Setting the Stage

Artistic & Technical Advances

Creating a brighter and bolder experience on the iconic Muny stage.

Capital campaign contributions allowed for a complete transformation to the James S. McDonnell Stage

Renovations included cutting-edge lighting, sound, video and automation, plus protection for the orchestra and their instruments. These advances bring our productions to fuller life, take our stagecraft to previously unseen levels and engage audiences in new ways, plus this renovation allows for a better growing environment for our beloved tree canopy.

The New Muny Stage

The iconic Muny stage has been rebuilt, literally, from the ground up. The Art Deco design was created to complement The Muny pergolas. The new stage deck includes five automated lifts and three scenic tracks, making it possible for sets—and people—to appear almost magically. The turntable on this stage deck is also automated, plus the deck itself is installed before each season like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle which means the stage is protected from the elements when it’s not in use! 

An Orchestra Protected

The Orchestra Pit has moved under the stage but is still visible to the audience. This protects Moving The Muny orchestra under the stage is making a monumental difference! Our musicians are thrilled to better hear one another; valuable instruments and sound equipment are protected from any errant weather; plus, you have made it possible for our stagehands to set the pit for technical rehearsal and not have to set up and tear down all that equipment before and after every show. You can often see the Music Director (MD) halfway between the pit and the stage. A small camera sends real-time video of the MD to a small screen attached to each music stand in the pit. 

State-of-the-Art Technology

Dynamic stage lighting, improved sound, engaging video and integrated automation are just some of what is bringing brighter colors, more vibrant imagery and fresh life to every production. While these updates might be a little less obvious when you walk in the theatre, they are revolutionizing how you experience the show. All we ever want is for you to be able to suspend the real world for a couple hours, and this technology allows you stay inside the show better than ever before. 

The Muny Trees

One of our most important considerations when we began this stage renovation project was how to sustainably recreate our majestic tree canopy. Specific soil support and irrigation systems were “planted” as the stage was being built. This system spans the stage and provides the ideal growing environment for our trees’ roots to spread out safely (away from all this new infrastructure) and to grow for centuries to come. Fun fact: Wood from the original Muny mighty oaks has been used to create a beautiful custom table in the Orthwein Board Room in the administration building.

Our thanks to Mr. & Mrs. James S. McDonnell III, Enterprise Holdings Foundation and the William T. Kemper Foundation for their generous gifts that make this brighter and bolder Muny experience possible.

News and Notes