I mentioned a couple weeks ago on Facebook how much my kids and I enjoyed a trip to St. Louis, to attend The Muny’s production of The Music Man. Last Saturday, we went again and I have to say, watched the best stage version I had ever seen of Fiddler on the Roof. A Rolla friend asked me about The Muny, as they’d never gone there before, but had heard of it through the years. So, for Rolla-ites, this post is all about The Muny in St. Louis’s Forest Park.
The Muny, which is the nickname for The Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis, is an outdoor theatre in Forest Park, in St. Louis, MO. The theatre began in 1919, though an earlier production of a Shakespearean play in 1916 could be the real beginning of it all, from what I read. That first effort ran into the red, so Mayor Kiel got involved in a door-to-door campaign to St. Louis merchants, selling blocks of tickets for future shows, and The Muny was saved financially. For more about The Muny’s history and ticket information, show information, etc. click on this link.
The Muny brings to St. Louisians Broadway musicals with professional actors and actresses in the lead and secondary roles. St. Louis area thespians and kids who have experience in plays, with singing and dancing, are often cast for the crowd scene parts. The Muny typically announces the Summer Season’s Schedule in March or April. This years shows and their weeks of performances were/are: June 13-22 The Wizard of Oz, June 24-30 42nd Street, July 5-11 The Music Man, July 13-19, Young Frankenstein, July 21-28 Mamma Mia! July 30-Aug. 5 Fiddler on the Roof, Aug. 8-14 Aida(Elton John’s version, not the opera by Verdi.)
My Rolla friend asked how does one get tickets, get to The Muny, and what can one expect? I told her I ordered my tickets for The Music Man from The Muny’s online site, and they use Ticketmaster as the online outlet for ordering tickets for the show(s) you want to see. There are three areas of seats that require a paid ticket. The priciest seats are the closest to the stage. The middle section is not quite as pricey. The last section is the lowest priced tickets, and Ticketmaster does charge a $3 service fee per ticket. One could also drive to The Muny box office and buy the tickets in person, but I don’t know many Rolla-ites willing to do that unless they travel to St. Louis alot each week. I opted to print off my tickets at home, and when we got to The Muny, an usher scanned our tickets near our seating area, and then we claimed our seats. Now, if you don’t want to pay for a seat, there is a section at The Muny known as the Free Seats. Farthest from the stage, you need to grab your picnic supper, water bottles, and get in line around 5:30 pm. At 7:00, the Free Seats are opened up to first come, first serve. Muny shows don’t begin until 8:00 pm. There is a 15 min. intermission, so most Muny shows don’t end until 10:45-11:00 pm, which means a late night drive back to Rolla. Unless, you have good friends who won’t mind housing you overnight.
To get to The Muny, from Rolla, take I-44 east, exit at Hampton, and follow the signs that say to The Zoo, To Forest Park. When you enter Forest Park, you’ll immediately enter on a roundabout, take it to the right, and get on Wells Drive. Follow Wells and you’ll come to another roundabout, and follow it and the signs that point you to The Muny. There is a large parking lot, free parking, for The Muny, that leads you to the Free Seats section. We usually park in this lot. When you leave after the show is over, be very patient, as it takes a lot of time for hundreds of cars to exit this lot, which will add to the late time you return to Rolla, unfortunately.
One can bring soft-sided coolers into The Muny, and especially those sitting in the Free Seats, many bring their evening meals in with them. Purses will be opened and scanned, too. There are giant fans on tall, metal poles, that whirr but sometimes your comfort is just a matter of luck. When we saw The Music Man and recently Fiddler on the Roof, both evenings were cooler, with good breezes blowing. Each show begins with a welcoming announcement, a reminder to turn off your cell phones, and then the National Anthem is played and the US flag is spotlighted. Then the show begins.
“Meet Me at The Muny, The Muny in Forest Park!”, is the summertime jingle our family heard a lot when we lived in Florissant. It would play on the radio and on local tv stations. I miss hearing that jingle, as I don’t hear it as much in Rolla, but if you are a Rolla-ite, and have never been to a Muny performance, consider it for next summer. It’s always a wonderful experience, and one way our family celebrates Summer in Missouri.