2024 Season

First-Time Muny Directors Ready to Make Magic in Season 106

The Muny family is always growing, and our epic 106th season features two first-time Muny directors alongside five familiar faces.

Seth Sklar-Heyn comes to Forest Park with a musical he knows well: Les Misérables. Seth is the executive producer for North American productions for Cameron Mackintosh Inc., the company that manages the prolific British producer’s catalog, and supervised the show’s 2014 Broadway revival and both of its recent North American tours.

Seth Sklar-Heyn

“If you come to The Muny to direct for the first time, you have to come and do a show you know,” Seth says, recalling advice from Muny Artistic Director & Executive Producer Mike Isaacson. “You have to deliver a show that you know inside and out so that you can take time where you need it to make it work for this space.” 

Seth’s first-ever visit to The Muny was last summer, when he was wowed by West Side Story.

“What got me more than what I experienced onstage was what I experienced around me in the theatre,” he says. “A, it was full. And B, they all stayed until the end of the bows and into the playout. It was so shared and so respectful and so focused. The Muny is amazing.”

The Les Misérables creative team includes Choreographer Jesse Robb, who also worked on the show’s recent national tour, and Music Director James Moore. 

“It’s a really exciting team,” Mike says. “To say that they’re dedicated to this show is such an understatement.”

William Carlos Angulo is an experienced Muny choreographer, but he returns this summer to direct and choreograph the Muny premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. It’s a show he says he can’t get enough of.

William Carlos Angulo
William Carlos Angulo (right), director/choreographer of In the Heights, instructs dancers on The Muny’s legendary open call audition weekend.

“This will be my eighth time doing In the Heights,” William says. “As a creative, as a director, as a choreographer, I think it’s pretty rare that I get to come into a production and kind of already feel like I have everything I need, where it’s not about trying to get myself inside the heads of these people who are so different from me. It’s just this process of putting my own spirit and my own beating heart onstage, and that’s enough.” 

The creative team includes Associate Choreographer Shani Talmor and Music Director Roberto Sinha.

After working with him as a choreographer the last three years — Little Shop of Horrors (2023), Legally Blonde (2022) and On Your Feet! (2021) — Mike knew he needed more of William’s creative vision on the Muny stage.

“He loves our audience and he loves this place, and it’s a really good match,” Mike says. “So I’m excited to see what he brings to the show.”

William believes The Muny is the perfect place to tell this story. 

“I’m surprised In the Heights hasn’t been done on this stage yet, because The Muny is the only truly civic project that I’ve ever been a part of,” he says. “I love working at The Muny because it’s actually walking the walk and talking the talk — the fact that it was built on these pillars of inclusivity, that it was designed such that anyone could bring their whole family to see a show, doing a show about community like this makes perfect sense to me.”

Many Happy Returns

The five directors returning to The Muny this summer can’t wait to get back to work under the stars.

Robert Clater, Dreamgirls • “I was born in Jefferson City, and I went to The Muny a few times as a child. So going back and directing there in 2012 was really a joy for me. And now, to be coming back again, it’s going to be quite a special time.”

John Tartaglia, Disney’s The Little Mermaid • “I love when I hear stories in the audience of people whose grandparents started taking bringing them; this passed-down tradition. For them, it’s not just a show — it’s this summer event that is a family thing that connects them.”

Rob Ruggiero, Fiddler on the Roof • “I think the sense of community at The Muny — not only in the audience but in the staff, artists and backstage — is why we all want to continue coming back to year after year after year.”

Lili-Anne Brown, Waitress • “I have literally been working all over the country telling them, you’ve got to go to The Muny if you want to feel what civic engagement really feels like, because it’s on another level that I have never experienced before.”

Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Anything Goes • “As directors we’re always going in with the design team to push the boundaries of what we think may hold us back, but The Muny never holds us back. It’s always an opportunity to expand in some way.”

This article originally appeared in the summer 2024 edition of Behind the Booms, a publication for Muny donors.

Categories: 2024 Season, Announcements, Muny News

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