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The Muny Was Not Originally Built For St. Louisans

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - For more than 90 summers  the Muny Opera has been where St. Louisans gather to enjoy the stars  under the stars.   But at the very beginning the intended audience was not St. Louisans.

 “1917 was the year that the St. Louis advertising club was going to host the national, or worldwide as they called it, advertising club.  The annual convention was here in St. Louis and there were going to be a lot of attendees.  There was a desire to make some sort of mark and leave people with an impression that St. Louis was a wonderful place that did special things.” said Dr. Robert Archibald of the Missouri History Museum.

Since the city had successfully staged a large pageant in Forest Park a few years earlier they decided to take a natural hillside and build a stage at the bottom. It was framed by two oak trees.   The plan  worked so well that in 1919 the Municipal Opera Association Of St. Louis was born or Muny for short.

A place to see old favorites performing old favorites.

“The Muny is in a sense populist.   Their productions are meant to play to people`s sense of nostalgia.  It happens in the evening on summer nights  and you can kind of feel the St. Louis air around you and to know exactly where you are and you are in Forest Park at the Muny and you are listening to something that brings back all kinds of memories and thrills and makes you feel a part of this place and very comfortable at the Muny.” said Dr. Robert Archibald of the Missouri History Museum.

In terms of seating,  the Muny is the largest in the nation. With 11,000 regular seats and 1,500 free seats  making it possible for anyone, regardless of their means, to enjoy the richness of a night at the theater.