The Mountain Play is Alive with the Sound of Music!

May 20, 2013

The Sound of Music at the Mountain Play 2013The 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.

The Sound of Music at the Mountain Play 2013The Sound of Music at the Mountain Play 2013

The Mountain Play's production of The Sound of Music is fast moving and colorful, with fantastic costumes and innovative revolving sets that did duty as the interior of an abbey, the Von Trapp villa, and a music festival hall. The standout performance was by Heather Buck as Maria, who brought out the character's liveliness and innocence, and also managed to make the role her own when she could have just channeled Julie Andrews.

Other great performances included David L. Yen as the oily but charming concert promoter Max Detweiler and local favorite Susan Zelinsky (AKA Susan Z) as Captain von Trapp's potential love interest Elsa Schraeder. (Susan played the lead role of Marian Paroo in last season's production of The Music Man.) Another crowd favorite was Hope Briggs, who brought a powerful voice to the role of the Mother Abbess.

The Sound of Music at the Mountain Play 2013The Sound of Music at the Mountain Play 2013

This experience is a lot of fun for the whole family and our kids had their eyes glued to the stage for the entire performance. They loved the innovative, constantly changing set, and the little moments of verisimilitude, like when Nazi troopers drive up to the stage in a vintage motorcycle and sidecar and a 1930s BMW convertible. We also loved the way the production incorporated the theater's and Mt. Tam's natural landscape into the play's alpine setting.

As usual, the onstage action was accompanied by a live orchestra conducted by Debra Chambliss (unseen behind the scenery but certainly heard). Of course the play itself is only just a part of the Mountain Play experience, which also includes live music, puppet shows, picnics, food and drink, and hiking.

If You Go

General seating tickets to the Mountain Play are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors 65+, $30 for youths 14–20, and $20 for children 4–13; children 3 and under are free. Reserved seats are available for Mountain Play Fan Club members (starting at $56); higher membership levels include perks like reserved parking and special shuttle passes. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100. You can also buy your tickets at the door; the box office opens at 9 am. Performances start at 2 pm and end around 4:30 pm, but of course you'll want to get there early for maximum fun.

When you go, make sure you're prepared for any kind of weather. Even if it's foggy in Mill Valley, the Rock Springs and amphitheater area can be above it all and bathed in bright sunlight. Of course it can be windy and foggy, too. There are some areas of shade in the amphitheater, but they're available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hats, sunscreen, and layered clothing are a must at the Mountain Play. Make sure you bring plenty of drinking water, too, although drinking fountains and drink concessions are available at the play. Amphitheater seats are all stone blocks, so stadium cushions, pillows, blankets, and other forms of padding are a good idea, too. You can rent pads at the amphitheater, and reserved seats have pads in place already.

The Mountain Play takes place at the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater in Mount Tamalpais State Park. While you can park up at the amphitheater, which is located near the Rock Springs trailhead and parking area, parking there is very limited, and fills up early in the day.

The traditional way to get to the Mountain Play is to take one of the free shuttle buses up from Tamalpais High School or the Manzanita Park-and-Ride Lot (near the Buckeye restaurant). Buses leave approximately every 15 minutes starting at 10 am, and will take you back down the mountain after the play.

For more information on how to get to there, read our Insider's Guide to the 2013 Mountain Play. You can learn more about the Mountain Play at or (415) 383-1100.