It definitely isn’t your father’s Muny anymore.
Out in the audience, on stage, back stage and in the Executive Offices many things are happening to freshen the franchise without forgetting The Muny’s primary mission of enriching lives by producing exceptional musical theater accessible to all.
The show selection for the upcoming 96th season is but one example. It contains four shows that have never played The Muny before and three of the shows do not open on Monday nights, which is traditionally the first night of any production. Although three of the productions are what could be called traditional Muny fare, the others are of a much newer vintage and show a heavy emphasis toward all-ages family interest. Casting of shows has also taken a slightly more aggressive tone, with larger casts and more thoughtful casting choices that include prominent Broadway performers as well as Muny favorites. There is emphasis on the “Wow” factor in much of the staging of the shows, as those who saw Mary Poppins fly out over the audience last season can attest. And, of course, sitting in the vast Muny audience has become a “cool” choice with the installation of new circulations fans covering most of the audience.
The Muny’s production department has been enlarged and expanded, with an emphasis on greater synergies among the designers as well as a more visionary and contemporary concepts. With the installation of the LED scenery wall and the upcoming new cyclorama lighting design for 2014, lighting on The Muny stage and the visual impact it will have on the audience will be better than ever before. When it comes to all facets of putting together a Muny show, lead and planning times have been greatly expanded.
Efforts has been taken to make attending a Muny show a more all-encompasing experience. Picnic areas have been enlarged and landscaped to make coming out early with a picnic basket and your favorite beverages an attractive option. Box lunches can also be purchased before a show at The Muny’s Café One near the May Plaza picnic area. The Muny’s Culver Pavilion is open for sit down buffet dining starting at 6:30 pm the evening of every show. (Reservations are required.) The Muny has invested in a new on -site kitchen with a dedicated Chef and his staff that prepare excellent dinner menus at reasonable prices.
Looking into the future as The Muny comes ever closer to its 100th Anniversary, The Muny has formed a Second Century Committee and engaged the consulting services of The President of the renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.to help The Muny step wisely into the future.
The vast experience of Muny President & CEO Denny Reagan combined with the track record and background of The Muny’s Executive Producer Mike Isaacson, a respected producer and Tony winner on Broadway, seems to maximize the potential for the future of The Muny. The challenge is to grow subscribers and ticket sales in general in the face of challenging economic times and heightened competitive factors. That’s said, Mike Isaacson thinks he knows the key.
“We put together each show as if it were the most important production The Muny will ever do,” said Isaacson. “We build every show around its own world on stage. We want the audience to look at every show and feel that what they are experiencing can only happen at The Muny. Theater is at its greatest when everything comes together and makes an audience member feel completely alive. That’s is our goal every single performance of every single show we do.”