Playwright and actor Barret O'Brien made a strong impression on Missoula's theater scene between 2004 and 2006. His original plays, Eating Round the Bruise and Breach, garnered tons of attention and enormous audience support when Montana Rep Missoula produced them. Now, after spending three years at Yale Drama School, he's back to play the lead role in Montana Rep's newest international tour production, Leading Ladies—a farce hinging on mistaken identity.
Though O'Brien's had a few acting stints in the movie and TV business (Runaway Jury and "Dawson's Creek") he's made his biggest marks on stage—and that's been a coup for Missoula. Back in 2005, Greg Johnson, Montana Rep's Artistic Director told the Indy what an impact O'Brien made on the company:
"When Barret moved to town, it allowed me to take [MRM] to another level," said Johnson, describing his working relationship with O'Brien almost like a partnership. "I'd say there's a new energy with Montana Rep Missoula, and it certainly has to do with his involvement. He brings more to the table than just good writing."
Though O'Brien has been away for awhile, he's continued to keep his ties to Montana through The Missoula Colony, the Rep's highly regarded annual summer gathering of writers. After Leading Ladies, he'll head to upstate New York to finish working on a novel.
Leading Ladies opens on Sat., Jan. 23, with a "Fab Fifties Party" for the Montana Rep, which includes pre-show cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 PM and dessert and dancing after the 7:30 performance. $25. Call 406-243-6809. Performances continue Tue., Jan 26—Sun., Jan. 30 and Tue. Feb. 2—Thu. Feb. 4 with a final performance on Sat., Feb. 6 all at 7:30 PM nightly. $18.