From ‘Misery’ to ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Whitefish Theatre Company Announces Eclectic Season Lineup

For more information about the community-based performing arts organization's slate of 14 upcoming performances, visit whitefishtheatreco.org

By Mike Kordenbrock
Tony Nelson, right, and Stuart Green rehearse their roles in “Things Being What They Are" at the Whitefish Theatre Company in April 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Ebenezer Scrooge, a story of obsession straight from the dark mind of Stephen King, Inuit music, and a fiddle player who has drawn comparisons to Jimi Hendrix are all coming to the O’Shaughnessy Center for the Whitefish Theatre Company’s 2023 through 2024 season.

The recently announced season lineup features a total of 14 performances, including five musical acts, multiple staged readings, and several mainstage performances involving local casts and crews.

“We have tailored these seasons so there’s something for everybody,” said Kim Krueger, the artistic director for WTC, of what WTC has strived for in putting its lineup together.

Krueger added that she’s excited for the upcoming season, and the amount of local talent WTC has been able to bring together for its performances.

“We have the heart of the community in each of our productions, with our sets and costumes and actors that are just do dang good,” she said.

On Aug. 19, individual ticket sales open up. Through Aug. 18, ticket sales are available only for season ticket buyers and those who want to take advantage of the theatre company’s Build-Your-Own-Season program, which offers ticket buyers tickets at a discount rate. The Build-Your-Own program requires the purchase of tickets for at least six different performances, in exchange for a 10% discount. The full season pass, which costs $260, comes out to a 15% discount on ticket prices, with the cost of a ticket coming out to a little under $19 per performance. Season ticket-holders also have the option to exchange tickets if there are multiple nights of a show and they have a scheduling conflict.

“We really do think it’s the best deal in town,” said WTC Executive Director Jen Asebrook.

A poster showing the performances planned for the Whitefish Theatre Company’s 2023 through 2024 season.

This year’s season kicks off on Sept. 23 and 24 with a Black Curtain theatre production of “Kalamazoo,” a play which tells the story of two people in their 70s delving into the world of online dating.

Then, WTC will have a mainstage production of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” a play that has won four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Performances of “Lost in Yonkers” are scheduled Oct. 12 through Oct. 15, and Oct. 19 through 21.

Oct. 27, the Inuit musical group Pamyua will perform at the O’Shaughnessy Center. In a press release WTC described Pamyua  as “Showcasing Inuit culture and history through music, dance, and masks from many Alaska Native cultures,” and reinterpreting “traditional melodies with contemporary sounds of soul.”

On Nov. 11 and 12, WTC will take on “Admissions,” as a Black Curtain theatre performance, meaning the play will be performed as a staged reading. “Admissions” is “a sharp-witted, devastating, and shockingly blunt look at privilege, power, and the perils of hypocrisy,” according to a WTC press release. The play concerns Bill and Sherri Rosen-Mason, white, progressives who work at a New Hampshire boarding school, and find their son’s Ivy League aspirations at risk.  

Blues guitarist Albert Cummings, who has played with Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Susan Tedeschi, Sheryl Crow, and B.B. King, will perform Nov. 17. Cummings will be joined by a four-piece band.

This year’s Christmas show will be “A Christmas Carol: The Musical,” with shows Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, and Dec. 14 through Dec. 17. The musical is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale in which the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a ghostly journey through the past, present and future. The show is being billed as a family-friendly event, and WTC’s Christmas shows are among its most popular each year. This particular version of “A Christmas Carol” features music by the composer Alan Menken, who is known for his work producing music for Disney classics including “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and Pocahontas.”

“It’s just some of the greatest music and just a classic story,” Krueger said.

On Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, WTC will put on a Black Curtain theatre staged reading of Jen Silverman’s contemporary fable “Witch,” in which Scratch, a devil dressed as a salesman, arrives in a town in the pursuit of souls.  He encounters Elizabeth, the outcast “Witch of Edmonton,” who is reluctant to buy what he’s selling.

On Jan. 24, WTC will host a musical performance from Bridge and Wolak, a pair of musicians who incorporate comedy into a performance involving accordion, piano, and clarinet, which ranges across classical, world and jazz fusion music.

The following month features mainstage performances of a stage adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel “Misery.” The book, which was also adapted into a 1990 thriller movie starring Kathy Bates and James Caan, follows an obsessive fan who has trouble letting go after rescuing her favorite author from a car crash. “Misery,” is recommended for mature audiences, and performances are planned for Feb. 22 through Feb. 25, Feb. 29, and March 1 through March 2. The version WTC will be performing was adapted for the stage by William Goldman, an author and screenwriter who wrote “The Princess Bride,” and “Marathon Man,” and also wrote screenplays for “The Princess Bride,” “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid,” and “All The President’s Men.”

“The movie stuck very close to the book, and this play sticks extremely close to the movie,” Krueger said. “If people are Stephen King fans, they will love this.”  

On March 6, Eileen Ivers, who has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the Violin,” will perform with her four-piece band. Ivers’ decades-long career has seen her perform with Riverdance, and achieve the title of All-Ireland fiddle champion nine times.

On March 16 and March 17, WTC will host a Black Curtain theatre reading of “The Tin Woman,” which tells the story of Joy, a woman in her mid-30s who has received a heart transplant, but struggles to find joy amid doubts about whether or not she’s deserving. In pursuit of answers, Joy seeks out the family of her donor, which results in what WTC characterized in a press release as “a complex web of laughter and grief,” that is based on a true story.

In April, WTC will put on a mainstage production of “Silent Sky,” a play which looks at Henrietta Leavitt as she charts the stars at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s in “ a society determined to keep a woman in her place.” Performances are scheduled for April 11 through April 14, and April 18 through April 20.

“It’s just a lovely, funny, and really interesting, intriguing story,” Krueger said, noting that it’s written by the same playwright, Lauren Gunderson, who wrote “The Revolutionists,” which WTC performed on the mainstage last year.

Next, Jesus Munoz Flamenco, an ensemble of dancers and musicians from Mexico, will perform on May 10, in a show that takes flamenco singing as a source of inspiration for latin, jazz, and hip-hop sounds interwoven with flamenco dance.

The final WTC performance of the season will be “Death by Design,” a murder-mystery story set in the 1930s in which a playwright and his actress wife flee their professional failures to a country manor, where guests harboring secrets continue to arrive. Bridgit, an Irish maid at the manor, is tasked with solving the crime that takes place, in a story that blends comedy and mystery. “Death By Design,” is scheduled for May 30 through May 31, June 1 through June 2 and June 6 through June 8.

“It’s a comedy, and like a mixture between Noel Coward and Agatha Christie,” Krueger said. “It’s just really fun. Lots of wacky, fun characters. It should be a good season ending for our mainstage. “

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 406-862-5371, or go to whitefishtheatreco.org.