Following nearly $80 million in renovations and upgrades, the building is now just days away from its grand re-opening and has been garnering significant attention from local media. Much of that coverage has been understandably focused on a production calendar that features big name rock acts, Broadway productions and world-famous comedians. But for local parents, the Peabody also promises to be one of the region's best bets for family-friendly entertainment.
"Shows that appeal to the whole family are going to be a very important part of our calendar," said Megan Little, a spokesperson for the Peabody. "We want this to be the kind of venue where parents can bring their kids and enjoy a show together."
Currently scheduled family shows include the Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" (Nov. 30 and Dec. 1), a musical production of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (Dec. 7-18) and "Sesame Street Live: 'Elmo Makes Music'" (Jan. 19-22, 2012). According to Little, a number of family-friendly Broadway productions also will be announced in the coming weeks.
Families who have enjoyed previous Sesame Street Live productions at the Scottrade Center are sure to appreciate the new venue, Little said. "This kind of show is certainly better suited to a theatre than an arena, so I think audiences will be really pleased with the venue," she said.
The same is true for all productions at the 3,100-seat Peabody, she said. "The opera house was built for live performances, which is not the case with many of the other venues in town. The sightlines and acoustics are truly incredible at the Peabody," she said. "It's less than 200 feet from the tip of the stage to the last row of the mezzanine level, so there's truly not a bad seat in the house."
Visitors who were familiar with the venue from its earlier incarnation as the Kiel Opera House will be impressed by how faithfully the renovations reflect the original look and feel of the venue. Although the seats and carpeting have been replaced and ambient lighting upgraded, the venue looks much as it did a half century ago. The bulk of renovations have been in the form of behind-the-scenes improvements, such as enhancements to loading docks and upgrades to HVAC systems.
"This is a timeless building," Little said. "It was simply too beautiful to change."
There have been a couple of upgrades that are sure to please families. Changing tables have been added to all of the facility's restrooms and a dedicated family restroom has been installed.
For more information on the Peabody and its upcoming schedule visit www.peabodyoperahouse.com.
Pictured: Workers put the final touches on the Peabody in September. Photos by Jeffrey Konkel.