The Mountain Play makes musical magic once again in its 100th anniversary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music. Featuring classic songs that you surely know by heart, including Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, Climb Ev'ry Mountain, and Edelweiss, this year's play is directed by Bay Area theater veteran Jay Manley and features a superb cast, especially the local kids in the roles of the Von Trapp children.
The Sound of Music tells the familiar story of Maria Rainer, sent from Salzburg's Nonnberg Abbey as governess to the seven children of widowed naval officer Georg von Trapp, all under the shadows of the 1938 Nazi takeover of Austria. The Sound of Music is probably most familiar in its 1965 movie form, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Great tickets are still available for Mountain Play performances on May 26 and June 2, 8, 9, and 16. All shows begin at 2 pm.
During winter and early spring, and especially after a rainstorm, a family hike along on Mount Tamalpais's cataract trail will reward you with stunning scenery and a series of spectacular waterfalls. This out-and-back hike is about 2.6 miles round trip, and should be manageable by most kids—we saw plenty of families on the trail during out last trek.
The trail is on the Mt. Tam lands administered by the Marin Municipal Water District, and follows Cataract Creek as it flows gently downhill. You'll pass through a magical forest of Douglas firs, oaks, ferns, and moss-covered rocks on the way to Laurel Dell picnic area. Pass through Laurel Dell and the trail heads downhill to the first in a series of waterfalls.
The easiest approach to the Cataract Trail for families is from the Rock Spring trailhead, which is at the junction of East and West Ridgecrest Boulevards. Park here and head out onto the Cataract Trail, the beginning of which you'll find off the center of the parking area. There is an alternate approach from Bolinas–Fairfax Road, near Alpine Dam, but the trail here is largely uphill, and parking along the road can be difficult.
It's no secret that Mt Tamalpais is Marin County's outdoor adventure hot-spot. One of the most popular ways to visit the mountain and its many trails and natural resources is via Sky Oaks just west of Fairfax.
Sky Oaks is home to the Watershed Headquarters for the Marin Municipal Water District, which manages a large part of Mt. Tam's lands (other portions of which are part of Mt. Tamalpais State Park). Sky Oaks offers easy access to numerous trails, picnic areas, and the Lake Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lake reservoirs. With towering redwoods and Douglas firs ringing the sparkling lakes, it's a beautiful place, and it almost feels like you're up in the Sierras.
For a great family friendly hike, try walking the loop around Lake Lagunitas. The fire roads here are wide and relatively flat, with only a few gentle hills. They're open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians, and are easily manageable with a sturdy offroad jogging stroller.
Start your hike in the Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area. At the far end of the parking lot, take the signed trail to your left up to Lakeview Fire Road to the lake's dam. On your way from the parking area you'll see a sign noting all the different species of wildlife observed in the area—from deer to bullfrogs to bobcats to bald eagles—along with dates and locations. We saw a couple deer walking across the trail during our hike, as well as red-tailed hawks and a variety of waterfowl.
Our family loves to explore Mt. Tamalpais. Usually, we pack a picnic for lunch during our hikes, but on our last visit we decided to take the kids to the Mountain Home Inn, one of the few restaurants up on the mountain. It was a gorgeous, clear day, and we knew the views from the restaurant's deck would be amazing.
The Mountain Home Inn has been a fixture on Mt. Tam for a century, and it's a great place to stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner before or after your Mt. Tam adventure. Of course we opted to sit outside on the deck, taking in the spectacular views of Marin County and relaxing in the shade of the patio umbrellas. Our friendly and attentive server brought us a bottle of water infused with mint as we perused the menu.
The Mountain home inn offers a variety of dishes, from bratwurst on a bun with house-made potato chips (a nod to the inn's beginnings as a Swiss/German roadhouse) and burgers to fresh pastas and a vegetable frittata. There's also a children's menu, which is offered up with crayons for coloring, that includes favorites like chicken fingers and fries, kids' pasta with butter and parmesan, french toast, and more.
I grew up hiking on the trails of Mt. Tam with my family, and have fond memories of walking around the summit of the mountain and marveling at the fantastic views. The East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais is a great place to go for families looking to take a hike with small children, and it also offers what are arguably the most spectacular views of any hike in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it's a great spot to take out-of-town visitors, too.
The easy, paved, .7-mile Verna Dunshee Trail that circles the mountaintop is accessible and perfect for strollers, too, and it's recently been repaved and upgraded. In addition to panoramic views of the Bay Area, the East Peak has a small visitor center and gift shop, as well as a seasonal snack bar offering candy, hot dogs, ice cream, and sodas. It's always a great place to stop for a treat after a family hike.
You'll also find the Gravity Car Barn and Museum near the snack bar. Open to the public on weekends from noon to 4 pm, the Gravity Car Barn pays tribute to the long gone Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, an excursion railroad that from 1896 to 1930 transported visitors up to the summit of Mt. Tam via steam train, and back down to Mill Valley by means of a free-wheeling gravity car, a replica of which is housed inside the gravity car barn and is rolled out when the museum is open.
Where can you see a colorful musical theater production with a professional cast in an idyllic outdoor setting with amazing panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area? The Mountain Play, of course! We had a chance last Sunday to catch this year's production (the 99th—it's been a Marin County tradition since 1913) of Meredith Willson's The Music Man, and it was a delight from beginning to end.
Marin musical favorite Susan Zelinsky was outstanding in the starring role of River City, Iowa librarian and piano teacher Marian Paroo, while Robert Moorhead charmed as the smooth-talking yet ultimately good-hearted con man Harold Hill, who convinces the citizens of River City that the only way to keep their sons out of the billiard parlor and away from trouble (with a capital "T") is to get them into a boys' marching band.
Tickets are still available for the remaining Mountain Play performances, which take place on June 3, 10, 16, and 17. All shows begin at 2 pm.
Calling all actors and singers! Open auditions take place this month for Mountain Play’s 2012 Production, Meredtih Wilson's The Music Man.
Auditions for the role of Professor Harold Hill only take place on Saturday, January 7 at 9 am (non-AEA) and 11 am (AEA) at The Barn at the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. Auditions for all adult roles (ages 15 and up) take place at 9:30 am (non-AEA) and 1 pm (AEA) on Saturday, January 28 at Drake High School Theater in San Anselmo.
All adult auditionees will cold read and sing. Actors auditioning for the roles of Tommy Djilas, Marcellus Washburn, Ethel Toffelmeir, Zaneeta Shinn, and Dance Chorus should be prepared to dance. Please prepare one musical theater song preferably in the style of The Music Man.
To make an appointment for Harold Hill or AEA auditions or for more information, contact associate producer Eileen Grady at (415) 383-1100 or Eileen@mountainplay.org.
Children's auditions (ages 10–14) for the roles of Winthrop, Amayrillis, and Children's Chorus take place Sunday, January 29 at 1 pm at the Drake High School Theater. Children should prepare a reading (available on the Mountain Play website) and one musical theater song preferably in the style of The Music Man.
Please bring your headshot, resume, audition music (accompaniment is provided; no a capella or transpositions) and a completed audition application. All positions are paid. Please note the January 7 audition is for Harold Hill only, January 28 is for all adult roles with the exception of Marian Paroo, which has been precast. January 29 is for all children’s roles.
Where can you see colorful musical theater production with a professional cast in a rustic outdoor setting with panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay Area? The Mountain Play, of course! After a rained-out performance last weekend, we managed to catch the Mountain Play's 2011 production of the popular Broadway musical Hairspray. With an outstanding cast, a fast and furious pace, and loads of infectious song and dance, Hairspray is a must-see on Mount Tam this season. You have two more chances to take in this Marin County outdoor theater tradition: today, June 12, and next Sunday (Father's Day), June 19. Both performances begin at 2 pm. Tickets are still available for both performances.
Based on cult director John Waters' 1988 movie, this musical transports us back to 1962 Baltimore, where hair was big (thanks to plenty of the title substance) and "pleasingly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad (Kimberly Swanson) longs to not only appear on the Corny Collins show—a TV dance show that's home to the "nicest kids in town"—but to racially integrate it as well. She's