Southwest Montana has a flair for the dramatic. Each year, the region hosts more live performances than you could possible count. From elaborate annual productions like the Montana Folk Festival, An Ri Ra and the Montana Ballet Company’s Nutcracker to bands playing in bars and cafes across the region, Southwest Montana will always entertain. There are, of course, far too many venues and performances to count, but here is a list of the top 10 places to see live performances in Southwest Montana.
1. Grandstreet Theater, Helena—Featuring eight or nine plays and musicals a year, the Grandstreet is home to Montana’s longest running community theater as well as a nationally-known theater school for kids in grades K-12.
2. Motherlode and Orphan Girl Theaters, Butte—The opulent Motherlode Theater was built in 1923, and today serves as a as the home theater for nearly a dozen performance groups and events. The Orphan Girl Theater, on the lower level is a nationally renowned children’s theater.
3. Opera House, Philipsburg—The Opera House Theater in Philipsburg host three different plays all summer long and features an ensemble cast of professionals from across the country.
4. Myrna Loy Center, Helena—Tony winning musicals, indie movies, local bands, visual artists…the Myrna Loy center in Helena provides the community with an endless supply of high quality arts and entertainment all year long.
5. Montana Shakespeare Company, Helena—In addition to offering two professional plays each summer (and occasional special performances like December 2014’s Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus) the Montana Shakespeare Company also offers a fantastic week-long acting day camp for kids. (visit their website here)
6. Living History, Virginia City, Bannack, Nevada City—Throughout the year, volunteers gather in three of Montana’s most famous ghost towns to bring the state’s colorful past to life.
7. Virginia City Players, Virginia City—Specializing in 19th Century melodrama and vaudeville, the Virginia City Players at the Virginia City Opera House is the oldest continuously operating summer stock theater company west of the Mississippi. Plays run from May to September.
8. Brewery Follies, Virginia City—Be prepared for a raucous good time at the Gilbert Brewery in Virginia City. Self-described as a “risque contemporary American-burlesque-cabaret musical and skit show,” the Brewery Follies provide a hilarious end to a day in Virginia City.
9. Live! At the Civic Center, Helena—Helena’s longest running performance art series, Live! At the Civic Center offers a blend of contemporary and classical musical performances all year long.
10. Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Various Locations. —Each summer, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks packs a full cast and an elaborate set into a few vans and travels the Northwest, providing incredible theatrical performances to some of the smallest towns in Montana.