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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance at The Square!

At one time the words, "I remember when this was Hallie's Saloon," may be said, in the attic space at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art.

"No, really?"

In that area of the museum, the raw 1895 floor boards, rough cut stone and exposed timbers transpose you back in time. As far back as 1890, Hallie's saloon and the story of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The person who stands in that space wondering if Hallie's saloon ever operated there may be glad to know The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is about to bring Hallie's Saloon to life in that very spot.

The theatrical production of the Wild West tale is a taste of what's to come.

Top Floor renovations to the spacious area, with vaulted ceilings and bare timbers are expected to include a visible vault for the museum's permanent collection; combination screening area and rehearsal stage; performance stage (complete with grand curtain and movable backdrops) as well as a commercial kitchen. Even after installing those features there will be room for artist's studios and a lounge/gallery.

The centennial capital campaign of the 1990's made possible the elevator, lights, electricity and fire suppression system, in the Top Floor at The Square. Further developments must include a level floor throughout large areas, insulation, and construction. The proximity to the elevator and a set of stairs makes accessing the future location of the kitchen possible. The planned location of the commercial kitchen is a quaint corner of the Top Floor nestled neatly beside the elevator. That is where the performance is slated to unfold.

Props, set construction and rehearsals are underway. Costuming a western is one of the great challenges. Thirty two plush theater seats have been installed. Creature comforts, such as heat and overall cleanliness have also been addressed. The production will immerse the audience in its era. The story begins with the funeral of Bert Barricune (Greg Kinder), followed by the introduction of learned Mr. Ransome Foster (Allen Lanning) into the rough-and-tumble town of Twotrees, where he, much like Great Falls' founder Paris Gibson, saw fit to insert a school into this uncivilized land.

Paris Gibson Square began as Central High School in 1896. Although the clock tower no longer stands, (it was taken down in 1916, due to buckling caused by its massive weight) the expansive top floor provides ample space for development.

We then follow Ranse's exploits as his relationship with Ms. Hallie (Robyn Pepion) develops, the infectious Jim "Reverend" Mosten (D'Angelo Sterling-White) endears himself in Ranse's (and almost everybody else's heart) and his life becomes entangled with the life of the humble hero, burly Bert Barricune. All the while the despicable, yet inescapably charismatic ways of southern gentleman turned gunslinger Liberty Valance (Geoffrey Kinder) entomb them like spotted knapweed overrunning a prairie. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance also features Jake Sorich as the Marshall and Gabriel Botti Anderson as Dowitt. Produced and Directed by Keern Haslem with special guest direction by Amy Rapp, Executive Producer Tracy Houck.

The timeless tale brings modern issues such as racism, personal freedom, accountability and the pursuit of justice in the face of overwhelming odds to this idyllic setting.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance has scheduled a special extended Saturday matinee March 18th for Western Art Week attendees. Call 727-8255 for tickets and show times.

Saturday, March 18th, 2017 ~ 2:00pm
Saturday, March 25th, 2017 ~ 2:00pm

$20 Premier Seating
$15 General Admission