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The audience enjoyed opening night for The Muny's 101st season with an engagine performance of "Guys and Dolls" on the new stage featuring a majestic Art Deco design, new light bridge and surrounding structures.
Lady Luck Was Smiling with 'Guys and Dolls' For Opening Performance of 101st Season
Improved audio systems delivered wonderful clarity for musical numbers and dance scenes in "Guys and Dolls".
The scene at Cathedral Square in Havana, Cuba, featured thrilling choreography by The Muny ensemble.
by Betty Moore, slfp.com
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), June 11, 2019 - The Muny rolled out the first of its dazzling, seven-show productions for its 101st season.
The opening night of "Guys and Doll" introduced the audience to a new stage featuring a majestic Art Deco design, new light bridge, surrounding structures and vastly improved audio.
The musical comedy, 'Guys and Dolls' gambles with luck and love during a time when Broadway was rampant with wise guys, mission girls and Lindy's cheesecake. Directed by Gordon Greenberg and co-choreographed by Lorin Latarro and Patrick O'Neill with music direction by Brad Haak, the production was engaging throughout.
The story unfolds with Nathan Detroit (Jordan Gelber) desperate to come up with $1,000 to pay a garage owner to host his big craps game and win back the love of his girlfriend, Miss Adelaide (Kendra Kasssebaum) who wants to get married. He comes up with a sure-fire bet that fellow gambler Sky Masterson (Ben Davis) won't be able to convince missionary Sergeant Sarah Brown (Brittany Bradford) to go on a date to Havana, Cuba.
She agrees to go to Havana to save her mission from being closed by General Cartwright (Zoe Vonder Haar, a last minute replacement). The scene in Havana featured thrilling choreography by the ensemble. Costume designer Tristan Raines showcased her talent with this number.
The plot thickens with lots of twists, unexpected turns and laugh-out-loud gag lines. One of the more interesting stage designs was the crap game held in the sewer with the gamblers and gangsters. Scenic designer Paul Tate dePoo III took full advantage of the stage's new technology featuring a turntable and tracks. Backdrops moved effortlessly across the stage to reveal the inner workings of the tunnel, complete with smoke and lights. Each time the gamblers rolled the dice, the music and lights built into the stage created the winning moves with perfect timing. Lighting designer Rob Denton can now breathe a sign of relief.
Gambler Masterson fell in love with Brown while in Havana. When they return back to the mission in New York, she discovers the scheme behind the date. Now it's Masterson who's in the hot seat. He convinces the gamblers that if he wins the crap game, they have to attend a meeting at the Save-A Soul Mission to help Sarah keep it from being closed. His performance of the classic "Luck Be a Lady" was stellar.
The audience applauded loudly for familiar songs including, "I've Never Been in Love Before", "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," and title "Guys and Dolls". A spirited "Marry the Man Today," was beautifully sung by Miss Adelaide and Sarah Brown.
Although the weather was a bit chilly, the crowd gave a warm, standing ovation for the final number, "The Happy Ending." Indeed, Lady Luck was smiling on opening night of the Muny's Second Century set on a stunning new stage.
The Muny will be the first theatre in the U.S. to produce the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots (June 19 - 25). In addition, Season 101 also includes two all-time beloved Muny favorites: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (July 8 - 16). After 56 years, Muny audiences will see the return of Lerner and Loewe's Paint Your Wagon (July 27 - August 2), in a revised edition being developed at The Muny. Other season highlights include 80s dance-favorite Footloose (July 18 - 24), the powerful musical-telling of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, 1776 (June 27 - July 3), and The Muny premiere of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning Matilda (August 5 - 11).
Prudish Sergeant Sarah Brown is determined to keep the "Save a Soul" Mission open despite lack of attendance at its meetings.
Single seat tickets are currently on sale. Muny gift cards for the 101st season are now available online and at The Muny Box Office. For more information, visit muny.org or call (314) 361-1900.
The Muny began in 1916 in Forest Park with a tribute to William Shakespeare. As You Like It, produced by Shakespearean actress Margaret Walsh Anglin featured over 200 St. Louisians playing a variety of roles on a gently sloping hill.
Colorful flags spotlight productions for The Muny's 101st Season in Forest Park.
In 1917, concrete was poured for the production of Aida by Guy Golterman of the St. Louis Grand Opera Committee. The success of that event prompted St. Louis Mayor Henry Kiel to formally establish the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis in 1919.
From the beginning, The Muny set aside 1,456 free seats at the back of the theatre in order for the shows to be affordable to all. During its history, The Muny has produced and presented grand operas, concerts, operettas and ballet troupes.
The Muny is located on Theatre Drive, just north of the Jewel Box. In front of the entrance to The Muny, patrons and visitors to the park can enjoy the serene beauty of The Pagoda which is surrounded by water.
In 1998, The Muny completed the renovation of the stage area and backstage area as part of it Capital Improvement Campaign. Over $3 million was spent on new concession stands and doubling the number of womens bathrooms. In 2000, nearly 12,000 seats were replaced at the outdoor amphitheatre and the parking lots were resurfaced. A plaza was added east of the entrance. The area surrounding the Pagoda and the entrance was landscaped with plants, antique lights, sidewalks and bridges featuring decorative columns.
The tradition of The Muny continues with Broadway musicals from mid-June through mid-August in Forest Park.
For more information, call 314-361-1900.
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