Historic Attraction: Mountain Play Opens

Go up, up, up Mt. Tamalpais for some classic "West Side Story."

ELEVATION + CELEBRATION: One of the most charming scenes in "West Side Story," the tune-bright, New York-robust musical that premiered on Broadway in 1957, is the rooftop dance scene set to the rousing "America." Songs sung above street level are par for the course for the classic -- think how fire escapes and tall buildings come into play -- but generally when "West Side Story" is enjoyed, it is enjoyed in a home den or curb-close theater, and not in some much higher place. That'll change on Sunday, May 22 when the production, which boasts a book by Arthur Laurents and music courtesy of Leonard Bernstein, debuts at the Mountain Play. Indeed, that's the long-running spring-into-summer cultural treat on...

MOUNT TAMALPAIS, the one that involves a bit of hiking and some picnicking and the enjoying of sunshine (something that musical enjoyment doesn't always grant its audience). It's the 103rd season for the Mountain Play, which carries the oh-so-accurate tagline "A Great Outdoor Theatre Adventure." Some of that adventure is reaching the venue, as the Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre is located among the trees and peaks of Mount Tamalpais State Park. There are opportunities to grab a shuttle bus to the outdoor theatre, but many patrons choose to ramble up, taking in the nature along the way (nature that will provide a fun foil to the city-set gem that is "West Side Story").

AS FOR DATES? It doesn't run every day, do note, but the Mountain Play will be live and lively on select afternoons from May 22 through June 19. Yes, we did indeed say "afternoons," so plan for a "curtain" time of 2 o'clock. Ready to visit the NYC of the 1950s, via a hike up one of Northern California's most striking geographical symbols? It's a cool contrast, metropolitan-set musical and wild-pretty location, with a century-plus history to boot. Tickets, details, and how to get there? Ramble this way, theater-obsessed hikers.

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