One of the most important challenges when The Muny began its renovation going into its second century was how to sustainably recreate its majestic tree canopy. As part of the $100 million Second Century Campaign, the Muny now has a new state-of-the-art stage but they didn’t want to lose the original look and feel, with the tree canopy a critical backdrop that everyone had come to love and appreciate.
Since day one of renovation planning, the entire Muny team worked with arborists, landscape architects, stage designers and soil experts to make the best decisions possible for its patrons, performers, the stage and the beloved trees.
Keeping the mighty oak tree that the audience was accustomed to seeing on Stage Left was the hope all along. Moving through renovation plans, it became obvious that the tree needed to be removed for safety. After years of growing next to concrete structures, without the benefit of a proper growing environment, its root structure was far from healthy and stable. Because of this, the tree was rotting from the inside out.
But that 300-year-old oak tree is such an important piece of The Muny’s history, they are working to preserve its legacy for years to come. Urban landscapers and arborists are grafting new trees from the mighty oak and they will be planted at The Muny in a couple years!
This season, seven 30-foot-tall trees with root balls about 10 feet in diameter will make their Muny debut just in time for the first show. And the Muny has added a state-of-the-art soil support and irrigation system running through it to make sure the trees have room to grow.
The Muny is also dedicated to “growing young talent.” As part of the capital campaign, The Muny recently announced the acquisition of a $10 million gift from the Crawford Taylor Foundation, which will help support The Muny’s Endowment Fund, but is also designated to specifically support The Muny’s education efforts. Currently with eight programs, The Crawford Taylor Education Initiative will provide unprecedented, hands-on instruction and mentoring for youth hoping to pursue a career on or offstage in musical theatre. With this gift, the initiative will aid in the development of new arts education opportunities while improving current programs under a single, cohesive framework.
The Endowment Fund ensures a magnificent outdoor musical theatre experience for centuries to come. This fund supports education and community outreach, artistic innovation, production enhancement, facilities maintenance and improvement, and operational sustainability.
The Muny’s exciting 2020 season includes the Muny’s Premier of Sweeney Todd, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and the Midwest regional premiere of On Your Feet!
The seven shows are: Chicago (June 15 – 21), Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins (June 24 – July 2), Sweeney Todd (July 6 – 12), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (July 14 – 20), The Sound of Music (July 23 – 29), On Your Feet! (August 1 – 7) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (August 10 – 16).