The Muny

Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company

PNC Bank will distribute $1 million over the next four years to help fund arts groups in the St. Louis region.

The grants, part of PNC's Arts Alive funding initiative, have a larger focus than just keeping organizations afloat in the short term.  They aim to inspire lasting programs that reinvigorate arts organizations.

Since 2011, the Arts Alive program has distributed $2 million to established theater companies, museums and dance companies. Recipients include Dance St. Louis, Opera Theater of St. Louis and The Muny. 

The Rep, The Muny, Stages St. Louis

Stages St. Louis hopes its current production of “Sister Act” will do what the Whoopi Goldberg character in the movie did for her Catholic convent choir: Shake it up — at least where its audiences are concerned.

The theater company’s patrons are not very diverse. Executive Producer Jack Lane, describes the Stages St. Louis audience this way: “suburban, white.”

Attracting more theater-goers of color, while addressing important social-justice concerns on the front burner in St. Louis right now, is important to St. Louis’ larger theater companies, which include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny and Stages. Adding more minority patrons could help with the perennial issue of aging subscribers and donors. But it’s also a way to stay relevant at a time when St. Louis is more riveted than ever on race.

One of the world's foremost Wizard of Oz historians, John Fricke, will join St. Louis on the Air on Monday.
eyemage | Flickr | http://bit.ly/24GmVic

Ah, sweet summertime in St. Louis. The birds are chirping, our hair is frizzing out and another local tradition is about to begin its 98th season: The Muny. The first show in its lineup? “The Wizard of Oz.” But what’s the history of such a popular musical?

If Tony award-winning actress Beth Leavel says it, let it be so: She says that her role as Dolly in The Muny’s 2014 production of “Hello Dolly!” is one of her top roles of all time. Interestingly enough, it is also the first role she would like to slip back into, given the chance.

Actor Ben Nordstrom
Durrie Bouscaren

He’s a two-time Kevin Kline Award-winner, and a well-known star of the Muny’s “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" and numerous Stages St. Louis shows including “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.” Plus, he has years of New York and regional experience.

But actor Ben Nordstrom doesn’t hesitate to play second fiddle. Or third. Or a mere chorus guy named “Mike” in the The Muny’s current production of “Oklahoma,” which is also his home state.

Mike Isaacson
The MUNY

On June 15, The Muny kicked-off its 97th season with “My Fair Lady.” Scheduled this season are three premiere productions along with returning favorites such as “Hairspray.”

On Friday’s “Cityscape,” Mike Isaacson, artistic director and executive producer of The Muny, joined host Steve Potter to discuss this season’s productions. Isaacson also had a hand in producing the Broadway musical “Fun Home,” which received five Tony Awards.  

So, what goes into lining up The Muny’s season?

Lydia Berry, number 100, in orange leotard
The Muny

Ever thought about trying out for America's oldest, largest outdoor theater?

Each year, the 98-year-old St. Louis Muny holds open auditions; anyone can come. Singers and dancers try out on different weekends.

Provided by the Actors Studio

The St. Louis Theater Circle, a group of local theater critics, released its 2015 award nominees on Friday. 

“It was, I think, a terrific year,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch theater critic Judith Newmark told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It was a year in which we lost one theater — that’s always going to happen. There also are some new people on the horizon. And it was a year in which, I think Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which is a free event that draws huge crowds, really came into its own with a double production of ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Henry V.’”

The Muny

The St. Louis Muny has announced its 2015 season, which includes three shows that are new to its stage.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Coming away with a new favorite song is part of the Muny tradition for thousands of St. Louis families. But some families are taking home more than a catchy tune — they’re also leaving with paychecks.

Five members of the Heet family have worked at the Muny as ushers. Two are still on the job. Alex Heet, 21, is a college student in her fifth summer at the Muny. Her sister, Sarah, 18, is ushering for a third year.

Courtesy the MUNY

The MUNY opened its 2014 season on Monday, June 16 with the first of seven scheduled shows. The offerings this summer include four premieres and the usual mix of classics, family shows and new productions.

Michael Isaacson, the MUNY’s artistic director and executive producer, appeared on Cityscape this week to give an overview of the season and talk about how the organization is gearing up for its 100th anniversary.

The MUNY’s 2014 season

Billy Elliot the Musical June 16 – 22

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Two extraordinary singers worked theatrical magic last week, singing beautiful music simultaneously in shows whose intricate beauties sweep us away, no matter how often we see them. Coincidence and propinquity brought “South Pacific” and “Madama Butterfly” together in the city’s West End. I saw each on successive evenings and found it impossible not to connect the dots in an effort to understand better the importance of these shows and the lessons they teach, lessons begging still, after all these years, to be absorbed and put into quotidien practice.

Young stars shine at Les Miz

Jul 12, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Many children who grow up watching the story of Jean Valjean, sing and act along as he ducks and dives through French alleyways alluding capture from the relentless Inspector Javert.

Most can only dream of acting these out on stage. Most, not all.

Alex Prakken
Provided by the Muny

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When Alex Prakken was a youngster, his favorite Broadway tune was “Bigger Isn’t Better” from the musical “Barnum.” But now, bigger is awesome.

don't use bigger than 300 Mike Isaacson of the muny
Provided by the Muny | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: As the Muny turns 95, it’s never been cooler. Literally.

Monday’s "Spamalot" opening debuts a new fan system designed to provide a more comfortable experience with no accompanying noise. Efforts are also underway to make the overall St. Louis institution cooler, as in more hip. As part of that, this season offers three more Muny premieres in addition to "Spamalot."

Mike Isaacson
The MUNY

As The MUNY opens its 95th season of outdoor musical theatre in Forest Park, Executive Producer Mike Isaacson is excited about the number of “firsts.”  Four of the productions are MUNY premieres including Monty Python’s Spamalot which opens the season, Shrek The Musical, Nunsense Muny Style! and Mary Poppins.  In the production of Mary Poppins, for the first time in MUNY history, a character will fly over the audience.

(via Flickr/lissalou66)

Updated to correct spelling of Isaacson's name.

Four new shows will mark the Muny's first season under new executive director Mike Isaacson.

One of those shows has appeared on the Muny state before, says Kate Lane, Isaacson's assistant. But the Muny did not produce the version of "Chicago" that theatergoers saw in 1977. Instead, the Broadway cast left New York for a week of performances. This will be the first time the Muny itself produces the show.