The Playmill Theatre in West Yellowstone has reopened for the season with three shows.
Roger Merrill, an owner and director at the Playmill, and a theatre professor at BYU-Idaho, runs the show. He and BYU-Idaho theatre performance student Logan Lindholm said part of what draws multi-generational patrons to the 57-year-old Playmill is the actor-to-audience interaction.
Lindholm said guests return with their children and their children’s children because of the traditions and memories they have at the Playmill. He cited a quote by original Playmill owner, Lynn Benson who said, “The way to have a happy life is by making beautiful memories.”
“Our focus, our emphasis is entirely, 100% on the audience,” Merrill said.
“The Playmill is really special. We have special opportunity to have multiple moments to connect with our audience. We interact with the audience in such a way to make sure they have a good experience,” Lindholm said.
Lindholm started acting at the Playmill in 2015. This is his fourth season in West Yellowstone. He attributes part of his success as an actor in an interactive space, like the Playmill, to his time spent as an employee in BYU-Idaho’s Student Support Department, planning events like the Broadway Revue.
“I was able to develop more social skills and more ways to connect with people. And I’ve been able to bring that back with me to the Playmill,” he said.
The Playmill has been in the same building for decades. The building was originally an abandoned drug store before Benson purchased the building in 1964 and turned it into the theater it is today. Merrill and his family bought the Playmill in 2005. Merrill is planning on expanding by building a new facility in Island Park.
“We’ve had a plan to build a new theater for several years. Our goal is to start building this summer and we may have to continue building next summer depending on what they can accomplish before the snow flies,” Merrill said.
The 2021 season will feature past Playmill favorites “Newsies” and “Peter and the Star-Catcher” along with a musical that has taken the Playmill by storm in its opening weekend, Roger and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.”
The Playmill 2021 season is currently running and will have closing night on September 4. Tickets for this season are available for purchase at Playmill.com. For questions about this season call the box office at (406) 646-7757. You can find the Playmill on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.