At A Glance
Location: 1 Theatre Dr, St. Louis, MO, 63112
Hours: Varies by Event
Price: $18 to $115 per seat
The Muny, or St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre is an amphitheater in St. Louis, Missouri. It can seat 11,000 people, with about 1,500 of these being offered for free on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Muny is a seasonal venue that operates from the middle of June through the middle of August each year.
Luther Ely Smith began staging pageant masques in 1914 on Art Hill in Forest Park. Then, in 1916, a grassy area between two oak trees was chosen as the spot for a production of As You Like It. The show was produced by Margaret Anglin and starred Sydney Greenstreet alongside about 1,000 local St. Louis folk singers and dancers. The audience would view the show from portable chairs perched atop a gravel floor.
Not long after, the Convention Board of the St. Louis Advertising Club began searching for an entertainment feature for its 13th annual convention, which was scheduled for June 3, 1917. At some point, Mayor Henry Kiel and a few other city officials stepped in and within just 49 days, the first municipally owned outdoor theatre was created in the United States. Opening night was June 5, 1917, in which the opera Aida was performed on what would soon become The Muny stage.
The Muny’s First Show
In 1919, officials gave the theatre a new name: The St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre, or simply “The Muny.” The first show presented at the all-new theatre was Robin Hood, which opened in June 1919 and starred Mayor Kiel as King Richard. Until 1991 when the Riverport Amphitheater was opened, it used to host concerts as well.
By opening night in 1921, the facility featured a brand new stage that was permanent and made from concrete to prevent water damage from floods. In 1922, other additions were constructed such as a new pergola, 500 parking spots, comfort stations, and 750 opera seats. The following year, in 1923, an additional stage was added, as were 1,800 seats and a sound amplifier.
The next additions came in 1930 when a turntable was added for performances. The Muny remained this way until 1997 when it was reconstructed due to dilapidation.
What to Expect at The Muny
The Muny usually produces seven shows per summer. During the winter there is a full-time staff of just under 20 people who take care of the building and prepare it for the next season.
During the season itself, the staff includes over 500 persons who fill various positions. Each show is rehearsed and ready to go in about 11 days. Here you can expect to catch everything from Broadway musicals to concerts from mainstream musical artists and more.
The Muny is short for St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre.
Ticket costs for the Muny vary depending on the seating area and show. In general, tickets begin at $18 and go up to $115.
The Muny was built as a way to showcase music and enrich people’s lives through musical theater, making it accessible for all.
Yes! The Muny still reserves about 1,400 seats per show for which they offer the tickets to the general public free of charge. Just be sure to secure them early, as you would imagine, they go quickly!
The Muny’s show lineup for 2022 includes shows such as Legally Blonde, The Color Purple, Camelot, Chicago, Mary Poppins, and more.