Arts and Education Council News
Three things to know about The Muny’s Mike Isaacson
2 May, 2019
The inaugural series of Catalyst Conversations wraps May 7 with a discussion with theatre producer Mike Isaacson and host Nicole Hudson, a former New York theatre professional, about Isaacson’s creative work.
Isaacson is artistic director and executive producer of The Muny, St. Louis’s legendary outdoor theatre, now entering its 101st season. Isaacson is also a multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway producer. In addition to his work at The Muny, Isaacson co-headed Fox Theatricals for 20 years with Kristen Caskey.
Ahead of Catalyst Conversations, below is a video we produced about Isaacson when he was honored with Excellence in the Arts at the 2017 St. Louis Arts Awards. Or, check out our top three takeaways below the video.
1. His career as a producer began suddenly.
Isaacson and Kristen Caskey began working together rather abruptly when their supervisors at Fox Theatricals both left right before “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, the musical they were producing, was about to move to Broadway. The owners came to Caskey and Isaacson and asked if they could do it together. They agreed and got to work.
The show went on to win eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. Recent successes include “The Humans” which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016 and “Fun Home” which won five Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2015.
Of their work, Isaacson said, “I think we’re very proud that when you look at the list of what we’ve produced it’s a very eclectic list – it’s not the same thing. I think the core of that is responding to something in a work that is very special.”
2. He brings his Broadway experience to St. Louis.
As part of St. Louis’s Fox Theatricals, Isaacson has produced more than 20 musicals, plays, revivals, national tours and London productions. During Isaacson's 15 years at St. Louis's Fabulous Fox Theatre where he supervised the U.S. Bank Broadway Series he was responsible for bringing more than 100 musicals and plays to our community, and was an active officer and producer in the Independent Presenters Network, a national organization of Broadway producers and presenters.
Actor Ken Page said of Isaacson, “He’s a legitimate bonafide Broadway producer and I think that is reflected in the body of people that work at The Muny. They know that Mike is connected to their world in New York where they return to when they leave The Muny.”
3. Theatre artists want to work with him again and again.
Director Gary Griffin shared that, “Mike is an unusual producer. He really has an incredible combination of understanding the producing side of the business, what the artists need and he has an artist’s eye – it’s a really special combination.” Griffin noted that artists want to come back and work with him and at The Muny.
Griffin added, “You can say to Mike in perfect world I would cast this person and somehow you show up at the first day of rehearsal and [Isaacson] has found that person.”
Hear more from Mike Isaacson and Nicole Hudson at Catalyst Conversations on May 7 in the Arts and Education Council’s Catalyst Innovation Lab, 3547 Olive Street. Tickets are free, but registration is required.