On the evening of June 13, the Muny opened for its 98th season. Thanks to the Muny’s Community Access program, the Center was granted tickets to four shows of the 2016 season, with 25 tickets per show for great seats in terrace A — including several wheelchair seats. Consumers from the Center and their families are able to attend free of charge!
Consumers and families made their way to Forest Park for opening night to see The Wizard of Oz, on July 11 for The Music Man and on July 18 for the Muny premier of Young Frankenstein. The Center also has Community Access tickets for the August 1 production of Fiddler on the Roof. Several staff from the Center accompany consumers and families to provide support and assistance.
Robin Stevenson, a consumer and baker’s assistant in the Destination Desserts social enterprise kitchen, attended The Wizard of Oz. Robin had never been to the Muny before and said she didn’t know much about it before going. She said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I wouldn’t have been able to go without Rita [Greenspan] picking me up and taking me.” (Rita Greenspan works for the Center as Transition Services Coordinator.)
Matt Gamewell, who participated in vocational assessment and now is a consumer in the vocational training program, saw The Music Man and Young Frankenstein. Matt is visually impaired, making it a challenge to know what is happening on stage when the actors do not verbalize their actions. Matt was able to get a special listening device so that he could listen to visual descriptions of actions on the stage.
Audio interpretation of performances for the blind and visually impaired is just one of several services that the Muny provides to make the theater accessible for people with disabilities. In addition to wheelchair and mobility accommodations, the Muny has assistive listening devices available for the hearing impaired and, on Community Access nights, the Muny provides sign interpretation of performances for the deaf. The Muny’s inclusive philosophy allows more people to engage with their community and enjoy this St. Louis summertime tradition. The Center has been participating in the Community Access program for many years and we are proud to partner with a St. Louis institution that is inclusive and accommodating.