The Muny: Accessible and Exceptional Musical Theater Since 1919

 In Culture, Guide

The Municipal Theatre Association—better known as The Muny—has introduced generations of St. Louisans to musical theater. Nearly every night for two months each summer, audiences fill the 11,000-seat amphitheater (1,500 of them free to those who claim them first) in the heart of Forest Park. By The Muny’s own estimates, more than 55 million people have seen its shows, in a tradition that dates back 101 seasons.

Its first production—“Robin Hood” on June 16, 1919—set the precedent for grandeur and pageantry; the Muny’s modern-day creative team and stage crew consistently raise the bar with remarkable sets and music. One of the delights of musical theater is being transported to another time and place, and the 2019 season takes audiences to colonial America, the California gold rush, a storybook castle, a small Southern town, a British factory, gangster-era New York City and a dismal boarding school that unexpectedly proves to be quite an inspiration.

The actors—ranging from talented professionals who travel in from other cities to local youth who navigate the rigorous audition process to become a Muny Kid or Muny Teen—overcome all the usual hurdles of a live production, plus the unique challenge of performing outdoors in the St. Louis summer heat. Their dedication alone is worth a standing ovation at the end of every show.

While you’re in the neighborhood …

Saint Louis Art Museum
The collections of original works from five millennia housed at SLAM range from mummies to paintings and textiles to electronics.

1 Fine Arts Drive

Missouri History Museum
With permanent displays, rotating exhibitions and impressive festivals, the free museum is a powerhouse of local and state information.

5700 Lindell Blvd.

Shakespeare Festival Saint Louis
The outdoor stage in Forest Park’s Shakespeare Glen is synonymous with this arts organization, thanks to its annual summer productions.

6604 Fine Arts Drive

Photography courtesy of Carmen Troesser.

This story originally appeared in Guided: DeMun + Forest Park, available now at these locations and in a digital edition.

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