Tarlton Corp. Begin Muny Renovations

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Marks the first phase of capital improvements to the iconic outdoor musical theater 

Tarlton Corp., a St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, is serving as construction manager for renovations to The Muny, America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater.

Tarlton, which has been providing preconstruction services, has begun the first phase of construction now that The Muny’s centennial summer season has concluded. In May, The Muny launched its first-ever public fundraising effort, “Second Century Capital Campaign,” to raise $100 million for capital improvements and ongoing maintenance of its 11.5-acre campus in Forest Park.

The scope of work includes rebuilding and revamping The Muny’s century-old stage to address structural needs and provide capabilities for modern stage technologies. A new revolving platform to move sets and actors more efficiently during productions 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 overhead light bridge of structural steel with an integrated walkway will replace the current cable light bridge system and provide infinite capabilities for lighting configurations. The Muny’s current lighting system also will be enhanced by all new LED lighting. Other improvements include additional LED screens for digital projections, which create unlimited color variations on and around the stage.

The Muny’s stage will undergo dramatic design changes. Two architectural shell-shaped towers constructed of steel, concrete, concrete masonry units and drywall will frame each side and conceal an array of electronics and sound equipment. Air ducts in the new towers will distribute air more evenly throughout the theater. At the close of The Muny’s 2019 season, a façade of durable glass fiber reinforced concrete panels will be installed. These panels are designed to reflect lighting and produce a wide spectrum of color.

In addition, a new, expanded climate-controlled orchestra pit situated under The Muny’s stage will accommodate musicians, who still will remain visible to Muny-goers, but in a protected environment more conducive for delicate musical instruments sensitive to humidity and temperature fluctuations.

The team will construct a full basement, new electrical and mechanical systems, new elevators, restrooms, locker rooms and general storage spaces.

“The renovations have been in the planning stages for years,” said Dennis Reagan, president and chief executive officer.  “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.”

The Tarlton team includes Joe Scarfino, project director; Cameron Denison, senior project manager; Travis Aly, senior project engineer; Chad Hartman and Matt Grill, project superintendents; and Cindy Cerentano, cost engineer. The project architect is H3 architects in New York City.

“We are honored to be a part of this exciting renovation and continue our history in working with The Muny, an iconic cultural institution and summer favorite in St. Louis,” said Tarlton President Tracy Hart.

Tarlton has completed a host of renovation projects for The Muny over the last 20 years. Its work for the long-time Forest Park institution ranges from the installation of giant cooling fans to amphitheater, restroom and concession stand renovations. In addition, Tarlton has completed numerous miscellaneous projects including lighting work, plaza renovations, sidewalk repairs and handrail upgrades.

“The Muny” is the nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater. The popular amphitheater seats 11,000 people with approximately 1,500 free seats available. The Muny produces all of its musicals, offering seven productions that run seasonally from mid-June to mid-August. It is the largest outdoor theater to host Broadway-style musical theater and has a history of hosting top performers from theater, TV, film and stage. 

In business since 1946, Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that completes projects for wide-ranging clients in the commercial, life sciences, health care, institutional, power and industrial markets, also providing special expertise in concrete construction and restoration as well as hydro excavation and industrial vacuum services.

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