Here’s a quick guide to some upcoming arts and cultural events around Missoula over the coming week.
Reggie Watts Annual Wilma Show
As always, expect the unexpected when unclassifiable comedian/musician Reggie Watts makes his annual Wilma appearance. The Great Falls High School grad has made them a regular stop on the way home for the holidays, and they deserve the term “unique” for several reasons.
First, he improvises his shows from scratch every time – the only thing you’ll know for sure is that it’s going to be spontaneous, nonsensical humor and music he makes on the fly with a keyboard and a looper. Second, because these are state of origin shows, it throws in some very specific jokes for the locals that you probably won’t find anywhere else. (Like an improvised piano ballad on Lake MacDonald, or jokes about Montana’s love of sports and recreation.)
Tickets cost between $32.50 and $40 at logjampresents.com. Doors open at 7 a.m. and the show starts at 8 a.m.
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MCT’s “Charlie Brown” Musical
(Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 16-19)
Missoula Community Theater is wrapping up 2021 with a nostalgic Tony Award-winning musical based on Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoons. A cast of six (adult) actors will bring the story and melodies to life, under the direction of director Joe Martinez and musical director Arielle Nachtigal.
The show ends December 16-19 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets cost between $20 and $30, depending on the seating level. Call 406-728-7529, visit mctinc.org, or the box office. Masks are mandatory inside.
‘Hearth: A Christmas Tale’
(Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 16-18)
“Hearth: A Yuletide Tale” is a brand new play (with music, but it’s not a musical) courtesy of the Montana Repertory Theater and local musician/actor Tyson Gerhardt.
The original show centers on a young protagonist who encounters a group of buskers and homeless people during a cold December and faces choices about how best to help. Gerhardt, who plays Dusty the Kid and with a band called The Recession Special, has written songs that reflect his interest in mountain music, old times, folk and punk rock.
This weekend’s run, Dec. 16-18, is taking place at a different venue — the Zootown Arts Community Center Exhibit Hall. The first half was played at the representative’s home at the Montana Theater at the University of Montana’s PAR/TV center. These latter shows are off-campus in hopes of helping to potentially attract a different crowd that likely enjoys Gerhardt’s music but does not regularly go to see plays on campus.
It’s at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-19, with doors opening at 7 p.m. The representative uses a “choose what you pay” pricing model, where audience members choose their contribution rather than a fixed price. Go to montanarep.com Where griztix.com for more information. Masks are mandatory in the ZACC when not actively sipping a drink.
There will be talks after each show, as the rep and Gerhardt want to hear feedback on the story, which they hope to turn into an annual Missoula tradition.
Dedication of an artist’s book at the MAM
Two artists who have shared major exhibitions at the Missoula Art Museum will be in town to sign the newly released 2-5 p.m. catalogs “A Hymn for the Mother” by Anne Appleby, covering the veteran artist’s scaled-down color paintings based in Jefferson City in black-and-white landscape paintings and video and photography. Jon Lodge’s “Fracture” explored the concepts of abstraction in large-scale paintings and installations based on huge paper cuts (sometimes up to the ceiling). It’s free, with live music from the jazz band Trio Noir.
(*This event, originally scheduled for Saturday, December 18, has been postponed past the print deadline due to weather and other delays.)
Aboriginal Festival Art Market
See works by Indigenous artists from Missoula and western Montana at the All Nations Health Center and Jeannette Rankin Peace Center’s Indigenous Holiday Art Market. It operates from 1 to 4 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Missoula Public Library. It is free to enter and park. Masks are highly recommended. For more information, check out this week’s preview.