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Mountain Play Association facts for kids

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Mountain Play stage Annie 2003
The Mountain Play stage set up for a presentation of the musical Annie in 2003.

The Mountain Play Association is a 501(c)3 organization responsible for the production of theatrical events at the Sidney B. Cushing Amphitheater on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California. The stone amphitheater, named for the owner of the railroad company which constructed the Mount Tamalpais Scenic Railway, is at an elevation of 2,000 feet and has 4,000 seats. The organization was founded in 1913, and is a member of Theatre Bay Area and the North Bay Theatre Group.

The Mountain Play presents one musical a year, in May and June. In 2014, they presented South Pacific, from May 18 through June 15. Past productions have included Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, and Hair.

The mission statement of the Mountain Play Association reads, "The Mountain Play Association’s mission is to produce an annual, spectacular, outdoor theatrical experience that nurtures an appreciation of Mt. Tamalpais, involves and strengthens the community, and builds on decades of tradition."

History

Poster from the Mountain Play's first performance

First performance

One of the oldest non-profit theater companies in the area, the Mountain Play staged its first theatrical performances in the natural amphitheater on top of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County in 1913. The first Mountain Play produced was Abraham and Isaac. Members of the audience hiked the eight miles from Mill Valley or steamed up the mountain on the Mount Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, the "Crookedest Railroad in the World." The Mountain Play Association (MPA) was formed the following year. Congressman William Kent, who owned the land on the mountain where the amphitheater stood, was one of its vice presidents.

List of performances

Performance Dates Year Play(s)
Summer 2019 Grease
May 20, 27, June 3, 9, 10, 17 2018 Mamma Mia
Summer 2017 Beauty and the Beast

Hair

Summer 2016 West Side Story
Summer 2015 Peter Pan
Summer 2014 South Pacific
Summer 2013 The Sound of Music (100th Anniversary)
Summer 2012 The Music Man
Summer 2011 Hairspray
Summer 2010 Guys and Dolls
Summer 2009 Man of La Mancha
Summer 2008 Wizard of Oz
Summer 2007 Hair
Summer 2006 Fiddler on the Roof
Summer 2004 My Fair Lady
Summer 2003 Annie
Summer 2002 Bye Bye Birdie
Summer 2001 Oliver!
Summer 2000 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Summer 1999 West Side Story
Summer 1998 Hello Dolly
Summer 1997 South Pacific
Summer 1996 My Fair Lady
Summer 1995 Guys & Dolls
Summer 1994 Fiddler on the Roof
Summer 1993 The Music Man
Summer 1992 Oklahoma!
Summer 1991 Wizard of Oz
Summer 1990 Anything Goes
Summer 1989 Brigadoon
Summer 1988 South Pacific
Summer 1987 King & I (75th Anniversary)
Summer 1986 Peter Pan
Summer 1985 The Sound of Music
Summer 1984 Fiddler on the Roof
Summer 1983 The Music Man
Summer 1982 Oklahoma!
Summer 1981 Annie Get Your Gun & Henry V
Summer 1980 Carnival
Summer 1979 Indians
Summer 1978 Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Summer 1977 Clothes
Summer 1976 Celebration '76 : American music and dance retrospective
Summer 1975 Music of America
Summer 1974 Rough an' Ready
Summer 1973 Picnic and hike, guest of honor State Senator Peter Behr excerpts from Oklahoma! and Jacques Brel
Summer 1972 Rough an' Ready
Summer 1971 Playboy of the Western World
Summer 1970 Tamalpa
Summer 1969 The World We Live In
Summer 1968 Alice Through the Looking Glass
Summer 1967 Kismet
Summer 1966 Peer Gynt
Summer 1965 Rough an' Ready
Summer 1964 Flamenca
Summer 1963 Tamalpa
Summer 1962 Rip of the Mountain
Summer 1961 Robin Hood
Summer 1960 Alice in Wonderland
Summer 1959 The Pied Piper
Summer 1958 Rough an' Ready
Summer 1957 Tamalpa
Summer 1956 The Birds
Summer 1955 The World We Live In
Summer 1954 The Tempest
Summer 1953 Tamalpa
Summer 1952 Land of Oz
Summer 1951 A Thousand Years Ago
Summer 1950 Robin Hood
Summer 1949 Rough an' Ready
Summer 1948 If I Were King
Summer 1947 Alice in Wonderland
Summer 1946 Tamalpa
1945 No play (Grounds in use by US Army)
1944
1943
1942
Summer 1941 A Thousand Years Ago
Summer 1940 The World We Live In
Summer 1939 The Valiant Cossack
Summer 1938 Tamalpa
Summer 1937 Thunder in Paradise
Summer 1936 Androcles and the Lion
Summer 1935 The World We Live In (from Ross Valley Players)
Summer 1934 The Girl of the Golden West
Summer 1933 The Daughter of Jorio
Summer 1932 Rob Roy
Summer 1931 The Trail of the Padres
Summer 1930 The Sunken Bell
Summer 1929 Peer Gynt
Summer 1928 Flamenca
Summer 1927 The Gods of the Mountain
Summer 1926 Rip Van Winkle
Summer 1925 Drake
1924 No play (hoof & mouth disease epidemic)
Summer 1923 Tamalpa
Summer 1922 The Pied Piper
Summer 1921 Tamalpa
Summer 1920 As You Like It
Summer 1919 Tally-Ho
Summer 1918 Robin Hood
Summer 1917 Jeppe-on-the-Hill
Summer 1916 William Tell
Summer 1915 Rip Van Winkle
Summer 1914 Shakuntala
Summer 1913 Abraham and Isaac

Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheater

In 1916, Kent deeded the theater to the MPA. Twenty years later, MPA turned the theater over to the state park, which then surrounded it, and over the next ten years the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked to install the massive serpentine stones that now form the 4000-seat Sidney B. Cushing Memorial Amphitheater. The theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Since 1977, when Marilyn Smith took over as executive director, the Mountain Play presented Broadway musicals on the mountain.

In 1980, the Mountain Play introduced sign language interpretation at its May performances on Mt. Tamalpais. In the early 1980s, special accommodations were developed for patrons with wheelchairs, including the grading of a path to the theater and the construction of a shaded wheelchair platform.

In 1993, the Mountain Play expanded its 10-year-old programs for the visually impaired to include professional describers who provide simultaneous audio description. Equipment was upgraded in 1997, which enables users to sit anywhere in the theater rather than in a specially designated area.

A "Day on the Mountain" outreach program was introduced in 1993 to introduce low-income/at-risk children both to musical theater and to Mt. Tamalpais. Working with Bay Area social service agencies, the Mountain Play provides tickets and transportation to the show, pre-performance workshops and guided nature hikes on the mountain. Since 1995, the Mountain Play has also presented an annual performance at the Redwoods retirement center in Mill Valley for an audience of elderly patrons who can no longer make it up to the mountain.

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