The Muny

Not to be confused with Music Under New York.
The Muny

Closing night August 15, 2007
Address 1 Theatre Drive in Forest Park
St. Louis, MO 63112
St. Louis, Missouri
United States
Coordinates 38°38′24″N 90°16′48″W / 38.6401°N 90.2801°W / 38.6401; -90.2801
Owner Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (lease from city of St. Louis)
Designation Outdoor Theatre
Capacity 11,000[1]
Opened June 5, 1917 (first performance in theatre)
June 16, 1919 (first performance via the Municipal Theatre Association)[2]

The Muny, short for The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, is an outdoor musical amphitheatre located in Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri. The theatre 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.[3] The Muny recently concluded the 98th annual summer season. 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 artistic director & executive producer is Mike Isaacson.

History of The Muny

The Muny in 1923

In 1914, Luther Ely Smith began staging pageant-Masques on Art Hill in Forest Park.[4] 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."[5]

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. Concerts were performed here prior to the opening of Riverfront Amphitheater.

The stage in 1932

In 1930, the stage was equipped with a turntable for performance purposes. It was reconstructed in 1997 due to dilapidation. In 1994, The Muny's Board of Directors founded the Muny Kids, a select group of performers between the ages of 7 to 13 who traveled around St. Louis performing, and in the summer gave preview shows prior to the production. In 1998, the Muny Teens group was formed for the same purpose, featuring teen performers between the ages of 14 to 18.

The Chairman of the Board of the Muny in 2005-2006 was William H. T. Bush (younger brother of former President George H. W. Bush).[6] The current Chairman of the Board is Raymond R. Fournie.

The front of The Muny during the 2009 season.


2016 Season

The Wizard of Oz · June 13–22

42nd Street · June 24–30

The Music Man · July 5–11

Young Frankenstein · July 13–19

Mamma, Mia! · July 21–28

Fiddler on the Roof · July 30 - August 5

Aida · August 8–14

Past Seasons






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 fewer than twenty people prepare for the next 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 two technical rehearsals (one costumed, one not) being held in the two to three days before the show's opening. Shows run from Monday to Sunday, although there have been exceptions to this, particularly in recent years, when each season has had at least one production with an extended run.

Comparison to other outdoor theatres

The Muny website claims it is the "nation's oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre."[8] 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.

The next largest seat capacity theatre in the United States is the San Manuel Amphitheater in California, housing 10,900 seats.

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 who have performed at The Muny, including a cast listing, can be found on The Muny's website at

Future seasons

During one of the last productions 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 choices change each year, depending on which 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. In the past, The Muny chiefly operated on a five-year cycle in which a title could not be produced again until five seasons had 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.


See also


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