The Muny Theatre, America's largest and oldest outdoor music theatre (seating 12,000), has announced its entire 79th season, beginning June 16 and running through August 10 at the theatre in St. Louis, MO.
The season opens with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat(June 16-22), and then is followed by Jules Styne's Funny Girl (June 23-29), the world premiere of Three Coins in the Fountain(July 7-13), a stage adaptation of Harold Arlen's The Wizard of Oz (July 14-20), A Chorus Line (July 21-27), Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, (July 28-Aug. 3) closing with Jerry Herman's Hello Dolly!(Aug. 4-10).
Most of the shows were picked from a survey the Muny conducted during last season's runs of Guys and Dollsand 42nd Street. Pulling from between 150,000 and 175,000 surveys, the Muny secured the number one requested musical, Joseph .... South Pacific was number 3, The Wizard of Oz number 5 and Hello Dolly number 6.
According to Muny spokesperson Laura Peters, the first survey distributed included a list of 50 musicals, asking audience members to pick their top seven shows, and later a distilled list of 25-30 shows was distributed on the second survey. Although the Muny relies heavily on the surveys to select its season, Peters says that the season may include,"other shows that aren't the ones people picked," such as ...Fountain.
Peters revealed that the Muny could not produce the survey's number 2, the ever-popular Les Miserables, because they could not get the rights. Number 4, The Sound of Music had been done in 1993, and the theatre likes to wait at least five years before reviving a production. Most of the Muny's subscribers are from St. Louis and the surrounding areas. Many come from Illinois and some are from as far away as Michigan. Peters said, "Some people like to come for the weekend, some make it a day trip. You can spend a whole day in the park and not spend a single penny." Each night, 1456 free seats are available to the public on a first come first serve basis. Lineup usually begins around 4:30, and the gate opens at 7 PM.
As for the survey, Peter's says "They'll do it again this year. People write in comments and we read every single one of them. . .It's a great way to keep in touch with whoever's sitting out there." Peters shared that one subscriber complained because they assumed that the music for one show was pre-recorded. Through the surveys, the Muny was able contact the person and let them know the orchestra was live, simply not onstage.
Muny season tickets go on sale March 22. Single tickets May 31. For more information, call (314) 361-1900.
--By Blair Glaser