The Muny Returns, Better Than Ever
This season at The Muny will be unlike any other. Besides a spectacular program, the St. Louis institution presents its newly refurbished stage. “Guys and Dolls”—which kicked off the season on June 10—and the other six musicals this summer will be enhanced by state-of-the-art technology, creating an even more stellar experience for audience members young and old.
In the 1930s, The Muny was one of the country’s premier stages. However, since it opened on June 16, 1919, the theater’s infrastructure hasn’t received a thorough makeover nor undergone modernization. “Basically, we’ve been putting on shows of today in a space that was designed for a bygone era and has been patched together for the last century,” explains Sean Smith, director of operations. “Our production team has consistently pushed the envelope of what we can do on a 100-year-old stage, but we want to give our audiences more.”
Image courtesy of The Muny.
After years of ongoing annual maintenance (or as Smith jokes, “a little duct tape here, some shoestring there”), The Muny has finally gotten its much-needed face-lift. The area that the audience sees during a performance—the stage, the stage towers that flank the stage, the light bridge and the orchestra pit—was torn down and rebuilt in the last 10 months. “We addressed a lot of the infrastructure issues but also added the latest technologies so that we can move forward with productions for the next 100 years,” says Smith.
The Muny’s directors are also happy about their expanded tool kit. “In addition to the stage renovation, all of our lighting equipment is new,” says Smith. “We have new LED light fixtures and new video wall components, plus new automation systems, turntables and tracks to move sets and actors competently; all the tools are in place so that we can introduce more stage effects and bring more advanced productions to St. Louis.”
“We’re going to start slow, with things the community is used to seeing at The Muny, but by the end of the summer, everyone will understand what we’re now capable of.”
Image courtesy of The Muny.
These updates are just one part of The Muny’s intended growth and development. It started a $100 million capital campaign a year ago to coincide with its 100th season: $50 million of that is dedicated to capital improvement projects, such as the stage and how to be more efficient backstage. The fundraiser will also help maintain The Muny’s 11.5-acre campus and bolster its endowment, which supports education and outreach programs.
The renovation schedule was aggressive—Smith reveals that right off the bat they were doing double shifts—and the contractors had to work through a brutal winter, but it was worth it. “We’ve done all of this in an effort to give audiences that wow factor.”
The renovations to The Muny will only make its musical theater offerings better, brighter and more dynamic—something the entire company agrees our community deserves. But don’t take our word for it; get tickets to a show and see for yourself!
The 2019 season schedule is: “Guys and Dolls” (June 10-16), “Kinky Boots” (June 19-25), “1776” (June 27-July 3), “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (July 8-16), “Footloose” (July 18-24), “Paint Your Wagon” (July 27-Aug. 2) and “Matilda” (Aug. 5–11). For more information, visit The Muny’s website.
Featured image courtesy of Phillip Hamer.
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