Montana Repertory Theater begins a series of staged readings in the library

A key step in taking a script from “page to stage” with the Montana Repertory Theater will happen in front of live audiences this spring.

The Rep is starting a four-part “First Readings” series, starting this Saturday, where theater fans can watch actors give a stage reading of a new play at the Missoula Public Library.

The Rep, a professional company located at the University of Montana School of Theater and Dance, is considering all four plays for a full production in its upcoming season. One will be chosen for sure, and there is potential for others as well.

“We’re looking for scripts that we think are of interest to the community, that could foster some really good community partnerships,” said Michael Legg, Art Director of Rep.

Our favorite photos from the week of March 6-12.

Normally, the process occurs out of public view. The agent has a selection committee that includes members of the community, people from the university and alumni of the cast who review the scripts that Legg has chosen and those that have been suggested.

People are also reading…

Some other criteria are also important. First, it must be a “new” play, which means two things in the case of the representative. It has not been fully produced in Montana before; and it was written in this century, ideally in the last 10 to 15 years.

For example, one of the selections from “First Readings” is called “The Christians” by Lucas Hnath, which takes place inside a megachurch and, naturally, is about faith. Legg said that if the company were to take it to full production, they would look to partner with local religious leaders, and perhaps try setting it up in an actual church and “invite people to come in and be part of a discussion about faith and religion in our community.” ”.

At the other end of the spectrum in terms of settings and themes, Chelsea Marcantel’s “Airness” centers on an air guitar competition (a real thing, by the way). That could lead to collaborations with local musicians and could be a good fit for producing in a bar, she said.

All readings will take place in the MPL Copper Room. Given the “page by stage” nature of the project, Legg said it seemed like an ideal location. After the readings, they will invite people to go to a bar to talk. The first will be Montgomery Distillery.

“The Christians” is the first on tap. The cast is made up entirely of Montanans and recent transplants: Mason Wagner has performed with the Rep and founded an independent company, BetweenTheLines; Annika Hanson has starred in Rep’s “Buckle Up” car plays; Karen Jean Olds participated in the movie filmed in Montana “God’s Country.” They are joined by Rosie Hallet and Michael Rohd.

the alignment

All readings take place at 2 pm on Saturdays. They are free and open to the public.

March 18th

“The Christians” by Lucas Hnath.

Here’s the plot synopsis provided by the rep: “Twenty years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was nothing more than a modest store. Now he presides over a congregation of thousands, complete with Sunday school classrooms, a lobby cafeteria and a baptismal font the size of a swimming pool. Today should be a day of celebration, but Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundations of his church’s faith.”

(Director Roger Hedden and his collaborators independently produced Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Pt. 2” at the ZACC Show Room in early 2020.)

April 8

Chelsea Marcantel’s Airness

Plot synopsis: “When Nina enters her first air guitar competition, she thinks winning will be easy, but when she befriends a group of charismatic nerds committed to becoming the next champions, she discovers more in this art form than play pretend.”

(Warning issued about language.)

April 15

“Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven” by Reina Hardy

“Annie Jump is a 13-year-old science genius whose alien-obsessed father is the laughing stock of Strawberry, Kansas. One night in August, a meteor strikes, and Annie meets Althea, an intergalactic supercomputer who manifests as a mean girl with really beautiful hair. Althea is here to help Annie take humanity from the earth to the stars, but being the Chosen One isn’t all glory. What is Althea hiding? And what will Annie have to sacrifice to fulfill her destiny?

May 6th

“The Roommate” by Jen Silverman

“Sharon, in her 50s, was recently divorced and needs a roommate to share her home in Iowa. Robyn, also in her 50s, needs a place to hide away and a chance to start over. But as Sharon begins to uncover Robyn’s secrets, they fuel her deep desire to completely transform her life.”

(Silverman wrote a short audio play, “Your Mother, In The Night Sky,” for The Representative’s Audio Series in Spring 2021.)


The representative will sell raffle tickets at each drawing. Prizes include merchandise and other gifts from local businesses. The grand winner will earn a two-night stay at Big Sky Resort in July, when the Representative hosts a private reading of a new play by Native American writer/actor Kendra Potter that the Representative will produce and premiere in a future season.

You must log in to react.
Click on any reaction to login.