LASERIUM® Returns to the James S. McDonnell Planetarium

Editors' Note Update: LASERIUM has wrapped up its year-long run at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium as of 2/17/14. Please keep checking back on our website for more exciting news about the Saint Louis Science Center.

April 1, 2013

We’re excited to share our hardest kept secret – LASERIUM® is returning to the Science Center!

As part of the Planetarium’s 50th Anniversary in 2013, this cosmic laser concert will once again light up the Planetarium’s dome with a symphony of vibrant laser-light set to music. The original LASERIUM show, performed by a live master Laserist, is set to kick-off its return on April 5 at our First Fridays: Astronauts and Aliens event.

Blending genres of music from classical to classic rock, from Johann Strauss to Pink Floyd, LASERIUM is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.   We can’t wait to share this unique show with our visitors, and we hope you can join us to see this blast from the Planetarium’s past.

A History of LASERIUM®

LASERIUM at James S. McDonnell PlanetariumThe Planetarium’s anniversary year is the perfect moment to bring back one of the most memorable programs the building has ever hosted. LASERIUM originally rocked the Planetarium from 1975 through 1983, and many of our visitors and staff still remember their experiences taking in this explosion of sound and colors under our dome of stars. Whether it was for first dates or friends’ nights out, LASERIUM was one of THE places to be in St. Louis in the late 70s and early 80s. 

Created in the 1960s and 70s by Ivan Dryer, LASERIUM first premiered at the Griffith Observatory and Planetarium in Los Angeles on November 19, 1973 – making 2013 LASERIUM’s 40th Anniversary. The show began as an experiment – no one had ever done anything like this before Dryer – and this experiment went on to change the planetarium industry.  At a time when planetarium’s were seeing decreasing attendance (and, sometimes, even closing), LASERIUM drew crowds that packed planetariums, including ours, for years.

Through LASERIUM’s 40 years, the show has expanded across the United States and abroad.  It has now been experienced by over 20 million people and consists of a catalog of more than 45 shows. As LASERIUM continues to relaunch at different venues, new shows and experiences are being developed.

How Did ‘The Return of LASERIUM®’ Happen at Our Planetarium?

LASERIUM is returning to St. Louis thanks to Brian Wirthlin of Photon Alchemy, LLC and John Lakey, Director of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium.  Both Brian and John experienced the original LASERIUM while growing up in St. Louis.  Their memories of this experience sparked their passion to bring the show back for our visitors to enjoy.

Brian got his first taste of LASERIUM during high school while he worked at the McDonnell Planetarium bookstore.  Four years after attending the show’s premiere, he became the Chief Technician at the Planetarium and went on to become the youngest Laserist ever hired by Laser images, Inc. Brian performed as a main Laserist in Chicago and Washington D.C. before becoming Director of Production, Special Projects and Field Service at the company.

The idea to bring LASERIUM back to the Planetarium started to take shape in 2004 when Brian began exploring whether the return of LASERIUM was even possible.  The first big obstacle he had to overcome was to find an original show tape that hadn’t been destroyed, which, thankfully, he did.  Since then, Brian and John slowly brought together all the pieces needed to relaunch LASERIUM.

When Can You See LASERIUM

During April, the Planetarium’s anniversary month, you can catch LASERIUM on Thursday (at 7 and 8:30pm) and Friday (at 7, 8:30 and 10pm) nights*.  Whether this is your chance to relive your memories from 1975 or your first opportunity to take in the show, bring your friends and family and make LASERIUM a must-do event in 2013.

Join us for First Friday: Astronauts and Aliens on April 5 to be one of the first to experience LASERIUM during its return (LASERIUM show times at 8:30 and 10pm).  This event, designed to celebrate the 50 years of memories created at the Planetarium, is the perfect time to share LASERIUM with new generations of visitors and begin creating memories for the Planetariums’ next 50 years.

*Schedule subject to change. There is no 10pm LASERIUM show on Friday, April 19. For current LASERIUM show times, call Reservations at 314.289.4400 or visit the LASERIUM page on our website.

So there you have it. LASERIUM returns to the James S. McDonnell Planetarium! Will you be taking in a laser show this April? Would you like us to extend the show schedule through summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

UPDATE: LASERIUM has been extended through the summer! Visit the LASERIUM page to view the schedule and learn more about the LIGHT YEARS set list.

Written by Danielle, Education

I used to go to laser shows every weekend. I will definitely be taking family and friends for as long as you have it.
Please extend it into the summer months. April month is just too short.
PLEASE extend into the summer! I just found out about this, and remember seeing laser shows at the Planetarium when I was 5. 27 now, and it would be amazing to watch this now that I understand what's going on!
Please keep it going through the summer! I've already gone twice and want to go again.
We missed it in April, is there any chance it will be back again? I have told my son what great memories I have of going to the show when I was a teenager and wanted him to experience it too.
We will have LASERIUM shows at least all summer long!
Add new comment