by Richard Elliott
Mountain Days Director and
Artistic Director, Willows Theatre Company
The idea for Mountain Days started back in 1987 when it occurred to me that nowhere in Northern California was there an outdoor epic theatre production like so many found back in the East where I grew up - Honey in the Rock in West Virginia, Tecumseh! in Ohio, The Lost Colony in North Carolina, and many others. I was surprised that these outdoor dramatic spectacles based on a famous historic figure or episode, which are tourist attractions elsewhere, had not yet reached the San Francisco Bay Area.
Because I live in Martinez (home of John Muir) and because I have a personal interest in the legacy of John Muir, I felt he would be an interesting subject on which to develop a dramatic musical epic in our community.
The Arts Millennium 2000 project was developed by the Pavilion Associates of concord to celebrate arts and culture in our region. We were approached to participate in this project and thought this the ideal opportunity to develop the Muir production, which was enthusiastically endorsed by the Associates. We were fortunate to be able to draw on the talents of composer Craig Bohmler and librettist/lyricist Mary Bracken Phillips, both of whom had worked with the Willows Theatre on previous projects.
As this musical has developed, it has become clear to us that Mountain Days and John Muir's story is one that will surely stir the imaginations of our audience and listeners, and instill a sense of pride in our community and natural heritage. We hope you will find the show compelling and will join us each summer at the brand new John Muir Amphitheater in Martinez to celebrate John's life and legacy in his own back yard.
From the liner Notes for the Original Cast Recording
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