April 29, 2024

ATP Kids production of “Mean Girls The Musical School Edition”

Alpine Theatre Project's 2024 season kicked off with their ATP Kids production of Mean Girls the Musical, School Edition featuring a ton of super-talented kids from grades seven through twelve. Arguably not as heavy as last year's teen production of "Les Misérables," still an absolute stupendous production.

December 22, 2023

Alpine Theatre Project’s “Yuletide Affair 20” at Whitefish Performing Arts Center

Each season one of Alpine Theatre Project's mainstay productions is that of "Yuletide Affair." A production I describe as a Christmas/Holiday-themed variety show. Though I suppose it doesn't have a lot of 'skits' and is mainly music performances by insanely talented musicians and Broadway actors. There's lots of humor and pointed references to our local zeitgeist, and it's just a great time I look forward to each holiday season. 2023 marked the 20th such year ATP has put this on, and I hope it continues for another 20 years.

August 16, 2023

Alpine Theatre Project’s production of “Million Dollar Quartet”

A part of how Alpine Theatre Project made its name was bringing Broadway talent to the Flathead Valley to perform Broadway and off-broadway productions. As they've evolved over the years to focus more on youth education opportunities—and the start of the COVID pandemic—that aspect of their mission took a bit of a backseat.

Needless to say, it was such a pleasure to finally get to photograph one of those productions. This summer ATP staged Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux's musical "Million Dollar Quartet" which dramatizes the Million Dollar Quartet recording session of December 4, 1956, at Sun Records which featured Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

August 9, 2023

Alpine Theatre Project’s ATP Kids! Broadway Camp, “Larger than Life”

Once again I had the opportunity to photograph Alpine Theatre Project's summer Broadway camp. Each year ATP brings in more than ten current and former Broadway performers to work with dozens of middle and high school-aged children from around the Flathead Valley. They work together during an intensive two-plus weeks crafting a show featuring Broadway hits from past and present.

May 8, 2023

Alpine Theatre Project’s ATP Kids! production of “Les Misérables”

Over the span of a couple of months, 50 plus middle and high school students throughout the Flathead Valley rehearsed and performed "Les Misérables," one of—if not the most—famous theatre shows in the world. It's a difficult show about love and loss set amidst the backdrop of the French Revolution.

If you've followed my work for any amount of time, you're likely already aware of how impressive Alpine Theatre Project's productions are. Their student productions in particular never fail to just blow me away. The amount of care and commitment ATP puts into each production, and the dedication the kids display is so evident when seen on stage, it is nothing short of inspiring.

February 24, 2023

Alpine Theatre Project’s “In the Mood”

This Valentine's week Alpine Theatre Project produced another two-night run of big band music featuring some of the most beloved songs from the American songbook, and some Bjork and a big band arrangement of Brittney Spears. Because why not?

The evening starred ATP's own Luke Walrath along with Tracy McDowell, Eric Krop, N'Kenge, and Dewitt Fleming Jr. along with an all-star backing band.

May 4, 2022

Alpine Theatre Project Kid’s “RENT: School Edition”

In preparation for photographing Alpine Theatre Project's production of "RENT: School Edition," I did a lot of listening to the music from the original production and the feature film adaptation that included most of the original Broadway cast. I had already seen a number of ATP's middle and secondary kid productions, so expectations start sky-high for these performances, but "RENT" is sort of a different beast. It's got difficult subject matter and the songs do an awful lot of heavy lifting—largely because basically all dialogue is performed via song. But once again everyone absolutely knocked it out of the park, and it was such an honor to document it.

August 5, 2021

ATP Kids “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical”

I consider myself very fortunate to have crossed paths with Betsi and Luke at Alpine Theatre Project thanks to our kids sharing a first-grade classroom. Though I suppose we live in a small town, we most likely would've crossed paths one way or another. Twice a year they do kids productions that are open to children from all over the Flathead Valley, no kid is turned away, and everyone gets a part. This results in two casts rehearsing intensely for four to six weeks culminating in multiple performances of a 60 to 90-minute show. As you can imagine it can be a bit like herding cats, and honestly, I don't know how they all do it, but the final performances never fail to blow me away. Even when I've been present at a high percentage of the rehearsals. "Descendants: The Musical" was no exception, despite an extremely physical show with lots of complex choreography. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, if you ever have an opportunity to attend an ATP Kids performance you should absolutely take advantage of it.

September 30, 2020

Alpine Theatre Project’s Operalesque 3

This month I was blessed to have the opportunity to document Alpine Theatre Project's "Operalesque 3"—a sexy combination of opera and burlesque—in the truly unique settings of the Viking Creek Wetland Preserve. As you might imagine with restrictions on indoor performances, the performing arts community here, and everywhere, has been hit particularly hard with no opportunity to perform in the concert halls, performing arts centers, and theaters they're used to.

The Operalesque performances at ATP's Garage were already something unique and special, and beyond anything, I ever expected to be able to experience, particularly in Northwest Montana. The creativity ATP has exhibited with this production bringing it out into nature was an experience I don't think anyone who attended is likely to forget any time soon.

Shoutout to the amazing cast consisting of Glen Seven Allen, Jessica Fishenfeld, Marcy Richardson, Melanie Long, Darren Stokes, and Billy Thompson.

This isn't the first time they've found to make sure that "the show must go on." This past spring the high school production of Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein" was converted to the individual performers recording their parts on a green screen in isolation, which was then edited into a digital production.

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Matt Wetzler is an editorial, motorsport, portrait, and destination wedding photographer based in Whitefish, Montana.

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