Single-performance tickets for all seven musicals in the 106th Muny season — and for John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra — go on sale at muny.org starting at 9 a.m. Monday, May 20, at The Muny Box Office, 1 Theatre Drive in Forest Park.

It’s fast and easy to purchase tickets online using MetroTix, the only authorized vendor for Muny tickets. But buyers who visit the Muny Box Office in person May 20 will be able to learn more about each of this summer’s Broadway hits and sneak a peek at sketches by our design teams.

Box office guests who buy three or more single-performance tickets for the 106th season will be entered to win a VIP seat upgrade — with parking. Free In the Heights-inspired snow cones also will be available.

Only tickets for the 106th Muny season will be available at the Muny Box Office; tickets for John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra must be purchased through MetroTix at muny.org.

Season 106 at The Muny includes Les Misérables (June 17-23), Dreamgirls (June 27-July 3), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (July 8-16), Fiddler on the Roof (July 19-25), Waitress (July 30-Aug. 5), In the Heights (Aug. 9-15) and Anything Goes (Aug. 19-25). The Muny presents John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 7.

The Muny will present EGOT-winning, critically acclaimed, multiplatinum  musician John Legend on its iconic James S. McDonnell Stage for John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.

Renowned for producing exceptional musical theatre, The Muny, in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, revives a beloved tradition by presenting its first live concert in more than 30 years.

John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will feature intimate reimaginings of Legend’s greatest hits (“All of Me,” “Ordinary People,” “Tonight”), unexpected stories from his life and career, and selections from his most recent release, LEGEND (“Nervous,” “Wonder Woman”). This concert is Legend’s first-ever performance with the SLSO.

Tickets for John Legend: A Night of Songs and Stories With the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra are $75-$300 and go on sale at 9 a.m. CT May 20 at metrotix.com and muny.org/johnlegend. Muny and SLSO subscribers can access a presale from 9 a.m. May 17 to 9 p.m. May 19 CT. MetroTix is the only authorized vendor of Muny tickets.

The Muny also will offer tickets for its famous “free seats.” Details will be announced.

“We have been eager but deliberate in recent years about creating the right opportunity to bring live concerts back into the Muny tradition, and the alignment of an icon like John Legend with one of the best orchestras in the world, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, is the perfect opening for this next chapter,” said Muny President & CEO Kwofe Coleman. “Generations of St. Louisans have memories of seeing legendary music acts on our magnificent stage, and I am excited to deliver this bit of nostalgia to our community at the end of our 2024 summer season.” 

The last concert at The Muny was by the Moody Blues and Kansas in 1991. Other notable artists who have performed on the Muny stage include Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Sting, Barry Manilow, Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers and Hank Williams Jr.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Muny and the incredible John Legend for this truly not-to-be-missed performance,” said SLSO President & CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard. “This concert highlights the best St. Louis has to offer — the remarkable talents of our musicians on one of the most celebrated musical theatre stages in the country. This collaboration with The Muny is another milestone in our treasured partnership and elevates our shared vision of providing unique artistic experiences for the community.”

JOHN LEGEND

John Legend is an EGOT-winning, critically acclaimed, multiplatinum musician who has garnered 12 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Tony Award and three Emmy Awards, among others. 

Legend is one of only nineteen people in the prestigious EGOT club. Legend has released nine celebrated albums over the course of his career, including Get Lifted (2004), Once Again (2006), Evolver (2008), Love in the Future (2013), Darkness and Light (2016), A Legendary Christmas Deluxe  (2019), Bigger Love (2020), LEGEND (2022), and most recently, LEGEND (Solo Piano Version) (2023). In 2022, his critically acclaimed Las Vegas Residency, “Love In Las Vegas,” took place at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. 

Legend starred as Jesus in NBC’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR LIVE IN CONCERT in April 2018. That year, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” and won an Emmy as a producer in the “Outstanding Variety Special (Live)” category for the show.  Legend joined THE VOICE as a coach for Season 16 (2019) and has returned for a number of seasons, most recently Season 25 (2024).  

Beyond his music career, Legend, along with partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius, is a principal of Get Lifted Film Co., a production company which has developed projects with major networks including ABC, NBC, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Netflix, and FX. Get Lifted’s latest projects include the MAX documentary STAND UP AND SHOUT, Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary 1000% ME: GROWING UP MIXED, Paramount+ documentary LOUDMOUTH, PBS documentary RACIST TREES and the Netflix hip-hop competition series “RHYTHM & FLOW.” Their upcoming projects include NBC/Peacock’s BEFORE I LET GO, based on the New York Times Best Selling Author Kennedy Ryan’s book, and REVERB with Renée Elise Goldsberry attached to star; the film THE WAR & TREATY, inspired by real-life husband-and-wife Black country music stars Michael and Tanya Trotter; the TV adaptation of S.A. Cosby’s novel BLACKTOP WASTELAND; and the forthcoming Broadway-bound musical SOUL TRAIN.  

In 2021, Get Lifted and Erik Feig’s PICTURESTART formed Picture LIFT, a joint venture focused on developing, producing and financing multiple films in the $10M range, featuring diverse filmmakers and inclusive casts. Get Lifted and Universal Studio Group’s UCP inked a first-look deal for unscripted series and an exclusive multi-year overall deal for scripted content. Additionally, Get Lifted recently renewed their first look feature documentary deal with HBO.  

Aside from film, TV and theater, Get Lifted has partnered with Zando to form Get Lifted Books, which builds upon Get Lifted Film Co.’s mission of spotlighting stories from dynamic creatives. Their most recent acquisition, “Wild Life,” a memoir by National Geographic Explorer and ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, published in April. Previous titles include “Rosewater,” by Liv Little, and “Black Love Letters,” which  features a foreword by Legend.   

Legend’s skincare line, Loved01, launched in 2023 and is available online and through CVS and Walmart. Loved01 is an effective and affordable unisex skincare brand formulated to treat the needs of melanin-rich skin. 

As an activist, Legend launched FREEAMERICA in 2015 to change the conversation surrounding criminal justice policies and to end mass incarceration. Legend serves on the Board of Directors of Harlem Village Academies and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and on the Advisory Boards for The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and Teach for All. 

THE MUNY

The Muny’s mission is to enrich lives by producing exceptional musical theatre, accessible to all, while continuing its remarkable tradition in Forest Park. As the nation’s oldest, largest outdoor musical theatre, we welcome more than 350,000 theatregoers each summer for seven world-class productions. Now celebrating 106 seasons in St. Louis, The Muny remains one of the premier institutions in musical theatre. For more information, visit muny.org.

ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

Celebrated as one of today’s most exciting and enduring orchestras, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 145th year with the 2024/2025 season and its sixth with Stéphane Denève, the Joseph and Emily Rauh Pulitzer Music Director. Widely considered one of the leading American orchestras, the Grammy Award-winning SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact and community collaborations — all in service to its mission of enriching lives through the power of music. For more information, visit slso.org.

By Lynn Venhaus

A jubilant celebration of culture, community, and connection, “In the Heights” is a warm embrace emphasizing the meaning of home.

This Stages St. Louis production sizzles with its scrupulous staging and splendid ‘triple-threat’ cast. Director Luis Salgado, whose heart is big as the George Washington Bridge in New York City, makes the show ‘pop’ with his spirited direction and vibrant choreography.

The ensemble makes its mark individually — impressive as personalities but they come together as a whole, with a spark that lights up the stage like Fourth of July fireworks.

From the uplifting title song that introduces the cast, they will quickly endear because of their characters’ devotion to their friends and family, sharing heartwarming stories and creating a tapestry in their little corner of the world.

This version’s brilliant burst of energy is because of Salgado’s inspiration and his unwavering commitment to the musical that began 15 years ago. His effusive motto “Dare to go beyond” is apt here.

As a performer and emerging choreographer, Salgado was involved in the original work – with 118 performances off-Broadway in 2007 and nearly 1,000 on Broadway (2008-2010). He was assistant to three-time Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler (“In the Heights,” “Hamilton,” “Bandstand”).

Amanda Robles, Marlene Fernandez and Ariana Valdes. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

Blankenbuehler had brought Salgado on board to give authenticity to the show’s movements and to help bring the creative team’s vision to life. He described Salgado as “passionate” and “inventive.”

Their mutual admiration society has resulted in Salgado using Blankenbuehler’s original choreography on the sensational ensemble numbers “In the Heights,” “96,000,” “Blackout” and “Finale.”

However, Salgado isn’t the only original connection involved at Stages.

Anna Louizos, Tony nominee for the show’s scenic design, designed the Ross Family Theatre’s richly textured set, creating the Washington Heights neighborhood that comes alive in a stunning recreation inside the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.

This is an ideal setting for such an exuberant group sharing their hopes while struggling with everyday realities. “In the Heights” takes place over the course of three days, during a blistering summer heat wave in the barrio, which is on the brink of change.

Creator of the historic and cultural phenomenon “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Tony-winning musical in 2009 was special because it had a specific sense of place and resonated with a universal story about people chasing their dreams.

Manuel honored his Latin heritage and cultural traditions as an American whose parents came from Puerto Rico, growing up in Washington Heights (where he still lives). He included the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, and Caribbean Islands as origins, too.

The pulsating score is a hybrid of Latin, urban, hip-hop and salsa beats but also features touching ballads. Miranda was the first composer to put hip-hop lyrics in a Broadway show — and the youngest to win the Tony for Best Music Score in 2009.

Ryan Alvarado grew on me as the hard-working, good-hearted Usnavi de la Vega, the owner of a local bodega who dreams of selling the store and moving to a tropical place where he feels he can be happy. He’s the lynchpin to all the action swirling around him.

Tami Dahbura as Abuela Claudia. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

His confidante, Abuela Claudia, who dispenses advice – and love – to the neighborhood denizens, is the heart and soul of the show, and Tami Dahbura stood out in her heart-tugging numbers, “Paciencia y Fe” (Patience and Faith) and “Hundreds of Stories.”

Isabel Leoni as Nina and Amanda Robles as Vanessa are high points, showcasing their outstanding voices. You feel a connection with their characterizations immediately.

Nina, the golden girl who landed a scholarship at Stanford University, was a role model for many but now she is disappointed with herself and feels she let everyone down. She delivers a poignant “Breathe” and a sentimental tribute “Everything I Know” with much passion.

Usnavi’s crush, hairdresser Vanessa, is someone who sees moving to Manhattan as a steppingstone to a better life. Robles soars in “It Won’t Be Long Now,” joined by Alvarado, who clearly wears his heart on his sleeve, and the whirlwind Luis-Pablo Garcia as his cousin Sonny.

Robles, Alvarado, Garcia. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

While the robust and oh-so-catchy “96,000” is Usnavi’s big number dreaming about winning the lottery, Robles shines in her part. Closer to the finale, Robles and Alvarado have sweet, tender and funny moments in “Champagne.”

The most moving song of all is “Alabanza” (Praise) in honor of Abuela Claudia, such love and respect expressed. It just may bring a tear to your eye.

Quiara Alegría Hudes wrote the musical’s original book, and it’s noteworthy regarding all the strong women role models, including Camila, Kevin’s wife and partner in a car service business, in addition to Abuela Claudia, Nina, Vanessa, hairdresser Carla and salon owner Daniela.

Tauren Hagans excels in her two solo numbers “Siempre” (Always) and “Enough” as Nina’s strong mom Camila, and the four younger women have fun with “No Me Diga” (You Don’t Say!).

 Jahir Lawrence Hipps is impressive as Benny, who works for Nina’s intense dad Kevin (Edward Juvier). But when he falls in love with Nina, that’s another story.

Leoni and Hipps. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

The duets featuring Hipps and Leoni are lovely – especially “When the Sun Goes Down” and they superbly lead the company on “When You’re Home” and “Sunrise.”

Juvier, a Stages veteran, with a St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for “The Drowsy Chaperone” in 2017 and a nominee in “My Fair Lady” in 2014, was Bob Crewe in “Jersey Boys” last summer.

As the demanding dad Kevin, he showcases his vocal prowess in “Inutil” (Useless) and “Atencion” (Attention).

Comical relief is welcome when crowd-pleasers Cristian Rodriguez as Graffiti Pete and Michael Schimmele as Piragua Guy are on stage, as well as the salon’s Carla, firecracker Marlene Fernandez, and Ariana Valdes as the animated owner Daniela, who leads the buoyant “Carnaval del Barrio” (Neighborhood Carnival).

Fernandez, Schimmele and Valdes. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

And Garcia, who was memorable as Freddy in “The Karate Kid – The Musical,” is in a league of his own, as cheerful chatterbox Sonny, stealing practically every scene he’s in, eliciting laughs every time he’s on stage.

The sprightly ensemble includes Tavis Kordell Cunningham, Mauricio Villanueva Espinosa, Carmen Guynn, Sarah Hampton, Paola Hernandez, Karma Jenkins, Ricco Martin Jr., Jovany Ramirez, Joey Rosario and Carlita Victoria.

Music Director Walter “Bobby” McCoy keeps the tempo lively and brings out the emotional sincerity in the ballads, using the arrangements and orchestrations of Tony winner Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman.

As the conductor and a keyboard player, McCoy has a dynamic orchestra that flavors the Latin score with their expert musicianship in strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Trumpet player Chris Miller brings such a great sound to “The Club/Fireworks” while the percussion’s driving beat is such a treat. Ovations for McCoy, Miller, associate music director and bass Alerica Anderson, Sean Andrews on second keyboard, Travis Mattison on guitar, Lea Gerdes on reeds, Evan Palmer on trombone, Charles “Chuck” Smotherson on drums and Peter Gunn on percussion.

Hagans and Juvier. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

Bethany “Beef” Gratz’s sound design is exceptional — smooth and crystal-clear, capturing not only three generations of rhythms but the ambiance of the neighborhood.

Costume Designer Brad Musgrove outfits the vivacious residents in casual, colorful summertime attire, with a few dress-up glam looks, while Sean M. Savoie’s lighting design is a striking enhancement on the day’s progression and the nighttime worries. 

Salgado’s joy regarding the material infuses the entire production, as he moves things at a vigorous pace from well-staged big numbers to intimate emotional scenes. Special mention to assistant director and associate choreographer Bryan Ernesto Menjivar and dance captain Megan Elyse Fulmer, for this show is a terrific example of teamwork and collaboration.

This uplifting show had me on my feet and humming the songs afterwards, putting the cast album back on rotation at home. If anything can change a mood, it is this 23-song collection and this exciting ensemble that aims for the heart and has us at “Hola!”

Amanda Robles as Vanessa. Photo by Phillip Hamer.

Stages St. Louis presents “In the Heights” from July 22 to Aug. 21 at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center in Kirkwood, Mo. Performances take place in the Ross Family Theatre. For more information: www.stagesstlouis.org

Photo by Phillip Hamer

STAGES St. Louis is thrilled to announce that five team members of the Pre-Broadway production of THE KARATE KID – The Musical have been nominated for 2022 Tony Awards. Lighting Designer Bradley King, Scenic Designer Derek McLane, and Projection
Designer Peter Nigrini each received nods, as did producer Kumiko Yoshii and STAGES St. Louis Executive Producer Jack Lane, when the full slate of this year’s nominees were announced May 9.

“I am thrilled for all of this year’s nominees, and most especially for my treasured collaborators on THE KARATE KID,” stated Kumiko Yoshii. “Today is a day of celebration for an industrthat has made a remarkable return to form.” King was nominated for Best Lighting Design of a Musical for FLYING OVER SUNSET, McLane and Nigrini were both nominated for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for MJ: THE MUSICAL.

Yoshii also serves as Co-Producer of MJ: THE MUSICAL, which earned 10 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, and Lane serves as a Co-Producer for COMPANY, which earned 9, including Best Revival of a Musical “These nominations are a testament to the caliber of talent that is surrounding THE KARATE KID – The Musical, and certainly add to the excitement of STAGES’ first Pre-Broadway World Premiere,” Jack Lane said. “What a great day for the city of St. Louis!”

THE KARATE KID – The Musical will “kick-off” the 36th Season at STAGES St. Louis at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, running May 25 – June 26. Following the Pre-Broadway World Premiere will be the STAGES Premiere of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s To Award-Winning IN THE HEIGHTS (July 22 – August 21) and the return of the Pulitzer and Tony
Award-Winning classic A CHORUS LINE (September 9 – October 9).

Tickets are on sale now online at StagesStLouis.org or by phone at 314.821.2407. For more information, please follow STAGES on Facebook and Instagram or visit StagesStLouis.org

Flying Over Sunset

In celebration of the reopening of live theatre in St. Louis and their 35th Anniversary Season,
STAGES St. Louis has announced their 2022 Season will feature the regional premiere of the Tony-Award
Winning IN THE HEIGHTS, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and book by Quiara Alegría Hudes.

IN THE HEIGHTS is a vital and thrilling musical about the American Dream set in the vibrant NYC
neighborhood of Washington Heights. Exploring the hopes and dreams of family, community, and more,
the production is a perfect fit for the STAGES mission and audience.

Before there was HAMILTON, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s IN THE HEIGHTS took Broadway by storm, winning the
Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. An acclaimed film
adaptation, directed by Jon M. Chu and starring Anthony Ramos, was released this past weekend.

“We are beyond excited about presenting IN THE HEIGHTS at STAGES in 2022. I can’t think of a better
show to be a part of our first full season at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Everything about this
beautiful and melodic musical speaks to the stories that STAGES so loves to tell,” said Mosbacher Family
Executive Producer Jack Lane.

On its Broadway opening in 2008, The New York Times raved, “When this musical erupts in one of its
expressions of collective joy, the energy it gives off could light up the George Washington Bridge for a year
or two.” That energy will no doubt be alive and thriving on The Ross Family Theatre stage at the Kirkwood
Performing Arts Center in 2022.

STAGES St. Louis will announce the remainder of their 2022 Season later this summer. In the meantime,
tickets for STAGES 35th Anniversary Season, featuring the fan-favorite production of ALWAYS… PATSY
CLINE (August 6 – September 5) and the STAGES premiere of JERSEY BOYS (September 24 – October 24)
are on sale now. You can purchase two-show subscriptions or single tickets by visiting their website at
StagesStLouis.org or by calling the Box Office at 314.821.2407.

For more information, please follow STAGES on Facebook and Instagram or visit the organization’s website.
STAGES St. Louis is the region’s foremost not-for-profit company committed to preserving and advancing
the art form of Musical Theatre through excellence in performance and education. In 2021, STAGES
celebrates its 35th year of producing Broadway-quality theatre, as well as the grand opening of our new
home, the $25 Million Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.

STAGES Performing Arts Academy is regionally renowned for its innovative and multi-disciplinary programs
that transform lives through immersion in the Musical Theatre arts. Celebrating its 16th year, it is also the
only such program in the St. Louis region to be connected to a professional theatre company.


For more information on the Academy or to register today please call 636.449.5775 or visit us online at
www.StagesStLouis.org.Two-show subscription and single tickets for the 2021 Season are on sale now. For more information,
please call 314.821.2407 or visit www.StagesStLouis.or

By Lynn Venhaus
“In the Heights” is indescribably delicious — and one of the best movie musicals of the 21st century, splendidly transferred from stage to screen.

Bursting with exuberance and featuring a bustling street tableau, this long-awaited adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Tony-winning musical is teeming with colorful sights and sounds.

Besides a richly textured, pulsating score with primarily hip-hop lyrics and a salsa beat, what made the musical special is how it captures a universal story of people chasing their dreams with a specific sense of place.

Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos) is the owner of a small bodega in New York City’s Washington Heights. As the neighborhood braces for changes and people follow their dreams, family stories are revealed.

Usnavi has a crush on Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who dreams of being a designer and wants to live in the West Village. His childhood friend, Nina (Leslie Grace), the “one who made it out” by landing a scholarship to Stanford University, thinks she is disappointing her dad, Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits), who owns a local car service company. Nina’s love interest, Benny (Corey Hawkins), works for her dad. Meanwhile, Abuelo Claudia (Olga Merediz) dispenses love and advice as the neighborhood’s matriarch. Merediz played the role on Broadway.

And Usnavi discovers his store has sold a winning lottery ticket for $96,000 – money that could make a lot of dreams possible.

Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera

As a celebration of Latino heritage, from Caribbean islands, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico, this film arrives at the perfect time – it’s a valuable immigrant representation and a major achievement in 2021.

Set during a blistering summer heat wave in the barrio over the course of three days, you feel “all the feels” — You will fall in love with these characters and their devotion to family, culture and finding their place in the world.

Showcasing an abundance of charisma, three stars are born: Anthony Ramos as Usnavi, Melissa Barrera as Vanessa and Leslie Grace as Nina. Ramos, most known as John Laurens and Alexander’s son Philip in “Hamilton,” sings and dances up a storm, but also has the emotional heft for good-hearted, hard-working Usnavi. Barrera and Grace dazzle in every musical number – and their personal stories tug at the heartstrings.

The entire cast is terrific — Corey Hawkins as Benny, Daphe Rubin-Vega as Daniella, Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia, Jimmy Smits as Kevin Rosario and Gregory Diaz IV as Sonny, among them.

Jon M. Chu, who directed “Crazy Rich Asians,” has a flair for keeping things moving at a brisk pace in massive musical numbers but also creating an intimacy with the duets and personal struggles. For a movie with a running time of 2 hours and 23 minutes, that is no small feat.

Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the musical’s original book plus the screen adaptation) brings it into today, with references to Dreamers (DACA), activism and current class struggles. The women characters are all strong role models, too.

Best of all are the energetic dance scenes. Vibrant choreographer Christopher Scott will have you moving and up from your seat! He brings so much joy to these lively street scenes, and their precise moves – on asphalt, park, water or sand – are striking. He is a Busby Berkeley for the modern age, keen on making the action ‘pop.’

And for Miranda’s devotees and “Hamilton” fans, there are a few tasty in-jokes. Check out the phone muzak while Jimmy Smits is on hold – recognize a signature tune? — and there is a rivalry between his “The Piragua Guy” and a Mr. Softee truck (with a certain actor once known as Mr. President – and who played Benny in the original cast). Christopher Jackson and Miranda go way back to 2002.

Miranda was the first composer to put hip-hop lyrics in a Broadway show — and the youngest to win the Tony for Best Music Score in 2009. While that is remarkable in itself, what he has managed in his career to date is awe-inspiring — and means a lot is expected from him. Next up, his directorial debut with “Tick, Tick…Boom,” basically the Jonathan Larson story, which will premiere on Netflix this fall. He credits the “Rent” composer with being one of his influences.

His “Hamilton” Dream Team of Tommy Kail, Alex Lacamoire and Andy Blankenbuehler worked together on all the stage versions of “In the Heights,” so while not specifically involved in the movie, their influence can be felt.

Miranda wrote a new song, “Home All Summer,” which plays over the credits and features Marc Anthony, who has a minor role as Sonny’s father, in addition to Ramos and Grace.

Sonny’s father wasn’t in the original musical, and there are a few alterations here, including a new framing device and ending, but it only adds to the material, not detracts. A few songs were cut from the 25, and the soundtrack now includes 17, including the new one.

Movie musicals can be a dicey proposition these days, for every “Chicago” (Oscar winner) and “Les Miserables” (Best Picture nominee), there is an epic failure like “The Phantom of the Opera” and the unwatchable “Cats.”

This is a fun, global experience that will be a certain summer sizzler. After a pandemic delay, “In the Heights” is a welcome refresher in the magic of music and movies.

“In the Heights” is a musical directed by John M. Chu and starring Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Leslie Grace, Daphne Rubin-Vega,  Corey Hawkins, Marc Anthony and Jimmy Smits. It is rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive references, and runs 2 hours, 23 minutes. Lynn’s Grade: The movie is in theaters starting June 10 and on HBO Max June 10 – July 11.

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing EditorA STAR WAS BORN: It was as if scripted in a movie. You’ve heard of that classic moment in the 1933 movie “42nd Street” when an understudy takes over for an injured diva. Well, it really happened right here in St. Louis one summer 46 years ago at The Muny.
On Aug. 14, 1972, MGM musical star Ann Miller was playing Reno Sweeney to Michael Callan’s Billy Crockett in “Anything Goes.” The classic Cole Porter romantic romp was underway when right after the song “Friendship” during a scenery change, Miller was conked on the head by a steel boom. Callan had followed her off-stage, then found her on the floor, dazed and bruised.

“Is there a doctor in the house?” A call went out from the stage and 15 doctors responded. The show was cancelled and Miller taken to Deaconess Hospital with a mild brain concussion and loss of equilibrium. She spent 23 days there.With Miller out but not wanting to cancel the week, Muny brass sought a replacement. They plucked Pat St. James, a senior at Webster University, from the ensemble. She rose to the occasion.
St. James, whose parents were local broadcast celebrities Clif and Nance St. James, was praised for her soaring performance. She later thrived in a musical theater career.
But in 1999, she switched gears, earning a degree in theology and ordained an Episcopal priest. She was married to David Roberts, and they lived in Atlanta with their two children, Oliver and Julia. At age 61, after a four-year battle with cancer, she died on Dec. 5, 2010.
Her moment in the sun became a Muny legend.
“Anything Goes” may have been Miller’s first appearance at The Muny but it wouldn’t be her last. She would be persuaded to return in the next decade, for ‘Sugar Babies” with Mickey Rooney in 1984.
Miller starred in “Kiss Me Kate,” “Easter Parade,” “On the Town,” “Stage Door,” “Room Service” and “Mulholland Drive” (?!?).Side Note: I actually saw Pat St. James as Reno Sweeney that week at The Muny. Everyone was abuzz.
(“Anything Goes” photo from Muny archives, from left, Pat Paulsen, Pat St. James, Michael Callan.)
***HELLO, USA!: Congratulations to Madison Johnson of St. Louis, who has been cast in the national tour of “Hello, Dolly!” that begins in late September. She is part of the ensemble and understudy for Minnie Fay.This tour of the Broadway revival, which won four Tony Awards in 2017, will feature Betty Buckley as Dolly Levi and Lewis J. Stadlen as Horace Vandergelder. Stadlen, a three-time Tony nominee, has been in several Muny shows, including “The Producers,” “Damn Yankees,” “Meet Me in St. Louis” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Madison has been part of the Muny ensemble the past six years, recently playing Lucille Ballard in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” She was Kristine in “A Chorus Line” last summer and Frenchie in 2014’s “Grease.” She started at age 7 as a Muny Kid. A graduate of Whitfield School and Elon College, she moved to New York City in 2016.
***
SIX DEGREES OF ST. LOUIS: John David Washington is starring in “BlackkKlansman” as undercover cop Ron Stallworth, who wrote the book that Spike Lee has adapted into this acclaimed film.

He was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2007 after he was not drafted in the NFL Draft. Later cut from the Rams, he was a running back for the Hamburg Sea Devils, a German team playing in the NFL Europe League. Fun fact: Eldest son of two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington.
Photo: Adam Driver and John David Washington
***GO SEE A PLAY! POLL: The St. Louis Fringe Festival’s local headlining act is an original musical written and composed by Colin Healy called “The Gringo.” The world premiere will be performed four times from Thursday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 19, at the .Zack, 3224 Locust.
It’s about how art can bring a community together. Set in Miami, a local street artist is wrongfully gunned down by police. As told through the lens of a successful painter, this community faces injustice and rapid gentrification. They learn what it means to fight for your home.
The cast includes Gheremi Clay, Kevin Corpuz, Robert Crenshaw, Evann De-Bose, Riley Dunn, William Humphrey, Omega Jones, Tim Kaniecki, Alicia Revé Like, Brittany Losh, Samantha Madison, Gabby McNabb, Carly Niehaus, Janine Norman and David Zimmerman.
Healy directs, with Bradley Rohlf assistant director; Christopher Page-Sanders choreographer and Carly Uding costume design.Tieliere Cheatem contributed the artwork. On opening night, they will give this portrait away that has been signed by the cast and the crew. Tickets available at Metrotix.com

For a chance to win two tickets to one performance, enter our poll drawing!Poll Question: What Is Your Favorite Show About Art? “Art”
“Is He Dead?”“Red”“Sunday in the Park with George”“Sight Unseen”
Submit your selection to lynnvenhaus@gmail.com by noon on Wednesday, Aug. 15. Please include your phone number. You will be notified that afternoon if you won, and you can select what performance so that tickets can be arranged. The show is at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. Thanks for participating.
Winner of our two tickets to “Meet Me in St. Louis” was Chuck Brinkley. Thank you, Muny!
“Meet Me in St. Louis” received the most votes as the favorite local movie shot in or made about St. Louis.
***TRIVIA TIME-OUT: Oscar winner Shelley Winters, whose career spanned five decades, was born Shirley Schrift on Aug. 18, 1920, in St. Louis to Jewish immigrant parents. Her father, a tailor, moved the family to Brooklyn when she was a child. She died at age 86 in 2006.
Once nicknamed “The Blonde Bombshell,” she later became known for forceful dramatic roles.For what movie performances did she win her two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress?Answer: “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1959, as a shrill Mrs. Van Daan, and “A Patch of Blue” in 1965, in which she played a slatternly mother cruel to her blind daughter.
Her breakthrough role on stage was as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!” five years into the run, and she was noticed in “A Double Life” starring Oscar winner Ronald Coleman in 1947.But after a dissatisfying number of movie roles, she finally got the role of her lifetime in “A Place in the Sun” with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor.
Some of her other big movies were “A Night of the Hunter” in 1955 and “The Poseidon Adventure” in 1972. Earlier, she had returned to studying at the Actors Studio and became a big advocate of the Lee Strasberg method.
A lifelong progressive Democrat and outspoken on feminist issues, she became quite a raconteur on talk shows during the 1970s and ‘80s. Her two tell-all autobiographies created quite a stir, as she had some high-profile leading-men dalliances.
Fun fact: She roomed with Marilyn Monroe when they were just starting out in Hollywood.
Happy Birthday, Shelley! (She would have been 98 Monday).Photo at right: Marilyn Monroe, Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters.
***ICYMI: A movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning “In the Heights” is planned for summer release 2020. Jon M. Chu, who helmed the new romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” will direct.Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats” will be made into a movie, and production is to start in November. Stars signed so far are Tony winners James Corden and Ian McKellen, along with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Grammy winner Taylor Swift.
***WORD/DOWN MEMORY LANE: “Would you shut your phones off for Christ sakes?” – Stanley Tucci, during the Aug. 14, 2002, performance of “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway. An audience member’s cell phone kept ringing. Calls for a ban on cell phones at NYC’s theatres grew louder, and a law was put into effect in 2003.
***Have any tidbits for this people column? Contact Managing Editor Lynn Venhaus – lynnvenhaus@gmail.com
.All photos from archives or submitted. Featured image is of St. Louis native Shelley Winters.