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Celebrating 100 years of meeting at The Muny in Forest Park

Ruth Urban with Tom Ewell and Ethel Levey in The Muny’s 1941 world premiere of “New Orleans.”

The Broadway musical “RENT” made it musically known that a year can be measured in 525,600 minutes in the song “Seasons of Love.” To figure out how many seasons of entertainment The Muny has brought to St. Louis audiences, multiply that by 100.

“The fact is no other city in the country or the world has a Muny,” declared Artistic Director and Executive Producer Mike Isaacson.

Isaacson will help ring in the institution’s 100th birthday this season, along with Muny staff and patrons, some of which have held seats for generations.

“For a lot of people, it’s tradition,” Kwofe Coleman, director of marketing and communications, said of families passing season tickets down from one generation to the next.

Coleman has worked at The Muny for 20 seasons, starting at age 16 as an usher.

“What’s unique about The Muny is that there are multiple generations represented in the audience. If you look at our most coveted seats, those are maybe six or seven generations of families that have held those seats,” Coleman said. “It’s a source of pride for people in St. Louis, and I think it should be.”

In honor of The Muny’s 100th birthday, the theater is holding a variety of celebrations – including a gala, a special show, a free birthday party and a museum exhibit – that allow the people of St. Louis to look back at The Muny’s achievements while also looking forward into its future.

“You can’t celebrate The Muny without celebrating St. Louis,” Isaacson said. “A theater is ultimately made up of its audience and its people, so we need to celebrate that idea.”

Multiple celebrations are planned for the St. Louis community, including the already sold-out Centennial Gala on May 18. That same evening, a special one-night show titled “An Evening with the Stars” will be co-hosted by Tony and Grammy Award-winning artist Heather Headley and Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated artist Matthew Morrison. Tickets will be available to non-subscribers beginning May 7.

“On that night, we’re also going to make an announcement that will be historic,” Isaacson said. “We’re not just celebrating our history, we’re going to step into the next 100 years. That’s all I can say.”

On May 20, The Muny will kick off its 100th Birthday Bash with a family-friendly event on the theater’s historic campus. Amenities will include food trucks, live entertainment, interactive behind-the-scenes demonstrations and themed kids’ activities.

In addition, the Muny Memories exhibit at The Missouri History Museum will provide an in-depth exploration of over 100 years of audition materials, backstage secrets and more. The exhibit opens June 9.

“We just want for the people who have supported us for 100 years to be able to come back and have a piece of the magic,” Coleman said. “And there will be cake, too, of course!”

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