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Big Muddy Dance Company explores haunted tale of Lemp mansion in new production

Erin Warner Prange, executive director of the Big Muddy Dance Company, detailed how the dance company explores the haunted tale of the Lemp family and their mansion.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A historic mansion in St. Louis’ Benton Park neighborhood carries a grim story. The Lemp Mansion belonged to a family of prominent brewers in the region – but it’s now said to be haunted by members of the Lemp family, making its haunted house tours a hit among St. Louisans.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about the family’s legacy and their mansion as portrayed in the Big Muddy Dance Company’s new production, "Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story." Joining the discussion was Erin Warner Prange, executive director of the Big Muddy Dance Company.

She explained how the dance company came to choreograph the Lemp family’s haunted tale.

“We were looking for a historical theme for this production, particularly centered around St. Louis because this season for us is called our ‘Gateway Season,’” Prange said. “We’ve been looking for a Halloween-type theme … we’ve gone through several different options but Lemp seemed to be such a great fit for both sides of that.”

She added that six choreographers, as opposed to one, collaborated to put together Big Muddy’s first full-length production.

“They’ve each chosen [a Lemp family member] to choreograph [in] a flashback vignette, and it enables us to sort of take a deeper look into who these people were and what they contributed to St. Louis,” Prange said.

To keep the audience on track with the timeline, the production will be set up like one of the Lemp Mansion tours, with the narrator portraying a tour guide.

“We’ll be taking the audience on a tour of the Lemp Mansion throughout the evening. And then within [the narrator’s] storytelling, we will be flashing back to the early 1900s to talk about each family member,” Prange explained.

Related Event
The Big Muddy Dance Company presents "Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story"
When: 8 p.m. November 16 and 17, 2018
Where: Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105)

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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