Every county has its own community of dancers, actors and drama enthusiasts, but it’s no secret that Marin has some of the best thespians around. From classic musicals, to rib-cracking comedies, to innovative adaptations of familiar favorites, there’s something for all tastes. Whether you’re looking for a night out with friends or a fun show to take the kids to, there’s always a good performance waiting right around the corner. The 2023 readers’ choice Best of the County winner is Mountain Play (pictured above). For the rest of the Marin Magazine‘s Best of Marin County Community Theater picks see below.
Our 2023 Arts & Entertainment category sponsor is Gene Hiller.
We’ve broken it down by region: Southern and Central Marin.
Art and community are at the heart of everything the Throckmorton Theatre does. Take in the historical atmosphere and the gorgeous wall-to-ceiling murals as you find your seat in what they proudly call “a people’s theatre.” On any given day, you might find yourself enjoying a comedy, a classic musical or a festival. They offer more than just shows, however, also hosting workshops, dance classes, chorus, and more, including after-school programs for those who want to get two kinds of education at the same time. Check the website for show details. Tickets are available online, or on a first-come, first-serve basis one hour before the show.
142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415.383.9600
With a history dating back to 1966, the Marin Theatre Company has grown into an award-winning titan of the Bay Area. They’ve done everything from beloved variants of Pride and Prejudice to dark and satirical commentaries on current events. You might find a story written by one of the company’s own national playwrights or a performance put on in collaboration with the local high school, showcasing just how deeply the group invests in the Marin community. For theatrically inclined youth, the company also offers summer camps for those in second through 12th grade. Until further notice, the physical box office is operating remotely (with no in-person sales) from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.; and from 12 p.m. — intermission on performance days (actual hours may vary).
397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, 415.388.5208
The Mountain Play isn’t just a show — it’s an experience. Nowhere else makes Into The Woods more immersive than here, where audiences can sit on steps of carven stone or enjoy private dining in the intimacy of a shaded grove. This outdoor theater (Covid safe!) is perfect for bringing a picnic or grabbing a refreshing snow cone from the cafe, allowing you to enjoy your food at the same time as you take in the gorgeous views and the pre-show entertainment alike. The Mountain Play also has accommodations for those with disabilities. Seatings start at 9 a.m., with shuttles from the parking lots beginning at 10 a.m. Check the website for show details.
Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre, Mill Valley, 415.383.1100
It’s an unfortunate truth that Native voices are often missing from mainstream media, but Alter Theater is looking to change that, one play at a time. Located on the lands of the Coast Miwok, the establishment’s focus is on celebrating Native storytelling and creating a more inclusive theater that showcases the breadth of experiences within its community. From tales of ancient monsters to romantic comedies, it’s easy to see why Alter Theater has won critical acclaim and become a community favorite for both established and emerging artists. Check the website for show details.
1337 Fourth St. (at D Street), San Rafael, 415.454.2787
There’s no theater more welcoming of newcomers than Ross Valley Players. Evocative and transformative, there’s always something fresh on the stage. The company’s Alternative Works productions are focused on elevating local creatives who otherwise might have flown under the radar, bringing in new actors and writers with every season (auditions are always open). An evening of Ross’ Alternative Works is bound to offer high quality, never-before-seen material performed by some of the most passionate and talented thespians in the county. The theater is ADA compliant and asks patrons to wear masks indoors. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross, 415.456.9555