Popular outdoor theater The Muny is planning to install a new fan system to help cool down the audience. If the installation goes according to schedule, the system will be in place when Spamalot kicks off the summer season on June 17, 2013.
The two-part project will substantially enhance audience comfort by improving airflow during performances. Plans, which call for a significant upgrade to an existing blower system and the installation of new state-of-the-art fans, will directly address the top audience request, to keep them comfortable.
"After three consecutive summers of record-breaking temperatures, we are excited to be taking steps to improve the comfort of our audience," said Reagan. "This may be one of the most exciting developments in The Muny's 95-year history, continuing our tradition of giving our audiences exceptional theater and an extraordinary experience."
This historic project was made possible by a generous gift of $200,000 from Harry & Sally Johnston and the Henry O. Johnston Family Fund. The total project is expected to cost $600,000. Additional members of the "Muny Fan Club" include generous support from Ameren Corporation and Interco Charitable Trust, along with other major gifts scheduled for announcement in 2013.
The existing blower system, installed in 1957, will be modernized to enhance airflow in the audience. Upgrades to the motors and new louver designs will more than double the system's current output and reach. These blowers will continue to operate throughout Muny performances. Work on this part of the project is scheduled to begin in early winter.
The current Muny fans, installed in 1955, will be replaced with four significantly larger fans featuring lightweight blades modeled with energy efficient WhalePower technology. These new fans will create a breeze that will reach across the entire Muny audience. The Muny's goal is to run these fans during the evening performances. Sound engineers and contractors are currently conducting research and tests to see if the fans will be quiet enough to achieve this goal.
"We are thrilled to make the first gift in support of The Muny's new cooling system," remarked Sally Johnston. Sally's husband, Harry Johnston, served as Muny Board Chair from 2002-2004, and their son Steven is a current Board member. "Everyone in our family understands that the true magic of The Muny is being able to experience a marvelous show, outdoors, under the stars. We also know that heat keeps some people away. Now they can come back to The Muny knowing that the new fans and blower system will keep them more comfortable."
The project is based upon a 2012 air study conducted by HOK, a global architecture, engineering and planning firm.
Provided there are no delays-which could mean pushing the second part of the project back for a year or more-patrons should spend the 2013 summer season at The Muny watching Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, Nunsense-Muny Style!, Shrek-The Musical, South Pacific, Monty Python's Spamalot and West Side Story in comfort.
For more information about the season and more, call (314) 361-1900 or visit muny.org.