CARY GRANT, under his real name ,Archie Leach, played Athos in a musical version of “The Three Musketeers” in 1931 at the Muny ( The Municipal Opera Association of St.Louis,Missouri.
(The musketeers’ s hats in the photo below look as if someone stepped on them!
The Muny ,which is 100 years old in 2018, is the biggest outdoor musical theatre in America , with a capacity of 11,000.
It operates solely in the summer from June to August and usually stages 7 Broadway – standard musicals each year during this period.
The 1931 calendar of shows has ‘Archie Leach’ in 7 of them, from “Rio Rita” to “Irene” and “The Three Musketeers”.
In 1931, Archie/Cary was under contract to the Broadway producers the Shuberts who sent him to St.Louis for the summer musical season. Not long afterwards, the star would leave for Hollywood and change his name to Cary Grant.
Hearing Cary briefly sing ‘Did I Remember’ to Jean Harlow in “Suzy” makes you wonder why he didn’t do some musicals in his career. He did of course play Cole Porter and sang a beautiful Porter song, ‘’An Old Fashioned Garden’ in “Night And Day”.
The Muny arena in 1940.
Over the decades many Hollywood stars have appeared at the Muny. In the 1926 season IRENE DUNNE played in “Babes in Toyland”, “The Red Mill” and “Sweethearts”.
In later years ANN BLYTH did “The Desert Song”, “Kiss Me Kate”, “Brigadoon” and “The King and I” in the 1960s and 70s.
In 1978, JANE POWELL and HOWARD KEEL starred in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Howard also did “South Pacific” (1992) and “My Fair Lady” (1996).
CYD CHARISSE played ‘Lola’ in “Damn Yankees” in 1969.
ANN MILLER starred in “Anything Goes” in 1972.
LAUREN BACALL top billed “Wonderful Town” in 1973. ROBERT PRESTON reprised his Broadway hit, “Mack and Mabel”, and JOHN PAYNE did “Good News” (which he had starred in on Broadway with Alice Faye) in 1973.
BOB HOPE had his first big Broadway hit in “Roberta” in 1933. Bob came to the Muny in 1958 and reprised his role of bandleader Huck Haines . He also did the show on TV in 1958, with Howard Keel, Janis Paige and Anna Maria Alberghetti.
(Fred Astaire played the bandleader in the film version of Roberta.)
Bob was inducted into the Muny Hall of Fame in 1984.
MARGARET HAMILTON played ‘Parthy’ in Show Boat in 1953.
MARY WICKES played in “Meet Me in St. Louis” in 1960. Mary was born in St.Louis – as was Betty Grable, Virginia Mayo,Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price and Shelley Winters.
DOLORES GRAY, DONALD O’CONNOR, ALEXIS SMITH , EVE ARDEN, DEBBIE REYNOLDS and BETTY GRABLE have also appeared at the Muny.
Irene Dunne, Ann Miller and Alexis Smith
Cary Grant what a legend ❤
Interesting, for sure.
Vienna, this is a really good write-up, and I learned a lot from all this new information( to me, anyway). The photographs are wonderful and I liked your description of the musketeer hats.
The Muny seems to be quite an institution.
What a terrific post about a midwestern theater institution that I knew nothing about. What a huge audience capacity!!!
Definitely a place I’d love to visit but i’d want a seat near the front!
Would love to find out if there were more well known names there in the 30s , 40s and 50s.
Marvellous that it has survived for a century.