The Incorporation And First Season
In November of 1918, Mayor Kiel and other prominent St. Louisans met to discuss the future of the crudely-constructed open-air theatre which had been erected for the Ad Club's presentation of AIDA. Realizing the city's love of theatre and music, the group came to a decision that changed the cultural course of St. Louis...they decided to incorporate the endeavor and The Muny was born!
In March, plans were made to present six operas, with the season to begin on June 16, just a bit over four months away. In April, St. Louisans voted on the repertory, and from those ballots the season was chosen.
Things began to move quickly; Stars were engaged from New York, musicians were auditioned and choruses were assembled.
Ticket prices were set at 25 cents to a top price of one dollar, and 1,620 of the 9,000 seats were set aside as free, a tradition that continues to this day.
The theatre was treated to a face-lift, and on June 10, 1919, the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (known by today's audiences simply as "The Muny") gained official status with a pro forma decree of incorporation.
Six days later the curtain rose on ROBIN HOOD, with a full house and Mayor Kiel himself proudly appearing in the production as King Richard!