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Home | Insider's Guide to the 2023 Mountain Play: Into the Woods

Insider's Guide to the 2023 Mountain Play: Into the Woods

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 the Mountain Play is back for its 110th season with the smash Broadway musical Into the Woods.

Into the Woods follows a baker (Kevin Singer) and his wife (Melissa Wolfklain), who wish to have a child; Cinderella (Samantha Cardenas), who wishes to attend the King's Festival; and Jack (Chachi Delgado), who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but with surprising and haunting consequences. One of Sondheim's most popular works, Into the Woods is a musically sophisticated show with an unforgettable score featuring "No One is Alone," "Children Will Listen," and "Giants in the Sky.”

Into the Woods premiered on Broadway in 1988 and won three major Tony Awards. It has since been produced many times and was adapted into a Disney live action film featuring Meryl Streep. The Mountain Play's production is directed and choreographed by Nicole Helfer, with musical direction by Daniel Alley, costume design by Amie Schow, and scenic design by Andrea Bechert.

Performances take place at 2 pm at Mt. Tam's Cushing Memorial Amphitheater on Sunday May 21 and 28 and June 4, 10, 11, and 18. General seating ticket prices range from $25–$50, and children 3 and under are free. This year, youth ages 4–25 are admitted free on opening day, Sunday, May 21! Order tickets online here or by phone at (415) 383-1100. Reserved seating tickets are also available starting at $70; call the Mountain Play office to order at (415) 383-1100.

Into the Woods 2023 Mountain Play

Make a day of it at the Mountain Play

Of course the Mountain Play isn't just about the play — it's about the complete Mountain Play experience. This includes enjoying fantastic pre-show entertainment starting at 12:30 pm. 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.

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 18 (which is also Father's Day). 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 usually takes 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 from pitmaster Forrest Murray, Jr., hot and cold drinks and ice cream from Mill Valley Rotary, snow cones, and even beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company at the Tamalpais Tavern.

2018 Mountain Play Mamma Mia!

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 ($40 advance, $50 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 — AKA the Mountain Play Express — up onto the mountain. The fleet of eco-friendly yellow buses 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 $10 for adults and $5 for youth ages 4–25 (free for youth on opening day, May 21); 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. Likewise, the temperature can drop in the afternoon when the fog rolls in. 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 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 or call (415) 383-1100.