An Interview with Susan Z - Star of this Year's Mountain Play

May 14, 2012

Suzan Zelinsky in the Music Man at the Mountain PlayMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin Mom and writer Gabrielle Cullen.

Here’s a cheer for the moms who have found a way to balance family, fun and self fulfillment! One of Marin’s most musical moms, Susan Zelinsky, has the luck, and the talent, to be doing just that, and so on the cusp the 99th annual Mountain Play, (she has the starring role of Marian Paroo in The Music Man,) Marin Mommies sat down with Susan in hopes of revealing the secrets to her success.

How long have you been in musical theater?

I’ve been involved in acting, music and song since high school. I continued on in college and have been fortunate to have music and theater play a key role in my life ever since.

As a mother, what do you enjoy most about Mountain Play?

Being able to perform in a wonderful production such as Mountain Play has given me the best of both worlds. I am able to be involved in my children’s lives, work around crazy family schedules and still have a wonderful outlet for my craft.

How else do you use your performing talents?

I teach a chorus class at Marin Primary and Middle School, teach piano classes, and just finished up the spring session of baby/toddler music classes, which will start again in the fall. Being an artist usually means having other odd jobs to support the acting but I’ve been lucky to have a fulfilling music career in music and acting right here in the Bay Area.

What advice would you give to parents of budding musical stars?

As an artist and a mother of a current budding star, I would say support, commitment and balance are top priorities. Of course parents will want to support their children in any activity or dream! If there is a future Tony Award® winner in the house, why not let her/him grow in leaps and bounds? Commitment is something people may forget about but it’s important. Being involved in musical theater or any stage-style activity makes for a very busy schedule and so parents will have to be ready to drive to any number of rehearsals, classes, fittings, etc. Balance is key, as no one wants to be known as the “Stage Mom” and it’s healthy for kids to have access to other hobbies and activities, including down time!

Tell us one of your favorite mother/child moments.

Believe it or not, Mountain Play has become one of our favorite family traditions. My girls, who are now 9 and 6, have been attending for many years, even the ones when I haven’t been a cast member. It’s a whole day of fun! We pack a lunch, the girls do warm-ups with the cast, they chase lizards, we go on a hike to the West Point Inn. After our picnic we load up on the sunscreen and sit down for a wonderful musical show. It’s always a fantastic day on the mountain.

Be sure to catch Susan as Marian in this year’s Mountain Play production of The Music Man, Meredith Wilson’s critically acclaimed Broadway classic, a valentine to small-town USA. The 2012 season performance dates are as follows: May 20, 27, June 3, 10, 16 (Saturday), and 17. All shows start at 2 pm. Purchase tickets online now! For more information please visit

Photo courtesy of the Mountain Play.