THE MUNI STORY
More Than 50 Years of Muni Magic
Originally conceived on April 21, 1950, as a not-for-profit theatrical organization, the Springfield Municipal Opera Association transformed a 55-acre wheat field into an outdoor amphitheater. On June 17, 1950, thousands of people viewed the opening night performance of our first production, The Merry Widow.
The Muni flourished until a series of setbacks in the mid-1950s and a major fire in 1963 destroyed part of the facilities. A second fire the following year destroyed what was left.
With hopes for a rebirth, a test production of Bye Bye Birdie was staged in Douglas Park in 1964. The Springfield community responded with such enthusiasm that the Muni was able to rebuild its facility and return to the lake site theater in 1965. That year, patrons showed their support of the Muni when they saw The Music Man and South Pacific.
In 1967, the Muni produced three shows: Brigadoon, Guys and Dolls and Camelot, and attendance grew. The Muni bravely staged its first four-production season in 1972, showcasing You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, 1776, Most Happy Fella and The Sound of Music. Again, attendance grew.
Then in the summer of 2006, the Muni welcomed its one-millionth patron with a special celebration during the run of Aida
The Muni continues to produce four shows a season, and each summer the Muni audience continues to grow. With support from our sponsors, enthusiastic audiences, and a dedicated and talented corps of volunteers onstage and backstage, the Muni has become one of the largest community theaters in the Midwest. We believe that we are the largest organization of our type in the country that is completely self-supporting, dependent on neither grants, nor tax dollars.
For more than 60 years, we have entertained thousands of people each summer with the best in musical theatre. The Muni is a unique jewel in Springfield's landscape – a beautiful site tucked away at the lake that offers families and friends a venue to spend time together, volunteer, perform, direct and enjoy quality entertainment.
Each year, great thought and consideration are given to developing the season. It is our goal not only to provide you with shows that are familiar but also new productions. We are proud to be part of this community and grateful for your continued support.