Growing up in Bismarck, North Dakota with five siblings, Missy O’Malley spent much of her free time at the local YMCA. “Anybody and everybody was welcome,” she said. “You didn’t have to be the star Varsity basketball player in order to get to play on the court.”
But one day a year, O’Malley got to be the star — her birthday.
Now on the cusp of her milestone 30th birthday, she plans to continue the tradition by doing something big in the town she has called home for eight years.
“I really wanted to do something where I could have the community come together,” O’Malley said. From that seed, the Variety Show was born: A night where’s Bozeman’s most talented but unknown individuals can enjoy the spotlight and showcase their skills.
Attendees will get to see a 15-year-old breakdancer, 16-year-old American Idol contestant, trapeze artist and maybe even Ellen DeGeneres getting sawed in half by a magician. And that’s just a fraction of what will go down in the two-hour show at the Emerson on Tuesday, March 19.
O’Malley described the show as positive, inspirational and family-friendly. “But I am kind of seeing it like a Pixar movie,” she explained. “For mom and dad, it’s like ‘Yeah, we’ll go see that film,’ then mom and dad end up enjoying it more than the kids did.”
As a hyper-involved community member, O’Malley didn’t want to throw such a big event without helping a good cause. “I was like, ‘Who is going to benefit from this and why would we do it?’” she said. “With the Variety Show having such a varied amount of talents, it made sense to have it go to the organization that would do the most for the most people.”
That organization is the Gallatin Valley YMCA, which O’Malley explained is “the YMCA without walls” at the moment, “but they’re still serving like 4,000 kids” through events that promote healthy, active and social lifestyles.
With walls, O’Malley envisions the YMCA providing a community center that people of all ages and walks of life can use. “There isn’t one specific group in town that benefits everybody, and that’s what I think the YMCA would do,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re young or older or a troubled teen or an old lady that can hardly walk — anybody can go to the YMCA.”
The Variety Show promises to make strides toward realizing that vision, offering not only the show complete with an intermission and a carnival-like atmosphere in the Emerson’s lobby with face-painters, caricatures and costumed greeters, but also a “super classy” 21+ afterparty featuring live music by DJ Bones and the Fluorescent Brown All-Stars.
Tickets for the show are available at Cactus Records or online here.
O’Malley will host the Variety Show, which marks her first time completely organizing an event she is hosting.
“I was like ‘Let’s see if I have what it takes to really bring a community together and amp up a whole town for a good cause, and let’s just see how well this goes down,’” O’Malley said. “I don’t want to leave until I see a YMCA or a community center built here, that’s how I want to leave my mark.”