Thursday, August 31, 2023

Rome Vivaldi concert rockets to top of reviewer's lifetime concert list

Elvin Dhimitri turns a page on a score, backed by one of two second violinists, partly hidden at left,
with his violist near mirror, and cellist, seated at right.  Each of six musicians participated in a stunning concert.




The second violinists enter the stage for an encore.

MUSIC CHANGED my life when I was a three year old, watching spellbound as the great Jascha Heifetz play Paganini.  I was mesmerized. I wanted to play the violin. And did, although piano is my main instrument.

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie"
Meyers arrive for the concert.
Music continues to enhance and guide my life.  It has taken me to concert halls, jazz clubs, orchestra pits and dressing rooms.  It has opened doors, introduced me to fellow musicians and music lovers around the world.  Music has made friends on ships, trains and even airplanes, when I played a keyboard long ago on the topside cocktail lounge of a glorious Boeing 747. The first-class cabin sang show tunes all the way from Los Angeles to New York.
The soloist, Elvin Dhimitri, and Cookie after
the concert. Both all smiles, a wonderful night
following a terrific day tour with GetYourGuide.

A RECENT NIGHT TO remember rocketed to the top of my "most memorable" concert list.  It shines next to Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's Radio City Music Hall farewell. The concert featured brilliant violinist Elvin Dhimitri, considered by many as one of Italy's finest living violinists.
Bruce Keller secretly purchased a pair of tickets to Dhimitri's "Le Quattro Stagioni," better known to the English speaking world as "The Four Seasons," Vivaldi's masterpiece. The famous concertos composed in 1723, are the world's most popular pieces of Baroque music and broke ground with their lyrical depiction of the changing seasons.
"Keller and Cookie" peak out from behind a poster advertising
the Vivaldi concert.  It will run through mid-December,
so if you're in Rome, don't miss it. Opera E Lirica sponsors.

The pieces are famous for their flourish and technical innovations. Dhimitri's dazzling technique brought the works to a mesmerized house on a hot late-August evening. His immaculately honed technique and unflappable stage presence transported the audience into a dream world. As a fellow concert goer said, "He played as if possessed by a holy spirit, a musical genius under a spell."
A PERFECT RAPPORT with his gifted players was sustained in frequent eye contact. His ensemble includes two second violins, a violist, cellist and harpsichord so we had the pleasure of hearing six superbly talented musicians.
THE DAY Tour walk with GetYourGuide was terrific -- amiable guide, knowledgeable and fun to point out new things about places we'd been before.
THEN THE  EVENING was charmed from beginning to end.  Keller and I took a taxi from our hotel to the venue, stopping for a glass of wine for me, a beer for Keller, at the Sala Verdi concert hall, inside the gracious Hotel Quirinale, a treasure of its own built in 1865 near the Piazza Venezia. It's in the heart of Roma, five minutes from the Colosseum and just a bit farther to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps.
WE HAD hoped to hear the concert in Church of San Francesco Caravita but temperatures of near 100 degrees forced moving it to the cooler hotel concert hall, with its equally fine acoustics and plenty of history to entertain concert goers before the show began.  

Violinist Jascha Heifetz
performed at Fox Theatre
in the early 1950s when
Cookie was a little girl.

We in the audience were from all over the globe: India, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, Australia, greeted by a lovely Eliana, who scanned our tickets and had an assistant guide us to our second-row seats. 
I could feel the presence of my grandmother, a fine pianist and
A lifelong love of music began at birth -- or
likely before -- for Cookie, whose musical
mother and grandmother greatly influence her.

accompanist, and my mother, who also played piano and was an accomplished violinist.  She and another old friend, Eloise Kirk, played fiddle in the Montana State University Orchestra in Bozeman. Each was  pregnant with their first child -- Eloise had her son John and my mother had me.
THE EVENING was too brief. There were three sets of gracious applause-filled bows, followed by exits.  Then Dhimitri appeared again to cheers, and ushered his ensemble back on stage. After a generous encore  -- more Vivaldi, a precisely rendered section of "The Four Seasons" -- the musicians took a final bow and exited.
A beautiful harpsichord was
much photographed after
the standing-ovation crowd.
By good fortune, we were able to catch up to Dhimitri for a brief chat after his exhausting performance. 
He was gracious and accommodating, put his violin case down to pose for photos and answer a couple questions. He believes in daily practice, like Heifetz, and off stage showed himself to be a gentleman of elegance, discipline and gracious demeanor.
The audience would have enjoyed another 90 minutes, but the maestro and his five faithful and equally gifted players, are doing several shows a week through mid December. So the evening sadly ended.
Tickets are reasonably priced for this masterful program, from 15 Euros to 50 Euros.
If you're in Rome and have the Roma pass, ask for the "Roma Pass" discount.
If you're in Europe, call +39 338 12 18 424.
For a fun, reasonably priced tour in many cities worldwide: 

The rocky seashore of Madeira is only one of its charms.
The beautiful Portuguese island has been popular with
Europeans and sun-seekers from Britain for decades. 

NEXT UP: Madeira. It sounds lovely and it is. Long a favorite of visitors from the UK, this Portuguese island is now popular with tourists from all over the world. This gorgeous island is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 kilometers from the Portuguese mainland. The picturesque island is part of the Madeira Islands group. Besides the wine for which it is famous, it offers beach activities, beautiful hotels and restaurants, historic monuments, and fabulous botanical gardens.  Come along with us, remembering to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, the arts, nature, family and more.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Tippet Rise spotlights Montana's geology along with nature, music, art

Artist Mark di Suvero's "Beethoven's Quartet" is a stunning work. An art tour participant in the left
of the photo gives a sense of the enormity of the monumental piece at Tippet Rise Art Center.




Geologist John Weber earned his doctorate at Northwestern University
and has made a name for himself studying plate tectonics around the world.
Here, he explains shifts in the earth at Tippet Rise, over 3 billion years.


MONTANA'S STUNNING Tippet Rise Art Center is a music, art and nature showpiece reflecting its founders' love of the arts and nature and their desire to welcome the public.

This year, the enchanting center entertained a different group of visitors. The engaging complex invited guests to "Geo-Paleo Tours,'' exploring the ancient geological history of the sprawling 12,500-acre, working cattle ranch.

A man made piece of art, Domo, is one of
three  pieces at Tippet Rise created by
amble Studio of Spain. Here, Cookie
is dwarfed by the massive 2016 sculpture.
POISED AT the convergence of two contrasting regions -- the Beartooth Mountains and the Great Plains -- Tippet 

Rise hosts world class players of classical and cutting edge composers. It is also home to a unique combination of geologic wonders, from fossilized marine life to ice-age gravel deposits. The art center celebrates multiple connections between nature, art, architecture, and music.  
WE HOPPED in two comfy vans with a small group of  a dozen-plus fellow "geo enthusiasts" to study some of the oldest rocks on planet Earth. The sea shells we find on our hikes along the West Fork of the Stillwater River prove the existence here of early marine life in what expert John Weber calls "upturned limestone palisade fins." 
We joined other lucky guests who signed up early to tour the acreage, making a series of stops to meander past grazing cattle and explore the land. We gained insights into ancient geological and paleontological features, glimpsing into the past as we viewed rocks, valleys and ledges with ancient history scattered across the art center’s acreage.
We learned that a mile-deep sheet of ice once covered the Beartooth Mountains we know and love today. Difficult to imagine, but true.

Geology fascinates Karen May,
who uses career experience to enhance
the "hands on" tour at Tippet Rise. 
While hiking and examining maps, graphs and  rock samples, we learned that the melting and slipping of the ice sheets created over time the valleys and streams we see today. The past came alive as we learned of the shifts, turns and eruptions which shaped the landscape we explore on foot, bikes and off-road vehicles.
Through the enterprise of Tippet Rise founders Peter and Cathy Halstead, the
art center undertook these geo tours to complement the concerts of classical music and exhibits of huge contemporary outdoor sculptures.
Expert geologists take participants on a lively,
energetic hike to explore Tippet Rise and its
rocks, limestone cliffs and fossils. Hikers also
learn of volcanic eruptions which shaped the land.


Photographer Bruce Keller enjoys several
hikes in Tippet Rise's 12,000 acres.
We drove past massive contemporary art pieces, learning that millions of years ago, gravel encrusted plateaus spread out on Tippet Rise. These remain on the ranch, eroded from the rising Beartooths. We walked this land on four hikes through the varied land, climbing and touching many intriguing formations.

WEBER showed us fossils that might have gone unnoticed but for his sharp eye. Hard for this musician and writer to wrap the brain around billion year old rocks -- or to grasp that "younger ones'' in our area of the Beartooths are only 75 to 80 million years old, mere kids in the planet's geological evolution.

 One tour participant, a geologist with her master's degree, studies Montana's landscape from her summer home in Bozeman, returning to Seattle in the winter.  She and others considered the nearly four-hour adventure "enlightening, mind boggling."  Another excited tour hiker, a musician and fan of the musical component of the art center, said the "Geology and Landscape" tour is a lovely complement to the art and music, and a much older component of what makes Tippet Rise unique.

Spotlight on Center's art 

A thin shaft of white is likely bone, preserved in the rock.

A dozen geology buffs enjoy several hikes over a period of
hours, moving from place to place in vans, to explore the
Tippet Rise geological wonders, sculpted over the ages.

"WE ARE SO lucky to have this in south-central Montana, and so close to Yellowstone Park," he said. My observant Keller also noted how the "geo tour" is another way the center's founders exhibit environmental consciousness. The Halsteads are "environmentally savvy," he observed, in the way they minimize impact on the land. Buildings are warmed and cooled by geothermal systems and lit by solar power. The place is beautifully designed so that even deep parking lots are camouflaged by the hillsides.  A well organized construction project has brought in trucks and other equipment to build a state of the art sound studio, latest project in the wings.

THE GEO-PALEO tours reflect a partnership between Tippet Rise and the Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association (YBRA). Funding comes from Princeton Geological Association, dating back to a 1936 agreement made at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains near Red Lodge, Montana. YBRA’s distinguished faculty includes Weber, who guided our tour, the last of the season.

The concert season began Aug. 18. A March lottery determined lucky ticket holders for the short season of world class performers. The coveted concerts end Sept. 17. Check the website Wednesdays for rare but occasional tickets. 

Elvin Dhimitri of Opera E Lirica in Rome, gives a
brilliant concert of "The Four Seasons."
UP NEXT: We're in Rome, seeing splendid buildings, fountains and artwork. A highlight of the week was a brilliant performance of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" featuring Italy's most famous violinist, Elvin Dhimitri. The concert rocketed to the top of Cookie's "Lifetime Top Concerts" -- tying for first place with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, with a host of other highlight concerts on a burgeoning list. Then we're off to Madeira, and whale watching off the coast of Oregon. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on life, nature, the arts, family and more.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Pop-up Montana wedding: Here comes the surprised, speechless bride!

The clan gathered for a birthday party for Christene "Cookie" Meyers, but she didn't know it was also a wedding.  Her longtime partner, photographer Bruce Keller, had arranged the ceremony with
the couple's niece and nephew, Amarylla and Steve Ganner. "Father Steve" officiated.

"Father Steve," a San Francisco lay minister, has 
officiated at other weddings. He and his wife,
Cookie's niece Amarylla, secretly arranged
with Keller to add a wedding to the birthday bash.


(including selfies on timer)

"The past is prologue." William Shakespeare

WHEN ANTONIO delivers that famous line in "The Tempest,"  he means that everything that has gone before sets the scene for what happens next. In my life, that rings true.
I met Bruce William Keller 17 years ago --  symmetry in this crazy world. I was reeling from serious loss, considering the nunnery.
Then I met Keller. Kind, funny, sweet Keller.
Niece Amarylla, and great-nieces Peny and
Isabella, enjoy weekend companionship.

Little did I know that my two late husbands' first names -- Bruce and William -- were also his first and middle names. Are they keeping an eye on me from The Great Beyond? 
A love of travel and the arts brought us together.  In those next high-flying years, we'd log close to a million airline miles.  We've had so darned much fun, visiting family and friends in Oregon, New York, California, Georgia, New Zealand, Israel, 
The party's mountain backdrop in the Beartooths.
Great Britain, Italy, Norway and more.
Niece Kelly, sister Olivia,
and nephew Orion.
Nieces Ariel and Elliana.
BUT I CERTAINLY didn't guess that he'd cook up a wedding proposal a few days ago.
At our family reunion parties, there are two conditions:  One is that everyone must wear a hat, a tradition begun years ago by my behatted grandmother and mum.  The other is that we tell stories.  Everyone must come up with a line or two, an anecdote, a joke, a poem or song about the honoree.
Future groom: day before the birthday party,
the guys got together for a group photo.

Sister-in-law Jane
Milder made a
lovely wreath.
So when it came Keller's turn, he told a couple  Cookie stories.  (My favorite is how I fixed our new Audi's alternator with a motel coat hanger in Wallace, Idaho, so we could make the Oregon Shakespeare Festival opening.)
Nieces "Izzy" and Peny
with one of the clan pups.
AFTER THE laughter subsided, Keller said he had a "surprise guest."  He introduced our niece's husband (our adopted nephew).  "Father Steve, from Scotland is here to perform a special ceremony."  Then on bended knee, he asked, "Cookie, will you marry me?"
Girl time, the night before the official party.
Poems, songs, tall and short tales prevailed.
Oh, my, that was a shock.  We'd talked about formalizing our long relationship.     So here we were now, in my native state, surrounded by family. ''I'd be delighted," was my reply.  
OUR ROMANCE began two years after the death of my second husband, William Jones, and happily  continued many of the themes of my two earlier long-term relationships, first with Bruce Kemp Meyers, then Billy, now my adored "Keller."

Brother Rick delivers
an ode at the party.
With all three of these talented, energetic guys, I traveled, painted, wrote, played music, danced, hiked and cavorted.
With Billy, a well known national film critic, I covered many movie premieres. With Bruce, a gifted writing teacher and actor, I performed in dozens of plays and musicals. With Keller, I continued my passion for the arts.  Thankfully, he loves theater, too.
I've been lucky to have these fun, fulfilling chapters in my life, filled with plenty of good times and some deep, dark sadness.
I'm crossing my fingers that this latest chapter is a long one filled with continuing adventure, joy and enough pluck to survive inevitable sorrow.   
I'm one lucky girl who's had the world's three most happy fellas.

An Alexander Calder sculpture, "Two Discs," created in 1965,
resides at Tippet Rise to welcome visitors and set the tone. 

UP NEXT: Tippet Rise is an extraordinary arts and music show case in Montana.  Its founders aim to integrate music, art and nature and to make this unique merging available for all.  A lottery determines the lucky few who may attend concerts in the small, acoustically perfect Olivia "Barn."  The season is brief and runs from the end of August for only a few weeks with world class performers, including soloists and string quartets. If you didn't win tickets, you can plan a visit to this extraordinary place next season. We'll take you on a couple tours: one to the sculptures and one that studies the geology of this place, where dinosaurs once roamed. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, nature, family and more:

Thursday, August 10, 2023

"Little Big Man' symposium: groundbreaking film celebrates 53 years

 More than a half century after its release, the Montana-made movie, "Little Big Man,"is still entertaining, stimulating conversation and encouraging consideration of the plight of indigenous people and the white man's role in that.
 There is an endless supply of white men.  There has always been a limited number of human beings.” -- Old Lodge Skins


MOVIE AND HISTORY BUFFS TO PONDER CLASSIC FILM                                                                    

Chief Dan George portrayed Old Lodge Skins,
receiving second billing to Dustin Hoffman,
garnering an Academy Award nomination
and other awards for his performance.


Editor's note: Christene Meyers covered the making of 
"Little Big Man" as a young reporter and was among 
panel participants discussing the Montana made movie. 

and courtesy Cinema Center Films
Actor Dustin Hoffman on location during the
1969 filming of "Little Big Man," here on the
Earl and Toni Rosell Ranch near Billings.

HOLLYWOOD came to Montana in 1969 to film a movie that would change the way the world views indigenous people.
When it debuted during the holidays of 1970, "Little Big Man" generated a then impressive box office of $31 million. It premiered just in time to qualify for Oscar consideration the next spring.
A recent seminar in Hardin, Montana, celebrated the movie's contribution to the humanities and the ways in which it portrayed native Americans as "human beings."
DUSTIN HOFFMAN was a young looking 33 -- just three years after he rose to fame as Benjamin in "The Graduate," seduced by an older Mrs. Robinson, his parents' friend.
Genius makeup artist Dick
Smith created a 121-year
old character in Dustin
Hoffman's Jack Crabb.

Through the make-up wizardry of Hollywood artist Dick Smith, Hoffman's character Jack Crabb appears first as a 121-year old man, relating the story of his remarkable life to a reporter. The character undergoes many transformations in both the white and native worlds, leading many lives, including as a scout for General George Armstrong Custer during the infamous Indian Wars. Crabb's life is as complex as any portrayed in the movies.
Panelists discussed the impact of the film, and acting as extras.

CROW AND Cheyenne men and women – elderly now -- were 53 years younger when they acted along side Hoffman. They portrayed members of Little Big Man's adopted Indian family and for the real-life families, the picture gave their lives an economic boost. Panelists at a three-day "Little Big Man" symposium in Hardin recalled that dozens of native people earned from $10 or $25 a day -- more if they had their own horse -- during the filming.
The gathering, sponsored by Little 
Symposium organizer Tim Bernardis spent
years studying "Little Big Man" and planning
for the festival marking its 53rd anniversary.

Big Horn College, celebrated Montana’s connection to the film. It was the brainchild of author and veteran Crow Cultural Center library director Tim Bernardis, lifelong film aficionado. He spent years studying the movie, based on a 1964 novel by Thomas Berger and directed by Oscar winner Arthur Penn. Bernardis dreamed of a symposium to spotlight its impact and secured a grant to make it happen. Planned for 2020, 50 years after the film’s 1970 debut, the seminar was derailed by COVID. Bernardis wasn’t about to let the project be lost. “It is too important; we kept the dream alive,” he said.
THE GROUNDBREAKING film begins with Crabb recalling the killing of his parents on their way west, and his rescue by Indians. Crabb describes multiple incarnations in diverse worlds, including earning the name "Little Big Man" from his adopted grandfather, Old Lodge Skins. His 
A scene from the film, "Little Big Man," now 53 years old,
with this battle scene shot on location at Crow Agency, near
the actual battle site. Some of the actors spoke at the seminar.

unique perspective and visits with his wise elder teach him the ways of the “human beings,” as Old Lodge Skins describes his people. Hoffman’s convincing acting continues to fascinate, 53 years after the film’s debut to critical acclaim.
During three lively and varied days, three years after the COVID postponement, presenters considered a wide range of topics, from academic insights to emotional musings and humorous, touching impressions.   Some gave 
Sidney "Chip" Fitzpatrick Jr
acted as emcee at the fete.
vivid back stories, examples of present-day racism, feeling that the culture is back-sliding in a sea of increasing bigotry. Symposium emcee Sidney Chip Fitzpatrick Jr., related a vivid example of recent racism experienced when an elderly white woman accosted his daughter with  
verbal slurs in a Billings store. “We still have a lot of work to do,” Fitzpatrick said, "to make certain that native Americans are regarded as human beings, not caricature  
drunks and other stereotypes.”
Young beautifully dressed Indian girls delighted with their
performances during the "LBM" symposium.

AMONG THE TOPICS was an examination of Richard Mulligan's portrayal of George Armstrong Custer, the man whose “Last Stand” came on a grassy knoll near Hardin. The Little Bighorn battle scenes were filmed on location at Crow Agency, near the actual battle site, lending authenticity to the movie.  Between presentations, seminar guests recalled the changing of the name Custer Battlefield to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in 1991. “It is important to recognize the indigenous perspective,” said one woman. “A very good thing.”

Artists, historians, townsfolk and friends mingled
to discuss the movie and its impact

DANCERS AND drummers entertained at lunch time in the school cafeteria, while guests and participants reminisced about the movie's beginnings.  Director Penn read the book in 1966 and loved it. Billings mayor Willard Fraser got wind of the project and heard Arizona and Mexico were being considered as locations. He recruited arts advocate and rancher Earl Rosell to help sell Montana to Hollywood.  Fraser called upon his Indian friends—Johnny Wooden Legs, Edison Real Bird, Henry Old Coyote, Susie Yellowtail and others -- and with Rosell, they "sold" the Montana location, making lobbying trips to Hollywood and Cinema Center Films on their own dime.  Fraser biographer Lou Mandler 

Rene Rosell Yarborough and Christene "Cookie"
 Meyers" were panelists. Rosell is holding the
sword her father used in a cameo scene.

described Fraser’s courting of “Little Big Man” producer Stuart Millar. The persistent, Montana boosting mayor toured Millar and movie scouts around Montana, enumerating the advantages of shooting a motion picture about Indians in authentic Indian country. 
“The realism of the film would boost box office sales,” Fraser wrote. His lobbying proved effective and filming began on the Rosell ranch in summer of 1969. Rosell even scored a cameo as a soldier who spares Little Big Man when he realizes the Dustin Hoffman character is white, not Indian. 

Here are links to some of the most watched clips from the movie, featuring Dustin Hoffman as Jack Crabb and Richard Mulligan as a deranged, egocentric General Custer.

The wedding/birthday party at High Chaparral on
the West Fork of the Stillwater River, Montana. 
UP NEXT:  Gentle readers: few things escape the eye of the writer of this column. But Bruce William Keller's surprise proposal took my breath away and left me in a rare stunned silence.  It happened during a clan reunion celebrating my birthday -- and will never be forgotten.  I said "Yes," of course, actually, "I'd be delighted!" We've been together more than 16 years and are legal domestic partners in the state of California. But we'd not discussed tying the proverbial knot. So when he asked -- on bended knee -- I thought "why not?" His co-conspirators were our niece and nephew, Amarylla and Steve.  He officiated at the ceremony, during the birthday tribute. Coming next. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, nature, family and more:

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Montana's dedicated Shakespeare in the Parks entertains for a half century

Lights, action, enjoyment. Montana Shakespeare in the Parks brings a pair of works to enthusiastic
audiences from Bozeman to Cody, Wyo., Helena to Superior, and parts of Idaho with a stop in
Washington state. The award-winning endeavor is presented free and sustained by grants and donations.


"Love's Labors Lost" was on tour in an earlier production.
Notice the elaborate costumes, and a stage that is collapsed,
packed up and transported via truck dozens of times per season. 



ONE OF Big Sky Country's treasured institutions is Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
The ambitious touring theater is beloved by thousands, and with good reason.
Joel Jahnke ran Shakespeare in the Parks
for decades. His vision of bringing the
Bard's work to the people continues with
Kevin Asselin, current artistic director.
A troupe of seasoned actors  doubles as costumers, technicians, designers and fund-raisers for one of the state's most enterprising organizations. The troupe tours the Rockies each year to the delight of playgoers from eastern Washington to northern Wyoming and the prairies of Montana.
With a schedule that would challenge most actors, the young, limber company presents two plays in repertory fashion. While theirs is a mostly Shakespeare repertoire, this year's docket features "The Three Musketeers," adapted from the Alexandre  Dumas work, along with "Measure for Measure," which many consider among Shakespeare's finest.

Executive-artistic director
Kevin Asselin sustains
the original vision.
 Joel Jahnke, the energetic impresario of Montana's Shakespeare in the Parks, many years ago. Through the years I've keep track of the company headed for decades by this visionary man. He believes the touring troupe's mission has always been "to serve rural areas and people who might not normally be able to afford or have access to quality theater."
My first of many interviews with Jahnke was in 1976, three years after the company was founded. He spent 35 years at the helm as director and is crucial to its success and longevity.
Kevin Asselin has been the company's executive director since 2014 and is continuing Jahnke's crowd-pleasing tradition.
THE CROWD at a recent production of "The Three Musketeers" in Fishtail Family Park was an eclectic blend of locals -- Republicans and Democrats, students, families -- a mix of tourists new to Shakespeare in the Parks, and devotees who haven't missed a year for decades.
A tender moment in "The Three Musketeers" recently in Fishtail, Montana. 
 "We' re about finding ways to come together regardless of political or socioeconomic differences.
That belief forms the backbone of the company's success," Asselin says.
What makes the endeavor noteworthy is that in a single day, the company transforms an empty space into a believable theatrical stage -- complete with balcony, set and costumes. The feat is remarkable when one considers it is done day after day with little time off and in unpredictable weather.
DONATIONS are welcome and the website shows you where to catch the next show. The company's outreach extends beyond Shakespeare in the Parks to a school program and other fund-raisers and presentations.
The season began in "hometown" Bozeman for a rare week. Usually stops are a single night, or sometimes two. The troupe returns to  Bozeman for Sweet Pea Festival, visits Butte and Big Sky, then heads west into Driggs, Pocatello and Salmon, Idaho. 

A young girl is head
over heels for her
night at the theater.

OTHER STOPS included Silvergate, Big Timber, Powell, Cody and Worland Wyoming, Roundup and Townsend Gardiner, Boulder, Forsyth, and a swing into Beach, North Dakota, in July. The August run includes western Montana and a stop in Liberty Lake, Wash., northern Montana towns and Missoula in western Montana, then two weeks in September in Philipsburg, St. Ignatius, Superior, Anaconda, Deer Lodge, Whitehall, Livingston, Three Forks, White Sulphur and a finale in Bozeman with "The Three Musketeers" at Grand Chamberlain Park.
The road home, outside of Fishtail, at sunset, which is when
the plays end this time of year. Check the schedule for a
play near you by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
"We love it when we get to stay two nights," the company members say. "It's a real treat not to have to move everything every day." 

For tickets or more information:

Chief Dan George played the character of Old Lodge Skins,
in "Little Big Man," starring Dustin Hoffman.  Despite his
second billing, the actor won awards for his convincing portrayal
of the wise chief who names Hoffman's Jack Crabb character.

UP NEXT: We consider a Montana-made movie that changed the world's thinking about indigenous people and native Americans.  "Little Big Man"  was filmed mostly in Montana in 1969 and 1970, the first film about the Indians and Old West to portray native people as  complex human beings, not the stereotypes of many earlier films. A three-day seminar in Hardin, Montana, celebrated the film's anniversary during the week of the infamous Battle of the Little Big Horn, in which Gen. George Armstrong Custer was defeated by thousands of Indian braves. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, nature, family, travel and more.