One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for 98 years. 2011's Mountain Play production is the Tony Award-winning Hairspray, the story of self-proclaimed "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she simultaneously pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation in 1962 Baltimore. Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Hairspray features a heart pounding score of such favorites as Welcome to the '60s, Good Morning, Baltimore, Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now and You Can’t Stop the Beat. Hairspray is based on the 1988 movie of the same name written and directed by cult filmmaker John Waters.
The Mountain Play's production of Hairspray features a professional cast (including local singer/songwriter and children's performer Susan Zelinsky, AKA Susan Z, as Velma Von Tussle), and is directed by Marin drama legend and Mountain Play veteran James Dunn.
Fans of Arnold Lobel's classic series of Frog and Toad books will be charmed and entranced by Bay Area Children's Theatre's production of A Year with Frog and Toad. Even if you're not familiar with the adventures of the titular amphibian duo, you'll still enjoy this fun-filled live musical that chronicles the adventures of the best friends Frog and Toad.
A Year with Frog and Toad plays on weekends at 2 pm through April 17 at the Freight and Salvage coffeehouse on Addison Street in downtown Berkeley, and it's well worth the short drive from Marin. Our family took in a performance on opening weekend, and had one of our best children's theater experiences ever!
Charlie Cromer and William O'Neill are a delight in the roles of Frog and Toad, respectively, and the cast of supporting characters is expertly handled by Elana Cowen, Rebecca Pingree, and Reggie White, all of whom tackle the multiple roles of birds, moles, a turtle, a mouse, and more. White, in particular, just about steals the show as the enthusiastic but slow-moving snail who gives a literal read on the term "snail mail".