Insider's Guide to the 2019 Mountain Play: Grease
One of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theatre experience high on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for over a century! This year's 106th Mountain Play production is the smash Broadway musical Grease.
Grease tells a story of teenage love, the shifting roles of women, and the rock 'n' roll revolution. Set in a typical post-World War II 1959 high school, Grease tells the tale of Danny, leader of the “greaser” pack, and Sandy, stereotypical good girl, who reconnect after a summer romance. Surrounded by Rydell High’s Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies, we witness Danny and Sandy attempt to rekindle their romance despite the challenges of 1950s social expectations and peer pressure.
Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on Sunday May 26 and June 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16. (The June 15 date was added after the original opening day, May 19, was rained out.) General seating ticket prices range from $20–$45, and children 3 and under are free. Reserved seating packages start at $60. Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100. Reserved seating tickets are also available; call the Mountain Play office to order at (415) 383-1100.
As with last year's production of Mamma Mia!, the Mountain Play will host a sing-along performance on Saturday, June 8. Come join the cast in singing rockin' tunes like "Summer Nights", "Greased Lightnin'", "Hand Jive", "We Go Together", and more!
Make a day of it
Of course the Mountain Play isn't just about the play—it's about the complete Mountain Play experience. This includes enjoying fantastic preshow entertainment, face painting, a raffle with amazing prizes, and more. You can even take advantage of the Mountain Play's unique location and take a hike before the show. Check the Mountain Play's website for details on related activities and events.
Each day has its own special theme with preshow entertainment starting at 12:30 pm:
- May 19 — Todd Morgan
- May 27 — ‘Til Dawn
- June 2 — Christie McCarthy with Glenn MacPherson
- June 8: Sing-Along Saturday — Audience instructions at 1:30 pm
- June 9 — Natalia Betzler
- June 16: Annual Picnic Contest — with Celebrity Judge Damon Stainbrook of Pig in a Pickle
Another Mountain Play tradition is to bring your picnic lunch, and playgoers can get pretty elaborate with their gourmet picnic meals. Just checking out the gourmet fare that people bring is half the fun! There will even be a picnic contest at the last performance on Sunday, June 16. If you think your picnic spread is a contender, make sure you check in at the Raffle Booth between 11 am and noon when you arrive to enter the contest. Judging will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 pm.
Don't want to pack your lunch? Don't worry, you can buy a wide range of food at the Mountain Play, including BBQ, hot dogs, salad, and more from Big Jim at the Mountain Play Cafe, hot and cold drinks and ice cream from Mill Valley Rotary, and even beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company and Barefoot wines from the Tamalpais Tavern.
If you go
The Mountain Play box office opens at 9 am on performance days. Very limited parking is available on the mountain, and lots usually fill up by 11 am; advance reservations are highly recommended. Lots closest to the theatre are reserved for members and patrons with disabilities who have reserved spots in advance. Parking is available at the old Air Force base ($15 advance, $25 at the gate; cash only). A shuttle bus will take playgoers to and from the amphitheater from the Air Force base parking lots. Carpooling is encouraged!
The traditional way to get to the mountain play, however, is to take one of the shuttle buses—otherwise known as the Mountain Play Express—up onto the mountain. The Mountain Play's fleet of eco-friendly yellow bueses will whisk you up to the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater from two locations in Mill Valley—the Manzanita Park-and-Ride Lot at the Highway 101 and Shoreline Highway junction (near the Buckeye restaurant) and at Tamalpais High School on Miller Avenue. The Mountain Play Express runs approximately every 15 minutes from 10 am to 12:45 pm, and will be there to take you back down the mountain after the play. Shuttle bus fare up the mountain in the morning is $5 per person (payable when you order your tickets); the return trip is free. Cars may be parked at both locations all day free of charge.
When you go, make sure you're prepared for any kind of weather. Even if it's foggy in Mill Valley, the Rock Spring area and the amphitheater can be sunny and hot. There are some areas of shade in the theater, but they're available on a first-come, first-served basis or part of the reserved seating area. Hats, sunscreen, and layered clothing are a must at the Mountain Play. Make sure you bring plenty of drinking water, too. Amphitheater seats are all stone blocks, so stadium cushions, pillows, blankets, and other forms of padding are a good idea, too. Reserved seats have pads in place already, and you can rent them when you get there.
For the true Mountain Play experience, take the Mountain Play Express shuttle bus up the mountain, and then hike down after the show. The route down the Mt. Tamalpais is seven miles and takes about two to three hours to complete, so if you plan on hiking bring plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. You can get a route map and hiking directions on the Mountain Play's website.
If you choose to hike down from the theater, the Mountain Play will transport your ice chests, blankets, picnic baskets, and other bulky items down the mountain for you; pick them up at the Depot in downtown Mill Valley, and then hop a shuttle bus for the ride back to your car. Other transportation options include biking or hiking up to the amphitheater.
To order tickets or for more information on this year's production and the Mountain Play experience, visit www.mountainplay.org or call (415) 383-1100.
June 25, 2019
June 22, 2019
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