Muny Magic – An evening with Beth Leavel

by | Jan 17, 2016 | Shahnaz Blog (Previously They Throw Rocks)

This blog was pending from November…so I think I’ll post this one first…

Muny has become a part of my life.  I remember the first time a few years ago.  One of my favorite shows as a child, Sound of Music was playing.  I decided to take my 3 nieces and I still remember that we walked along one of the fountains in Forest Park and my nieces were singing, “so long, farewell” as we were all walking towards the Island garden gazebo, in front of the Muny, it felt magical. That was it.  I was hooked and the Muny has become a part of my life since.  That day we had caramel popcorn.  These days when I go, I take strawberries and cucumbers.  It has all become a part of me.  If you follow my blog, you would have read about my first time watching Oklahoma, or my luck with My Fair Lady this year (I did write about it, didn’t I?).  What I have not talked about are the memories that the Muny have created for me.  Every year, as a subscriber now, I take a different person to each show.  Although I must admit that my husband has gotten more shows in one season, just because, but this post is about something more than that.

When I talk about memories, what am I talking about?  I’m talking about eating strawberries and cucumbers with my cousin.  Of course, my nieces first Muny.  I still remember watching Chicago for the first time with a dental friend of mine.  The image of the two of us in an appalling giggle when the song “they had it coming” is forever etched in my brain.  Last year, my good friend bought me ice-cream and introduced me to a new tradition.  The Muny means so much.  Getting there early and watching the Muny kids or the Muny teens was always a fun time.  I remember a few years ago, I got together with 2 of my cousins, my aunt, family friends and we just picnicked before the show.  We ate and then we played a card game and then we watched Shrek.  The next year, it was my husband, family friends and my mom watching Tarzan.  Still remember that opening scene.  Did they have real chimpanzees on the stage?  How?  When you figure the answer, you also figure that the Magic of the Muny had just blown you a kiss.

Is it an obsession?  I can’t get enough?  Or is it the memories that I think about – the people I go with. Is it the power of the shows and the music?  Is it myself talking in the office about what shows have been selected and who I’m going with?  Is it about receiving my subscription notice?  I don’t know.  Every part of it excites me.  It’s a fabulous feeling.  This year, like every year, I waited like a child in anticipation of Santa Claus, for the announcement of the next season.

The Muny was doing something different this year, however.  They were having a show.  “Muny Magic” where they were going to announce the Muny Season.  Myself and all at the audience (with the exception of the Muny board) would be the first to hear what 2016 will bring.  Oh!  What a beautiful feeling!  Guess who got tickets?  I cannot begin to tell you what it felt like being there when Mike Isaacson announced one show at a time…  Wizard of Oz 42nd StreetMusic ManYoung Frankenstein….Mamma MiaFiddler on the RoofAida.

There was history and a briefing about each show.  I have watched Mamma Mia live several times at the Fox.  This will be their Muny premiere.  I’ve never seen Aida but have always wanted to and have always voted for that show every year.  So this year’s line up was great.  So I’m with the audience and am having a wonderful time.  Then it hits me.  I wasn’t just there only for the announcement of the shows, there was also going to be a live musical performance.  So, after Mike Issacson left, Beth Leavel took the stage.
She was the voice in Hello Dolly.  What a voice!  I was there enjoying a wonderful evening of music.  My husband who’s a trained singer himself said to me, “what a set of pipes!” and then I remembered a concert in LA that I had been to a month ago.  Yes, that blog is coming too, but for now, I’ll just say I don’t like loud head banging screaming music.  Maybe it’s a generational thing, but here I am and, she’s singing all these songs that I’ve never heard and yet, I’m having a marvelous time.  When she belts out the song “don’t let the parade pass you by”, the O’Fallon marching band came in on both sides of the isle, and that was it!  I needed no more affirmation.  I thought about the Concert in LA and this cozy evening.  Ya.  No comparison.  Every incident in ones life defines you.  That concert defined who I was not.  This one, defined who I was.

Yes, I’ll work on my blog posts of my LA trip.  The concert one is a draft.  The trip blog has not been written yet.  So, hang tight.  More to come… eventually…



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