell is one of the original writers for NBC’s “Seinfield,” a “Tonight Show” veteran, contributing commentator on National Public Radio and Showtime declared him one of the five funniest people in America.
Morgan began her comedy career as a finalist on “Nick at Nite’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America.” Since then she has been on NBC, Nick Jr., CBS and more.
Dowse adds they are going to make people laugh a lot because “they are really good.”
Young adults should not miss out on the chance to see John Mark Nelson (March 8). The up-and-coming 19-year-old musician out of Minneapolis receives regular airtime on 89.3 the Current and brings with him Zoo Animal as the opening act. He’s a quickly emerging voice of new pop music, Dowse says, adding he may be doing a major record signing in the next month or so. “We are one of the first to grab him.”
“People who are interested in new pop music should really check this out,” Dowse added.
Wrapping up the list of new acts is a unique Earth Day celebration with Earth Tones (April 12). Red Wing’s own Lauren Pelon and a multitude of other musicians present music, poetry and stories that praise the earth.
“Lauren Pelon has a cycle of music she has written herself and I’m really looking forward to that,” Dowse said.
The Sheldon Brass Band returns for its annual spring concert (April 29).
Concluding the Sheldon’s season is the annual Red Wing High School musical (May 8-12) with “The Pajama Game” based on the novel “7 ½ Cents” by Richard Bissell, with book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.
The original Broadway version was first done in 1954 and Dowse said he doesn’t recall the musical ever being performed in town — at least in the last 30 years.
Audiences are exposed to the dangers of workplace romance to hysterical effect in this romantic comedy. Conditions of the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful as sparks fly between new superintendent Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams, leader of the union grievance committee. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a seven and a half cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.
The energetic score is brimming with songs and dances, features plenty of splashy, fun production numbers — including a comic “dream ballet.”
Dowse said it’s important for people to check out shows they may not be familiar with. “We always have good shows and people that come always enjoy them — so don’t be afraid to try something new.”
Tickets are on sale now. Call 651-388-8700 or 800-899-5759, or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org.
Sheldon’s second half of the season lineup
4 — “Lawrence of Arabia” on film
11 — Missoula Children’s Theatre presents “Blackbeard the Pirate”
18 — The Improvised Shakespeare Company
25 — Missoula Children’s Theatre presents “Betty Lou and the Country Beast”
1 — Groundhog Day Bill Murray-A-Thon
6 — Church Basement Ladies present “A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement”
8 — Leo Kottke
15 — Valentine’s Day Comedy Special for Lovers
21 — Arts Alive stage show
22 — Bluegrass Benefit for Humane Society
1 — Tu Dance
8 — John Mark Nelson with Zoo Animal
20 to 23 — Phoenix Theatre spring play “Rumors”
29 — Southeast Tech presents “Strings, Winds and Brass”
5 — Red Wing Singers present “Jazz Club”
12 — Lauren Pelon and Gary Holthaus present “Earth Tones”
19 — Dailey & Vincent
29 — Sheldon Theatre Brass Band spring concert
8-12 — Red Wing High School musical “The Pajama Game”