Hairspray, al fresco

The mountain theatre a few weeks ago

A few weeks ago, we went for a walk on Mt Tam. While walking, we saw the open air mountain theatre that’s used to stage a musical each year. I knew about the mountain show because I’d been looking for some Am Dram to amuse myself while here. (I decided not to audition because the rehearsal schedule was intense and the shows take place over 5 weekends. We have way too much travelling to do, for me to spend that amount of time rehearsing. Am Dram may have to wait until we get back to Britain.)

This year’s musical is “Hairspray”, and yesterday a small group of families from school went to see the opening show. Since the theatre is at the top of a mountain, that’s not entirely straigthforward. It involved a hike up

Hiking up through the redwoods to the theatre at the top of Mt Tam

and a picnic lunch once there. We saw that some people had wonderful Glyndebourne-style lunches, with sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and exotic dishes. But not many (there was a hike beforehand, remember? The professional lunchers must have dropped their lunches off early, before driving back down to park their cars and hiking back up again). We had sausages sandwiches. Not quite so classy, but jolly tasty.

Here's our lot, having lunch on the stone benches. We take up the first three rows.

The show was astoundingly good. It wasn’t Am Dram at all, but semi-professional. Half the cast had Equity cards. The amount of rehearsal time involved clearly showed too, because they were almost perfect. The dancing was good, the singing was good and the acting was good. And the stage set was amazing, with revolving sections and multiple levels. It was a terrific show.

And the setting! There we were, sitting in an amphitheatre at the top of a mountain, watching an amazing musical with wonderful music, and just beyond the stage was the glorious view down the mountain to the Bay.

Beyond the set is the wonderful view down to the Bay with Angel Island showing in the top right corner

And since we’re in America, there was a sign language interpreter for the whole performance too. She must have been exhausted by the end.

This was more than just a show. The combination of the hike, the musical and the environment made this one of the most memorable shows we’ve ever seen.

Next year, they’re performing West Side Story. I’m already excited.

At the top of the amphitheatre was what must surely be the world's most enormous flag

About Natalie Gotts

I've been a management consultant, a nutritional therapist, a Journey practitioner and a mother. I've sold ostriches in China and personal safety devices in Hong Kong. Whatever I've done, and wherever I've been, I've written about it.
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3 Responses to Hairspray, al fresco

  1. barbara gotts says:

    What a wonderful time you must have had. We saw the theatre as we went up so we know the site – and the walk up to it. Lucky you. We have been to al fresco Shakespeare at Stamford in England but it didn’t have the backdrop, but it was pretty good.

    • nataliegotts says:

      There was a puppet show for the children before the show started too. It was entertaining, but not necessarily for the right reasons! The children didn’t seem to notice the adult humour or the inefficient performance, though.

  2. Pingback: Panto-esque | Family Gotts USA Adventure

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