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Mayor welcomes newest performing arts venue to Missoula

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Thursday night marked the grand opening of Missoula's newest performing arts venue, the Stensrud Playhouse. Located across the street from the Zootown Arts Community Center and Kettlehouse Brewing Company, the Playhouse will feature Improv classes and performances, as well as Missoula's only dinner theatre.

Zootown Fringe Festival Creative Director Michelle Risho introduced Missoula Mayor John Engen, who delivered remarks about the historic building. The building that now houses the Playhouse was built in 1890 and has experienced numerous uses, from a Chinese laundry to a paint shop. The building was bought in 2000 by Mark Kersting, who restored the building before selling it to Jackie and Mark Stermitz, the current owners. Jackie and her daughter, Michelle, will be running the Playhouse. Kersting was honored for his role in restoring a piece of Missoula history.

Stermitz introduced the entertainment for the night, which included a pair of improv groups, as well as the cast of the current dinner theatre production of Bullets for Broadway. The cast presented a short teaser scene from their show and invited the audience to return and buy a ticket to see the rest of the show.

The Silk Road will be providing the catering for the dinner theatre, and also provided the appetizers, beer and wine for the grand opening.

Improv classes begin April 14. The diner theatre production of Bullets for Broadway will run from April 26 through June 15 on Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available on the Playhouse's website at www.stensrudplayhouse.com.

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