A Brighter and Bolder Experience

The majestic new James S. McDonnell Muny stage includes cutting-edge lighting, sound, automation and technology. These advances bring our productions to fuller life, take our stagecraft to previously unseen levels and engage audiences in new ways.

We replaced the stage, light bridge, and surrounding structures, and included multiple stage decks to increase flexibility and allow us to change scenes more efficiently. The new stage design provides additional protection for the orchestra and their instruments. Finally, new lighting and improved audio and video bring more vibrant imagery to our productions.


The stage and aging surrounding structures have been completely replaced with a majestic Art Deco design that feels both classic and contemporary and remains open to the sky and stars. Five new automated lifts and three scenic tracks allow scenery to move on its own. New trap doors and stage lifts make it possible for sets and people to appear quickly and almost magically. The final step of the stage rebuild was the installation of the decorative façade that was completed in time for the 2021 season.


The Orchestra Pit has moved under the stage but is still visible to the audience. This protects valuable instruments and sound equipment, reduces work for our stage hands and provides a more suitable environment for musicians and technicians. The Music Director is typically situated halfway between the orchestra pit and the stage level in sight for both actors on stage and musicians in the pit. Also, to give the orchestra a more direct view, a small camera is focused on the conductor and sends real-time video to a small screen attached to each music stand in the pit.


Dynamic stage lighting, improved audio and engaging video integration and upgrades to the classic scenery booms are just some of the things that are bringing brighter colors, more vibrant imagery and fresh life to each production. While these updates are less obvious, the LED lights, better sound quality and increased automation capabilities engage the audience in the story on stage even more. We have also installed LED walls on either side of the stage, joining an upgraded LED wall in the center.

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.