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100 Muny seasons to take center stage at Missouri History Museum

Curator Sharon Smith notes that roughly 55 million people have attended shows at the Muny in Forest Park over the course of the outdoor theater’s 99 seasons thus far.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

As the Muny marks its centennial season of outdoor musical theater, another Forest Park mainstay is also celebrating the milestone – with “Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage.” That show opens Saturday at the Missouri History Museum.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh offered listeners a sneak peek at the new exhibit, which explores the Muny from many different perspectives. Joining him for the discussion was curator Sharon Smith.

Smith said it was in 2015 that museum staff first began planning the exhibit focused on the history of the Muny. The oldest and largest continually operating outdoor theater in the U.S., the destination has drawn roughly 55 million people to shows in Forest Park over the past 99 years.

The exhibit aims to take visitors back in time and also backstage to explore “all of the artistry” that has infused the Muny’s productions. Museum visitors can even see what it’s like to participate in a chorus line.

“You get to do a dance step … well, you try to do a dance step,” Smith explained. “You learn a dance step with the resident choreographer, Michael Baxter. And then we also talk about the [Muny’s] seating and how that looks from our perspective as an audience and the fact that they offer so many free seats every single night.”

Along with a variety of interactive elements, many recognizable and beloved props from Muny shows also await exhibit-goers.

“Think about Tevye’s cart in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ or the deathbed from 'The King and I’ … we have Cinderella’s carriage – those things just bring [the memories] back,” Smith said.

Related Event

What: Muny Memories: 100 Seasons Onstage exhibit
When: June 9, 2018, to June 2, 2019
Where: Missouri History Museum (5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63112)

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Evie is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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