The Mountain Play Returns May 18

Head to the Mountain Play to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific.
Courtesy of the Mountain Play

The historic Mountain Play returns to Tamalpais for its 101st season on May 18. This year, Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre sets the stage for a production of South Pacific, a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on the 1947 book, Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener. The story revolves around two parallel love stories: one featuring an American nurse stationed on an island in the South Pacific during World War II (WWII), where she falls for a French expat, and the other between a lieutenant and a young native woman (same island). And although the show is filled with upbeat musical numbers and comedic elements, the plot touches on a couple sensitive subjects — racism is a theme throughout, as the American nurse attempts to accept her new beau’s mix-raced children, as is war, which serves as a backdrop to the romance.

If you have never attended the Mountain Play, here are five reasons why you need to check it out this season:

1. Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre is a tangible piece of history, and so is the Mountain Play itself — the first production took place in 1913, and the serpentine stones that serve as seats weren’t put in place until 1933.

2. It’s a truly unique was to get outside. Take a bus up from Mill Valley, and enjoy a leisurely hike down the mountainside post-production.

3. It’s unlike any other theater experience. As you sit on native stones, surrounded by locals, you are given the opportunity to enjoy a full-scale musical with amazing sets — but on a clear day, all you have to do is shift your eyes a few degrees to take in views of Mill Valley, the Bay and the San Francisco skyline. 

4. The final show is on Father’s Day. Can you think of a better way to hang with Dad than an outdoor show, a hike down the mountain and dinner in downtown Mill Valley? I think not.

5. The Mountain Play Association is run by locals who care deeply about nature, art and community. Your support keeps this tradition alive.

Categories: Calin Van Paris, Marin Matters