Why I Serve – The Muny

by Michael Torney, J.D., CFP®, LL.M.

I remember the first time I saw a show on Broadway.  Les Misérables and I was a kid.  I was hooked.  The energy from the performers, the full house, the vocal/acting/dancing talent,  the music!  I love the theatre.  It provides an experience you can’t get elsewhere – there’s an escape into a world, temporarily, that only exists for the audience gathered.  Movies can do this, but they don’t have the same realism.  Go to Hamilton and watch the movie – there’s a difference.

There’s usually a part of the show, different for everyone, that moves you.  Something so relatable to you that it wells you up with emotion.  Those moments are some of the best parts of a show.  Afterward, listening to the songs again; for many it’s a song that relates to something happening in their own lives.

There’s a connection you have to the performers and with the folks around you, even though they are strangers.  You’re sharing an experience together.  Those memories created will last as long as you wish.

When I moved to St. Louis, I started seeing shows at the Muny. The Muny, for those unaware, is a large outdoor theatre which puts on seven musicals per season.  It’s a very special place among theatres.  First, it’s outside.  But it doesn’t have the outdoor amphitheater feel.  It feels very much like a NYC theatre, larger of course, without a ceiling.  The stage has two wonderfully magnificent trees (yes, that’s true) that complement each performance.  The CEO is at each performance, greeting patrons as they walk by.  The actors come from all over the country, with Broadway stars frequently gracing the Muny stage.  The effort that goes into a Muny production is something special.  This is not a traveling cast, stopping by in St. Louis with a set all prepared.  Each performance has a new cast, a set created, new choreography, new magic.

Finally, there’s Muny moments.  For those who have been, you know.  It’s a liberty taken with the show, the cast, etc. that only happens at the Muny.  And yet, it fits so easily into the show.  The effort behind the scenes to do make the change fit is no small task.  Maybe it’s a small thing, like in Joseph where the brothers scoop ice cream at Ted Drewes.  Or St. Louis Cardinal great Ozzie Smith playing the Wizard of Oz and stating “I am the mighty wizard of Oz.  But folks around here just call me Ozzie.”

I’m so excited for this season of the Muny and to see how the Muny team brings the shows to life with their own spirit.  I hope you’ll join for a show.  Or all seven.


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