Closing night August 15, 2007
|Address||1 Theatre Drive in Forest Park
St. Louis, MO 63112
|City||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Owned by||Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (lease from city of St. Louis)|
|Opened||June 5, 1917 (first performance in theatre)
June 16, 1919 (first performance via the Municipal Theatre Association)
The Muny, short for The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, is an outdoor musical amphitheatre, located in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri. The theater seats 11,000 people with approximately 1,500 free seats in the last nine rows that are available on a first come, first served basis. The Muny has completed its 95th annual summer season for 2013. The Muny seasons run every year from mid-June to mid-August. It is run by a not-for-profit organization. The current president and chief executive is Dennis M. Reagan. The current executive producer is Mike Isaacson.
History of The Muny
In 1914, Luther Ely Smith began staging pageant-Masques on Art Hill in Forest Park. In 1916, a grassy area between two oak trees on the present site of The Muny was chosen for a production of As You Like It produced by Margaret Anglin and starring Sydney Greenstreet with a local cast of "1,000 St. Louis folk dancers and folk singers."
Soon after, the Convention Board of the St. Louis Advertising Club was looking for an entertainment feature for its thirteenth annual convention, which was to take place June 3, 1917. Mayor Henry Kiel, attorney Guy Golterman, and Parks Commissioner Nelson Cunliff stepped in and, in forty-nine days (not counting seven lost to rain), created the first municipally owned outdoor theatre in the United States. On June 5, 1917, the opera Aida was presented on what would become the Muny stage.
In 1919, the new theatre received a name: The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis, or "The Muny" for short. The first show under the Muny banner was Robin Hood, which opened on June 16, 1919, and featured Mayor Kiel as King Richard.
In 1930, the stage was equipped with a turntable for performance purposes. It was reconstructed in 1997 because of dilapidation. In 1994, The Muny's Board of Directors founded the Muny Kids, a select group of performers from the ages of 7 to 13 who would travel around St. Louis performing, and in the summer would give preview shows prior to the production. In 1998, the Muny Teens group was formed for the same purpose, featuring teen performers from the ages of 14 to 18.
(in alphabetical order)
- The Addams Family
- Billy Elliot the Musical
- Hello, Dolly!
- The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess
- Seussical the Musical
- Monty Python's Spamalot June 17-23
- Shrek the Musical June 24-June 30
- Nunsense Muny Style July 1-7
- South Pacific July 8-14
- Les Misérables July 15-21
- Mary Poppins July 25-August 2
- West Side Story August 5-11
- Thoroughly Modern Millie
- The Muny production of Disney’s Aladdin
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat
- Pirates! (or, Gilbert & Sullivan Plunder’d)
- The King and I
- "Legally Blonde" • June 20-26
- "Kiss Me, Kate" • June 27-July 3
- "The Little Mermaid" • July 6-14
- "Singin' in the Rain" • July 18-24
- "Little Shop of Horrors" • July 25-31
- "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" • Aug. 1-7
- "Bye Bye Birdie" • Aug. 8-14
A Muny production
The Muny produces all of its musicals (typically seven) in the season and operates only in the summer. During the winter, a full-time staff of less than twenty prepare for the approaching summer season. During the season itself, the summer staff expands to include more than 500 people in various positions. All shows are rehearsed within the course of eleven days, with a tech rehearsal being held from midnight to five o'clock on the Sunday morning before the show. Shows run from Monday to Sunday, although there have been exceptions to this, particularly in recent years where each season has had at least one production that enjoys an extended run of nine to eleven performances.
Comparison to other outdoor theatres
The Muny website claims it is the "nation's oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre." There are numerous amphitheatres/outdoor theatres that have a larger capacity area, however, The Muny houses the largest number of seats. There is no lawn seating inside The Muny. In addition, The Muny is the largest to host only Broadway-style musical theatre.
For a list of other amphitheatres see: List of contemporary amphitheatres.
Celebrities at The Muny
Since its beginning, The Muny has featured hundreds of big names in theatre, television and film on its stage, drawing inevitably huge crowds.
A history of the celebrities that have performed at The Muny, including a cast listing, can be found on The Muny's website at muny.org
During the third to last production of each summer season, survey forms are handed out to audience members. On this survey, audience members are asked to select their top seven choices from a long list of show titles. The most popular selections from this first survey are printed on a second survey, then handed out during the final production of the season. Audience members then choose their top seven choices from this shorter list. The choices change each year, depending on what titles are available and what shows have not been produced for a number of years. The survey results contribute to (though are just one of many determining factors in deciding) show choices for upcoming seasons. The Muny has chiefly operated on a five-year cycle, in which a title cannot be produced again until five seasons have passed. Over the past two decades, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, My Fair Lady, 42nd Street, West Side Story and The Wizard of Oz have been the most popular titles, each receiving four productions since 1990. The 2012 Muny season was announced in October 2011, a significant shift from the typical Muny practice of officially announcing the upcoming summer season in the preceding January or February of the same year.
The Muny Repertory
For a complete listing of all productions since the first season in 1919, view The Muny Repertory.
- The Muny "Sound of Music" program, 2005
- The Muny "King and I" program, 2006
- Luther Ely Smith: Founder of a Memorial - nps.gov - Retrieve January 12, 2008
- "Our Historic Theatre", Muny, Retrieved January 12, 2008
- Bush O'Donnell Capital Partners, LLC: Principals: William H.T. (Bucky) Bush
- "The Muny Announces 2012 Season." http://www.muny.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=858:2011-10-08-05-06-09&catid=25:muny-news&Itemid=270
- "The 2011 Muny season." http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/the-muny-season/article_850f8695-304a-5805-b578-703de9c743a1.html
- The Muny