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By Suzanne Vanderhoef
Aside from the occasional scurrying of a squirrel scampering across the stage, things are usually pretty quiet during the fall at the Muny, but not this year.
This year, the air is filled with the sounds of hammers, saws and bulldozers. In fact, there currently isn’t much of a stage there at all – just a gigantic mound of dirt.
Following the conclusion of its 100th season, the Muny is in the midst of a major renovation project as part of its 2nd century initiative. The biggest change: demolishing the stage and building a brand new one.
“It’s two phases, in terms of the stage house,” explains Muny Artistic Director and Executive Director Mike Isaacson. “Within the stage house…you’re going to see the ability for scenery to move onstage without six stagehands moving it. You’re going to see a new turntable. You’re going to see two additional LED framing walls that will help us tell stories. You’ll see the ability for us to track onset pieces that then maybe go on the turntable.
“Ultimately, what this gives us is more tools, more toys to be creative with each story as we tell it.”
One thing that won’t be there next season is the live tree canopy that framed the stage. Only one of the original trees was still standing and the abororists concluded that it would not survive the construction, so the decision was made to take it down.
They were able to clone that final existing oak and will try to grow a new one from it. In the meantime, the Muny has already selected several 30-40 foot trees that are growing right now on a tree farm, and plans to bring all of those in during the 2020 season to rebuild the tree canopy on stage.
Stay tuned to hecmedia.org for special and ongoing coverage of the Muny’s renovations.