The Springfield Muni has been offering plays for over 60 years. This lovely setting along Springfield’s lake entertains over 30,000 each year all through the efforts of volunteers. What began as a 55 acre wheat field was transformed into one of Springfield’s summer iconic entertainment venues.
The Muni idea was conceived on April 21, 1950 according to the website history, “On June 17, 1950, nearly 3,000 people attended the opening night performance of our first production, “The Merry Widow”.
Sadly fire destroyed a large part of the Muni in 1963 and another fire finished off the set in 1964. This didn’t hold back the volunteers that craved theater in central Illinois. They were back in 1965 and at it ever since. In 2008, they reached a milestone with their one millionth patron.
This summer and into the fall the Muni is continuing its tradition of offering quality shows with Peter Pan offered by County Auditor Paul Palazzolo is playing August 2-4 and 7-11 and RENT offered by the Springfield Clinic. RENT is the first show ever to play in September. This play will be offered September 6-7, 12-14 and 19-21.
Cathy Schwartz of the Muni said while the story line has not changed that they have updated their version of Peter Pan. “We tried to make it light and a little more vivid and up tempo.”
“This is an interactive show where we try to get everyone involved,” Cathy added. The whole family will enjoy this swashbuckling, stage flying, high energy show.
RENT will be also in a new time slot at 7:30 p.m. in September. This late summer show will let fans of the Muni enjoy a chance to let summer linger. RENT will run two hours. Note that this is a show that contains mature themes and strong language.
RENT offers the story of seven friends in the AIDS-ravaged New York City of the 1990’s. Roger, Mimi, Tom, Angel, Maureen, Joanne and Mark share their struggle to support themselves and celebrate their lives. Set to Puccini’s opera La Boehme director of RENT and President Elect of the Muni, Mac Warren said, “RENT is about love and offers some of the most beautiful love songs written.”
For either show, reserved seating tickets are $14 and a special $12 price for seniors, students, children and Military; are available by calling (217) 793-MUNI or online at www.TheMuni.org. General admission tickets (lawn seating) are available before each show at the Muni box office for $10 adults, $8 students, $6 children (3-12) and ages 2 and under are free.