From action and adventure to romance and comedy, there is something for everyone in the 2012 summer season of shows at The Muny in Forest Park.
Mike Isaacson, The Muny’s executive producer, said the cast and crew relish The Muny experience.
“We’re very fortunate,” said Isaacson, who took over at the end of last season for longtime Muny executive producer Paul Blake. “It’s fun for a couple of reasons. Everybody here loves what they do, and loves being able to support these people. That generosity of spirit just sort of flows through everything we do, which is really great. The real key of that, though, is the audience. Our Muny audience comes in and they’re so happy to be here and so excited about what they’re going to see.”
Performers, all professionals who have been making their livings as actors, frequently compare The Muny to a fun, intense summer camp. Part of that is the camaraderie they feel bringing a high quality show to fruition in a very short time period. But part of that is how appreciative and theater savvy the audience is.
“It’s a very supportive and warm audience,” Isaacson said. “The theater business at the level these (cast members) are working at can be a very tough and cynical business – hard. When they come here and they’re part of our shows, it allows them to get in touch with something that reminds them why they did this in the first place, why they struggled to be a performer.”
Thoroughly Modern Millie
That certainly holds true this summer, starting with Thoroughly Modern Millie, which opens Monday. Millie, which runs through June 24, is the story of a small town girl who arrives in 1920s New York City to find it is thoroughly modern, with flappers and even a Model T spicing the production.
“It was a show created by people who wanted to create the kind of show that made them fall in love with musicals,” Isaacson said. “Not just ‘like’ musicals, but ‘love’ musicals. So it’s got a heart as big as our stage. And it’s a big musical. It’s got big numbers, and big characters and big dances – and we’re doing it big. We’re going to have 30 people (just) in our opening number, and we’re going to have them surrounded by a cast of extras. So when Millie arrives in Manhattan, we’re gonna give you Manhattan. Sort of that impact.”
The show stars Broadway veteran Tari Kelly as Millie Dillmount, Tony Award-winning actress Beth Leavel as Mrs. Meers and Tony and Emmy Award-winning performer Leslie Uggams reprising her Broadway role as Muzzy.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are that Leslie Uggams is here,” he said. “She was last here in 1977 in Guys and Dolls. She’s a true legend and generous spirit, and still an incredible performer. It’s so inspiring to everyone here to have her here. I’ve just seen the cast in the rehearsal hall, and they’re sensational. I think it’s going to be a real treat. I think it’s going to be a real love fest. I want people to see the show and, if we succeed, it will remind them why they love musicals and why they love The Muny.”
Other Shows this Summer
- Aladdin, July 5-13
- Dreamgirls, July 16-22
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, July 23-29
- Pirates! (or Gilbert and Sullivan Plunder'd), July 30-Aug. 5
- The King and I, Aug. 6-12
The Muny shows start at 8:15 p.m. daily. Tickets range from $10 to $70, with 1,500 free seats at the back of the theater available starting at 7 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Muny offers pre-show entertainment in the picnic area on the east side of the venue.
Check out other activities a little closer to in our events page.