Culture

 

In 1996, a rock musical changed Broadway. Rent features original music from what was once an unknown composer, Jonathan Larson. It became a Broadway staple and connects with audiences of all ages around the world. Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award and now in its 22nd year, Rent comes to Billings for just one night. Instilled with a message of hope and joy, it’s a story of friendship and love.

Get your tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show at the Alberta Bair Theater. Located in downtown Billings at 2801 3rd Avenue N, it’s a chance to experience the beauty of this historical theater. It’s been part of the thriving Billings cultural scene for over 80 years. Originally The Fox Theater in 1931, it opened to a short parade and live dance complementing a motion picture. However, the theater has evolved over the decades.

A Night at the Theater

The theater is decked out in art deco styling with golden chandeliers. Originally financed by 20th Century Fox Corporation, it holds the title of the last art deco theater in the country. Designed by Robert C. Reamer, it’s hosted the Billings Symphony and Chorale. Performers including Dizzy Gillespie, George Winston and Ray Charles have graced the stage.

The theater is available to rent for special occasions, and you can always keep an eye on the calendar for upcoming events. Also in January is Bela Fleck and Brooklyn Rider on January 21st at 7 p.m. Get a taste of history and enjoy one of the biggest, most renowned Broadway plays in history during your Billings stay.

 

 

Visit one of the most popular venues for live events in downtown Billings, the beautiful Alberta Bair Theater. Located in the heart of the city for over 80 years, it was originally dubbed The Fox Theater in 1931, complete with a parade for the opening and the debut of “Merely Mary Ann” featuring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Now, named after Alberta M. Bair, the historic theater still boasts art deco designs, graceful chandeliers and luxe dressing rooms behind the grand stage.

20th Century Fox bought the property from Charles Bair, and happily showcased the traditional art deco style designed by Robert C. Reamer. For more than 50 years, the theater has been home to the Billings Community Concerts Organization, and also hosts the Billings Symphony and Chorale.

A Family Affair

The Bair family home was located adjacent to the theater, on what’s now Broadway and Third Avenue North. Charles and his daughter, Alberta, were community leaders and theater lovers. Today, the theater remains a premium performing arts center for everyone in the Northern Rockies.

Check the calendar to see what’s on the agenda for your trip to Billings. From Beatlemania to the Michael Jackson HIStory show and symphony performances, there’s something for everyone at this family-friendly venue.

 

A vacation in Billings is music to many tourist’s ears, and with the help of the Billings Symphony, Orchestra & Chorale that’s a literal definition! Created in 1951 with a mission to enrich lives via music, the BSO&C is currently directed by Anne Harrigan and features over 135 members. Ranging from the classic Nutcracker during the holidays to free Symphony in the Park series each summer, the troupe performs for thousands of fans throughout the state.

A music education and community engagement program helps everyone get in touch with their musical leanings. Currently, BSO&C is undertaking a four-year plan, re-committing to performing only the best music in the region while tapping broader audiences via the Explore Music outreach program. As a community resource, a commitment to engage and maintain supporters while increasing visibility is a top priority.

Music Magic

You can Explore Music at the annual family concerts, featuring a guest artist at every event. Free at the Alberta Bair Theater, family-friendly ticket prices make this series a smash hit. Pioneer Park is where the free outdoor summer concerts are held with pop-style music blended with classical. An “instrument petting zoo” makes this a favorite for little ones.

Working with local schools, the BSO&C offers Conductor in Schools programs and internships for area bands. The Conductor in the Community program is for local bands, and Master Classes along with the Musicians in the Schools program ensure children have all they need to follow their musical dreams.