The Muny, St. Louis’ outdoor, professional theater has been a tradition for generations in the city, with many making it a ritual to attend each week during its season. The Muny has a wonderful tradition of providing free seats in the last nine rows of seating for its summer musical theater productions. This practice allows 1400 people to experience a professional, live performance without cost, but the distance from the stage results in more “hearing” than “seeing” of the production.

A foundation chose to honor a Muny regular, Patricia Wolf Gould, with a memorable gift in her honor. Each week, “free seat” patrons are randomly chosen and given seats much closer to the stage. The move enables them to be immersed in the production, rather than watching it from afar, and those who are “Patti’s Pick” are able to hear and see the show from a whole new perspective.

I love how personal this recognition is. It would have been easy for the foundation to endow a scholarship, make a contribution to the theater, or provide some other donation on her behalf but creating the seat upgrade program is a way to honor her legacy as well as her life.

Whether you are recognizing someone in large ways or small, work diligently to craft a tribute that specifically honors the person. Consider what is/was important to them, things they loved, areas where they gave their attention or unique ways that you can extend their influence. Special individuals merit personalized recognition, not a generic accolade.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: