Tarlton Corp., general contracting and construction management firm, is serving as construction manager for renovations to The St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre or The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. The project architect is H3 architects from New York City. In May, The theater launched its first public fundraising effort, “Second Century Capital Campaign,” to raise $100 million for improvements and ongoing maintenance of its 11.5-acre campus in Forest Park, Miss. Tarlton has begun the first phase of construction now that the theater's summer season has ended.
The century-old stage will be addressed for structural needs and to equip it for modern stage technologies. A new revolving platform to move sets and actors more efficiently will replace the existing turntable, which was installed in 1930. Other upgrades include tracks to move scenery and five lifts to bring materials and/or actors to the stage from below. A new, expanded climate-controlled orchestra pit will accommodate musical instruments sensitive to temperature changes. The team will construct a full basement, new electrical and mechanical systems, elevators, restrooms, locker rooms, and general storage spaces.
The Muny stage will be flanked by shell-shaped towers constructed of steel, concrete, concrete masonry units, and drywall that serve to conceal an array of electronics and sound equipment. A new overhead light bridge of structural steel with an integrated walkway will replace the current cable light bridge system and provide more capabilities for lighting configurations. The current lighting system will be enhanced by new LED lighting and new LED screens for digital projections. At the close of the 2019 season, a façade of durable glass fiber reinforced concrete panels will be installed to reflect light and produce a wide spectrum of color.
“The renovations have been in the planning stages for years,” says Dennis Reagan, President and Chief Executive Officer at The Muny. “As we look toward the second century of The Muny, these improvements are designed to enhance the musical theater experience for St. Louisans and visitors and are vital to its future.”
Tarlton has completed many renovation projects for the theater over the last 20 years. This includes the installation of giant cooling fans and restroom, amphitheater, and concession stand renovations. In addition, Tarlton has completed lighting work, plaza renovations, sidewalk repairs, and handrail upgrades.