By Suzanne Vanderhoef
When audiences start filling the seats as The Muny kicks off their 101st season on June 10th, they’ll see a new Muny stage ready to make it’s debut – with a whole range of improvements behind the scenes including a brand new stage, light bridge, support towers and more.
“We’ve brought all the top of the line technologies,” explains Muny Managing Director Kwofe Coleman. “The capabilities of what they can do now, it’s remarkable. They’re going to see the set pieces come on and off with a tracking system, an incredibly smooth turntable. And we’ve added LED lights, which gives our designers a great, full menu of lights to work with.”
Those updates also include a series of lifts that will allow the performers to appear and disappear mid-stage. That’s something that hasn’t always been easy in the past.
“The last time we did “Wizard of Oz,” the Wicked Witch graciously climbed down a hole and climbed through dirt,” says Sean Smith, Muny Director of Operations. “Now she’s got an environment where she can go down to the basement and walk out like normal.”
Also moving under the stage: the orchestra. Where the audience would typically see them in front of stage, they are now tucked underneath the stage. Still visible, but protected from the elements. The orchestra pit will also have a system of lifts, so it can be raised up and extend the stage.
Even with all these changes, the renovation is still not completely finished.
“In 2019, you’ll see the new stage and the things on the light bridge, so we’re ready for the season,” says Coleman. “In 2020, you’ll see the architectural finishes along with the new trees, and then there’s several phases of construction over the next few years. It’s a brand new Muny stage: the face of the Muny for the 2nd century.”