Here’s a quick guide to some upcoming arts and cultural events around Missoula in the coming week.
Reggie Watts’ annual Wilma show
(Friday, Dec. 17)
As always, expect the unexpected when the unclassifiable comedian/musician Reggie Watts makes his annual appearance at the Wilma. The Great Falls High School graduate has made these a regular stop on his way home for the holidays, and they warrant the term “unique” for a few reasons.
First, he improvises his shows from scratch each time out — the only thing you’ll know for sure is that it will involve spontaneous, absurdist humor and music he makes on the fly with a keyboard and looping device. Second, since these are home state shows, he throws out very specific jokes for the locals that you probably won’t find elsewhere. (Such as an improvised piano ballad about Lake MacDonald, or jokes about Montanans’ love of athleisure.)
Tickets are $32.50-$40 at logjampresents.com. Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8.
MCT’s ‘Charlie Brown’ musical
(Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 16-19)
Missoula Community Theatre is ending 2021 with a Tony-winning nostalgic musical based on Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoons. A cast of six (adult) actors will bring the story and tunes to life, under the lead of director Joe Martinez and music director Arielle Nachtigal.
The show closes out its run Dec. 16-19 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $20-$30, depending on seating tier. Call 406-728-7529, visit mctinc.org, or the box office. Masks are required indoors.
‘Hearth: A Yuletide 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 Theatre and local musician/actor Tyson Gerhardt.
The original show centers on a young protagonist who falls in with a group of buskers and houseless folks during a cold December and faces choices about how best he can help. Gerhardt, who performs as Dusty the Kid and with a group called the Recession Special, wrote songs that reflect his interest in mountain music, old-time, folk and punk rock.
This weekend’s run, Dec. 16-18, is at a different venue — the Zootown Arts Community Center’s Show Room. The first half was at the Rep’s home base in the Montana Theatre at the University of Montana’s PAR/TV Center. These last shows are off-campus in hopes of helping to potentially draw a different crowd that likely enjoys Gerhardt’s music but doesn’t regularly go over to see plays on campus.
It’s at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-19, with doors opening at 7. The Rep is using a “pick what you pay” pricing model, where audience members choose their contribution rather than a set price. Go to montanarep.com or griztix.com for more information. Masks are required in the ZACC when not actively sipping a beverage.
There will be talk-back 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.
Artist book signing at the MAM
(Thursday, Dec. 23)*
Two artists who shared major exhibitions at the Missoula Art Museum will be in town to sign newly published catalogs from 2-5 p.m. Anne Appleby's "A Hymn for the Mother," spanned the veteran Jefferson City-based artist's reduced color paintings to black-and-white landscape paintings and video and photography. Jon Lodge's "Fracture" explored concepts of abstraction in large-scale paintings and installation works based on huge (sometimes ceiling-high) cuts of paper. It's free, with live music by jazz group Trio Noir.
(*This event, originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 18, was postponed after print edition deadline due to weather and other delays.)
Indigenous Holiday Art Market
(Sunday, Dec. 19)
Check out works by Indigenous artists from Missoula and western Montana during the Indigenous Holiday Art Market from the All Nations Health Center and the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center. It runs from 1-4 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Missoula Public Library. It’s free to get in and free to park. Masks are highly recommended. For more information, see this week’s preview.