The country’s oldest outdoor musical theater already is gearing up for an exciting 100th anniversary season in 2018, and while The Muny’s artistic director/executive producer, Mike Isaacson, deeply appreciates this St. Louis institution’s history, he is focused squarely on its future. “We’re not creating ‘museum theater,’ ” he says. “Yes, it’s a historic experience—you’ll always have the stage, the trees, the stars and the ritual. But the work on stage has to feel like it’s about the present. The future is what’s interesting to me; and the way we tell stories, and the technology we use need to be present-tense and future-tense. I want the audience members to look at the creativity on stage and say Look at this...and this is us.” To Isaacson, The Muny is a proxy for the city, and when it’s exciting and cutting-edge, it’s akin to the Cardinals winning the World Series—when everyone feels good about St. Louis.
One of our greatest pleasures at Ladue News is bringing you the stories of truly dynamic people who are changing St. Louis for the better. Congratulations to this year’s class of honorees—we hope their stories serve as inspiration!
Before the annual stroll around The Galleria in search of holiday gifts both selective and silly, it’s time to contemplate what occurred on local stages in the past 12 months.
The Muny's 97th season lineup has been announced, and it includes three Muny premieres. Season tickets will be available beginning March 7; single tickets go on sale May 30. The 2015 season begins with...
The Muny's Mike Isaacson
Story: New York City is bustling in 1895, and in the middle of the action is Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi. The widow of Ephram Levi makes her living by selling her services to teach dancing, play musical instruments and a dozen other occupations, most notably arranging marriages.
Story: A young girl finds herself drawn into a magical world guided by the most imaginative and individual Cat in the Hat. Soon she becomes a character herself as Jojo, the daughter of the mayor of Whoville and his wife, Mrs. Mayor.
Story: Poverty is a way of life in northeastern England, where the dirty and dangerous occupation of coal mining has been the main source of income to the locals for centuries. In 1984, though, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has sworn to shut down the government-operated coal industry, threatening to take away the livelihood of 300,000 miners.
Under the stars in Forest Park, the lights will soon go up on another memorable season of musicals created exclusively for The Muny’s storied stage. “There really is nothing like it in the world,” says Muny executive producer and artistic director Mike Isaacson.
From the simple act of playing catch with his son in the backyard to the big moment of walking his daughter down the aisle, dad holds a special place in our hearts throughout childhood and beyond. And those moving experiences have inspired many a song about the everlasting father-child bond. Here, leaders in local theater share their favorite songs about dad—who always will be their leading man.
All of a sudden it’s nearing the end of December and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions dance in our heads. Before we enter 2014, however, let’s reflect on what the past year has given us on local stages.
The 35th annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival opened with Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein. Mike Isaacson, executive producer of The Muny, interviewed the Broadway legend about his career and volunteer efforts. Fierstein also gave away personalized t-shirts from his shows Newsies and Kinky Boots, and signed copies of his books and CDs. More than 900 fans attended the event.
Story: Spanning a period from 1815 to 1832, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean against the backdrop of revolution in 19th century France. Imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving son, Valjean is freed from a slave labor camp only to be branded as an outcast because of his criminal record.
Story: Lampooning the hallowed Arthurian legend, Monty Python’s Spamalot details in irreverent fashion the story of England’s King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table and how they might have come to be.
Mary Strauss and Fox Theatricals' Mike Isaacson at the Tonys
If you were among the record 7.24 million viewers who tuned in to last weekend’s Tony Awards, you know that Kinky Boots was one of the evening’s biggest winners, giving Webster University alum JERRY MITCHELL his second Tony (the first was for his choreography work in La Cage Aux Folles in 2005). Bravo!
Mike Isaacson, Michael Adorjan
A cool breeze will now flow through the hot summer nights at The Muny in Forest Park. Audiences can sit back and take in the comforting effect of high-tech fans as they experience the open air theater’s new season of shows. The 95th year will open June 17 with Monty Python’s Spamalot, starring John O’Hurley of Seinfeld fame. LN recently spoke with executive director Mike Isaacson for the scoop on the season, its stars and many more surprises.
Joe Ditmeyer, Mike Isaacson
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Rick Dildine with Joe Carpenter and Mike Isaacson at reception for Tony Kushner, the recipient of the 2012 St. Louis Literary Award from Saint Louis University Library Associates