The Muny, one of Forest Park’s not-so-hidden gems, kicked off its 104th season this month. As the largest outdoor theater in the country, summers are a bit more magical when you spend an evening or two soaking in the sights and sounds of Broadway right here in St. Louis.
Here is the line-up for the
2022 summer season:
June 13 – 19
July 16 – 22
July 25 – 31
August 3 – 9
August 12 – 18
Tickets are easy to come by for Muny shows. You can get them on their website and pick them up at the box office in front of the theater. The theater itself seats over 11,000 guests, and each and every night, over 1400 tickets are set aside as “free seats” in the last nine rows of the theater.
To claim free seats, just get there early! Gates open at the back of the theater in Lichtenstein Plaza at 7 pm, and tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis. I recommend coming around 6 pm or earlier to get a spot in line!
When waiting for free seats, bring a blanket and picnic dinner! People often use the time in line to enjoy a picnic meal.
Other tickets vary in price from $18 – $115 each. Tickets are required for all ages. Groups of 15 or more can also take a guided backstage tour before the show. Reserve these in advance!
Food and Merchandise
Waiting in line for free seats isn’t the only place to picnic! Picnic tables are scattered around outside the theater, and there are plenty of open grassy spots to spread a blanket. The Muny does serve concessions and offers more substantial food at Cafe One and The Culver Pavilion. **Rumor has it, the fruit and cheese plate at Cafe One is a must try!**
When bringing kids to a show, pack lots of snacks and drinks in a soft cooler! You are allowed to bring in food. If you do visit the concession stands, the soft pretzel, frozen lemonade, and the ultimate Rocky Mountain cone are well worth the wait in line!
Here are guidelines for bringing food and drink into the theater:
- Outside food and drink are permitted.
- Must use soft-sided coolers (and must be small enough to tuck under your seat).
- No glass containers or aluminum cans are allowed.
The concession stand on the East side of the Muny sells T-shirts for each show and general Muny merchandise.
We all know how unpredictable St. Louis weather can be. The Muny installed giant fans a while back, and they do a fabulous job circulating the air and keeping it cooler. If you have quiet, portable mini fans, feel free to bring them as well to help cool you down.
In the event of rain, they try to stick to a “the show must go on!” mentality. In heavier rain, there may be a rain delay, and the covered walkways provide a place for people to seek shelter. Ushers quickly wipe down the seats, and the stage is dried off as soon as the rain stops.
In rare instances, a severe storm may call off a show. When that happens, tickets are refunded or reissued for another night.
The Muny always has at least one kid-centered production, and this year, it’s Mary Poppins. Many of their other shows are family-friendly as well! Be sure to keep your eye out for photo op spots, such as by the gazebo, and they always have a backdrop specifically made for each show on the East side by the concession stand and restrooms.
If you bring an umbrella stroller, you can usually store them folded up under your seat during the show. Bigger strollers are welcome as well, just be sure to check them in with an usher who will store them off to the side of the stage for you.
Parking and Accessibility
Parking is free! There is a large lot at the top, in back of the theater. Be patient after the show, as the lot is slow to empty out. There is also plenty of free street parking surrounding the theater and in the Visitor’s Center lot across from The Muny.
The Muny does offer the Lower East Lot for disabled patrons. For anyone with limited mobility who does not qualify for a handicap tag, the lot may be used as a drop-off and pick-up point.
For a link to parking information and an overall map of the grounds, click HERE.
One of the best parts about the Muny is its accessibility for all theater lovers. The shows themselves showcase professional cast members who travel from all over to spend part of their summer performing in Forest Park. In addition, the Muny reaches out to local area talent to perform all summer long! Local kids and teens fill the stage during each show as ensemble cast members.
The Muny also holds auditions each winter and casts the most talented STL area kids and teens to join their touring troupes! Strong singing and dance talent are required. The Muny Kids and Muny Teens regularly perform on the West Platform before some of the shows, and it’s a great way to get you in a musical mood! They also act as ambassadors to the Muny and perform throughout the community.
Get to the Muny early enough to get a good parking spot, and you’ll have plenty of time to soak in all of the pre-show entertainment options! You can always catch a pre-show from 6:45 – 8 pm. The pre-shows often highlight local community organizations, musicians, and theater troupes. Any night that you’re heading to a show, check and see if the Muny Kids or Muny Teens will be putting on a pre-show performance and head to watch them at 7 pm!
Meet the Cast
Did you know that you can wait at the backstage gate after any show and meet the cast as they exit? The Muny brings in some serious talent— make the evening more memorable by having some of the cast sign your program!
I guarantee that making the Muny part of your family summers will create magical memories for all. Share your favorite Muny memories (and shows!) in the comments!