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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
Story: In 1862, the king of Siam (modern-day Thailand) is interested in modernizing his nation. He enlists the aid of a Burmese contact to find a British woman who will teach his dozens of children the language of English as well as European customs. Anna Leonowens, widow of an English Army officer, accepts the position and moves to Siam with her son Louis on the conditions that she be paid for her work and that she be given a house in which to live, to which the king agrees.
Story: Young Frederic has been raised by pirates who roam the Caribbean Sea in the 19th century. There’s a stipulation, though, that he is to be freed upon his 21st birthday. Honorable fellow that he is, Frederic reluctantly vows to track down the band of brigands who raised him because they are outlaws. This doesn’t set well with the Pirate King, who informs Frederic that if he were to marry a virgin he can reverse a curse on his pirate pals and free all of them. As it is, they’re destined for a life of loneliness at sea.
Story: An aspiring trio of singers from Chicago travels to the renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1962 to audition their “girl group” at the venue’s famous “Amateur Night” competition. They don’t win, thanks in part to an enterprising car salesman back stage named Curtis Taylor Jr., who instantly observes their talent and convinces them to let him be their manager.
Story: The Roaring Twenties was a decade of debauchery, when illicit booze flowed in clandestine speakeasies while guys and gals treated themselves to loud and lusty good times despite the reign of Prohibition. Chicago was a city ruled by gangsters such as Al Capone and filled with two-bit players, such as Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, searching for the big time. The former was incarcerated in the Cook County jail for killing her unfaithful husband and his lover, her own sister, while Mrs. Hart went to jail for plugging her boyfriend, Fred Casely.
Story: Millie Dillmount departs Salina, Kansas on a train bound for New York City. It’s 1922 and Millie, who considers herself a ‘modern girl,’ sets her sights on landing a job and a husband at one of Gotham’s corporations. No sooner does she disembark from the train than she is robbed, leaving her with no money, no suitcase and not even both of her shoes. She trips an amiable passerby named Jimmy, a young man who advises her to leave the big city that clearly is too daunting for her.
The banners for this summer’s shows are flying in the springtime breeze as The Muny awakes from its annual hibernation. There is even more anticipation for opening night than in years past, as Mike Isaacson makes his debut as the new executive producer.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 7, 2010 - Mike Isaacson is the new executive producer at The Muny in St. Louis. �Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.
Sally Johnston, Mike Isaacson, Kitty Ratcliffe
Sally Johnston, Mike Isaacson, Kitty Ratcliffe
Story: Poor Campbell Davis. Just when she’s set to captain her high school’s nationally renowned cheerleading squad, she learns that she’s been transferred to another school by unexpected gerrymandering of local public school districts. This move puts blonde, perky Campbell and her dorky classmate Bridget in a school where cheerleading has considerably less cachet than at her old alma mater.
Meet me at…THE MUNY has announced its lineup for its 94th season, the first under new executive producer MIKE ISAACSON. The 2012 season will feature four musicals new to the Muny stage, as well as several ‘reimagined’ classics, including Chicago, Disney’s Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The King and I, Pirates! and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Financial forecasters say that the Great Recession is winding down, with encouraging signs of an improving economy outweighing lingering negative effects such as high unemployment.
Save the date…If you ever wanted to sneak a peek at some of our area's toniest kitchens, don't miss the first-ever HEART OF THE HOME Ladue/Frontenac kitchen tour. Not only will you view dream kitchens, but all proceeds from the Nov. 18 event go to JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION. Event co-chairs are LAURA ROEDER and LAURIE THEISS, honorary chair is radio personality JOHN CARNEY. For tickets, call 729-1846 or jdrf.org/teamjdrf.