Conte will perform at WMPAC this upcoming Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY BOBBY CONTE THORNTON

Broadway star Bobby Conte Thornton at WMPAC December 5

Yes, the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center is still having their annual winter season. In fact, there are even more events planned for this season than usual. “The caliber of performances is as high as ever, but the way we’ll experience them looks different,” said John Zirkle, executive director of WMPAC. “We’re rolling with the punches and are excited to bring live arts experiences back to Big Sky.”

Capitalizing on the success of the Center’s largely virtual spring series, this winter audiences have the option of experiencing the shows either in-person or virtually. Theater capacity is capped at 25% for in-person attendance, but guests can also stream the performances live from home through WMPAC’s new streaming platform, wmpac. live.

The first performance takes place this Saturday, Dec. 5, and features Broadway star Bobby Conte Thornton. Thornton will be performing a series of Broadway standards and reimagined classics, accompanied by longtime musical director James Sampliner on piano and Michael Steele on bass. After Broadway’s lights went dark this spring in response to the pandemic, Thornton spent a large portion of his quarantine in Big Sky, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to perform for a live audience again. He’s been described as “the type of performer who seems to have every emotion immediately available to him” by the Times Union, and made his Broadway debut starring in A Bronx Tale, directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks. The performance kicks off at 7pm MST. In-person tickets are still available and priced at $15, and virtual tickets are $10.

Guests who want to play it safe but don’t want to sacrifice their arts experiences can also buy a virtual season pass, which gives access to every streamed WMPAC show for $49.

The following Saturday, Dec. 12, WMPAC embraces the holidays with a cheeky 2020 version of A Christmas Carol by Emmy Award-winning group Manual Cinema. In their version, skeptical Aunt Trudy has been recruited to channel her late husband, Joe’s, famous Christmas cheer. From the isolation of her Chicago apartment, she reconstructs his annual Christmas Carol puppet show – over a Zoom call, while the family celebrates Christmas Eve under lockdown. But as Trudy becomes more absorbed in her own version of the story, the puppets take on a life of their own, and the family’s call transforms into a stunning cinematic adaptation of Dickens’ classic ghost story.

Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. The group will perform their version from their Chicago studio, which will then be livestreamed at WMPAC for those who want to watch it on the big screen, as well as on wmpac. live for those who prefer to watch from home. Live and virtual tickets are still available, and are both $15.

For tickets and more information and performances and Covid safety policies, visit https://warrenmillerpac.org/

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