Letters Aloud acts out words of famous people

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Letters Aloud, a Seattle-based theatre troupe, bringing their show FAME (they’re not going to live forever!) to the O’Shaughnessy Center on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The Whitefish Theatre Company is thrilled to present Letters Aloud, a Seattle-based theatre troupe who is bringing their show FAME (they’re not going to live forever!) to the Flathead Valley. Letters Aloud will perform one night only on Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish.

Andy Warhol’s quote, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” could not be more true of fame’s fleeting nature in our celebrity-saturated culture. However, fame can teach you things — about yourself, about hard work, about enjoyment, about pride, and about your impact on the world and others. Letters Aloud has created a truly innovative show titled FAME that brings to life personal letters of the famous and infamous, complete with live music and photos, for a joyful and often hilarious look at the very human condition of celebrity and the lessons it teaches. From humble beginnings to adoring fans to looking back on achievements, Letters Aloud explores the humanity of fame through letters to and from luminaries like Emily Dickinson, David Bowie, Tom Hanks, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Amelia Earhart, and Andy Warhol himself. These real letters read aloud will make history come to life in the most surprising, inspiring, and uproarious ways.

Letters Aloud was founded in 2013 by Paul Morgan Stetler as a way to connect a live audience to historical figures through their personal correspondence. A longtime literature buff with a degree in English literature, as well as a veteran of Seattle’s theater scene, Stetler decided to combine his two passions by bringing the letters of some of his cultural heroes alive on stage.

“I’m a big fan of telling stories live on stage,” says Stetler. “I don’t know anyone with an interest in history or pop culture or even reality TV, to a degree, who wouldn’t enjoy this. It’s literate, it’s very intimate — you shouldn’t be reading these letters; they’re not meant for you, so that makes it very fun.”

Stetler is joined on stage by fellow readers Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako and Basil Harris, as well as musician Jamie Maschler. A dynamic slide show and musical accompaniment highlights each letter, some of which are at the beginning of people’s careers as they are becoming famous or suffering rejection, while other letters are from people at the height of their careers or looking back on their lives.

“I have a letter from David Bowie responding to his first ever American fan letter, and how excited he was to have a fan in America,” says Stetler. “There’s also a letter from Alec Guinness talking about how much he’s hating being in Star Wars because he doesn’t understand it. The show takes these people who we put on pedestals and makes them human beings.”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students with reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office, 1 Central Ave., Whitefish, or by calling 862-5371.

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