Compared to our normal hot, humid July temperatures, the past few days have been a nice change. The days are sunny and warm (with low humidity), and once the sun goes down it's delightfully cool. Last night Hubby Tony and I decided to take advantage of the wonderful weather and see South Pacific, this week's show at The Muny, from the free seats.
The Muny is a St. Louis institution; an outdoor musical amphitheater that's been offering Broadway-style musicals every summer for more than 90 years. A season consists of seven shows, each running for a week. The huge theater in Forest Park holds 11,000 people, and for each performance there are 1,500 free seats available in the last nine rows of the theater on a first-come, first-served basis.
When the boys were young we took advantage of them on a regular basis. I'd pack a picnic lunch and get there a couple of hours before the gates opened at 7:00, (an hour and fifteen minutes before the show started) to make sure we got good seats. We'd eat dinner while we were waiting, and bring cards or games to pass the time. However, last night as long as we got seats I wasn't too particular about where I sat, so we aimed for being there a little bit before the gates opened.
Tony and I left home three hours before that, though. Our first stop was Subway, where we got a sandwich for dinner and stowed it in a cooler along with the rest of our food and a few snacks. Next we went to Mass at the New Cathedral. After church we drove to Forest Park, parked the car, and walked until it was time to retrieve our food and get in line.
There are two free seat entrances, one on each side at the back of the theater. Both of the lines were very long, but we veered to the left and got at the end. While we were waiting we talked about what we'd do if we didn't get in, but I wasn't too worried. After the gates opened it took a while for our portion of the line to start moving. We were still waiting when we were approached by a man who asked if there was only two of us. If so, he'd like to offer us a pair of tickets! He explained we'd be sitting with him and his wife; their friends had something come up at the last minute and they couldn't find anyone else to use them.
Tony and I looked at each other for less than a second before we agreed that we'd love to have the tickets. We continued to wait in line until we reached the gate where we had our bags checked, then saw our hosts at the rear of the theater waiting for the main gates to open. We passed the time chatting. I found out that they lived on a lake where Tony's parents had a weekend cabin years ago, and had children about our age.
When the gates opened we followed our new friends to the seats, which ended up being about halfway to the stage. After we got situated we pulled out our sandwich and ate it, then waited until the show started right on time at 8:15.
Summer nights in St. Louis can be brutal. The Muny has large fans at the sides which circulate the air, but previously they had to be turned off when the show started. This year, though, they've installed new fans that are so quiet they can be left on. The night was so cool, though, it was hard to tell how well they worked.
South Pacific is one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's great shows, and it has a lot of wonderful songs. The first act flew by. During the intermission we chatted with our hosts until the house lights dimmed again. The second half went equally fast. All too soon the play was over and streams of people were heading for the exits. We said goodbye, and one last thank you, then went our separate directions.
Five years ago today: New Thing #185--On My Side