At the end of a Muny season, it takes about two weeks to button up the physical plant of the theater in preparation for winter. It may look quiet on the outside, but inside the general offices the work and planning it takes to put together a 7 show season is literally a year-long task.
Photo courtesy of The Muny
“We never stop working on it,” says Mike Isaacson, The Muny’s Executive Producer. “The day after a season ends I already have a pretty good idea of what are are going to present the next season, and we like to get it announced as soon as we can.”
This year, Isaacson has said the season for 2017 will be announced on November 16th and 17th at the Sheldon Concert Hall as part of “Muny Magic at the Sheldon” which was started as an off-season activity last year and purportedly will continue into the near future. This year’s show features four stars of recent Muny productions: Danielle Brown, Ali Ewoldt, Stephanie Gibson and Elena Shaddow. The program will consist of well-known hits from famous Broadway shows.
Photo courtesy of The Fox
Isaacson is a multiple Tony Award nominee and winner on Broadway, along with his colleague and Producing Partner Kristin Caskey, President of Fox Theatricals. His most recent major award was for the musical “Fun Home which won a Best Musical Tony in 2015. That show is coming to St. Louis at The Fox Theater November 15-27.
“I’ve done a lot of Producing on Broadway,” Isaacson says, “and it’s helpful at The Muny because Producing is a craft. I know many people at the highest level on Broadway and those kind of relationships benefit The Muny. We are never going to become Broadway. That would be a failure. The Muny creates work of the highest professional quality for presentation here. I would put our shows up against anything in New York or anywhere. We create shows just for The Muny.”
Isaacson feels The Muny has a long standing connection to the St. Louis region that is unique.
“The Muny is the most democratic theater in the United States,” Isaacson said, “and it’s in the middle of the Country. When you see the variety of people of various economic, social and ethnic backgrounds that attend The Muny at every performance, there is no other theater in the Country that does that. We have 1,500 free seats every night, plus a large selection of community relations tickets. The Muny is a space where everyone is welcome. It helps make us who we are.”
Photo Courtesy of The Muny
The President and CEO of The Muny, Denny Reagan, is optimistic about the upcoming season, primarily because of what he experienced last Summer.
Says Reagan “I stand at the front of the theater each and every night and I can’t help feeling the energy from the audiences. They had an expectation level this year that was higher than I ever felt before. And judging from their comments, their expectations were exceeded. It was a very good season.”
If recent seasons are a clue, 2017 will have some classics, some Muny premieres and perhaps even a title or two that most people aren’t expecting. Looking ahead to the 100th anniversary season, Isaacson said he believes he knows what the theme will be.
“Muny 100 seems apropos. It’s very important to us that the 100th anniversary season doesn’t feel academic. We want to celebrate The Muny and everything it stands for. That’s the kind of stuff we’re working on.”