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MOUNTAIN DAYS is the story of naturalist John Muir, a man who began the environmental battle that is still going on today. His passionate and unusual marriage to the independent Louie Strenzil is the centerpiece and inspiration for John Muir’s obsession to understand, celebrate and preserve the natural beauty around him. Mountain Days follows Muir from Scotland to California where he becomes an early founder of the national park system. This musical reveals a conflicted Muir trying to balance his love of family with his compulsion for the outdoors while being unwillingly drawn into the politics of preservation. The poetic lyrics are often drawn from Muir’s copious writings while the sweeping score reflects the grandeur of a land not yet conquered by greed.

Book and lyrics by Mary Bracken Phillips

Climb The Mountains -
00:00 / 00:00
San Francisco -
00:00 / 00:00
Love is Knowing When to Let Go -
00:00 / 00:00
The Thousand Mile Walk -
00:00 / 00:00
Political Waltz -
00:00 / 00:00
Ordinary Things -
00:00 / 00:00


MOUNTAIN DAYS-THE STORY OF JOHN MUIR was commissioned by the Willows Theatre and the Concord Pavilion to be the centerpiece of a year-long arts millennia celebration for Contra Costa Country in the Bay Area. Supported by grants from the NEA as well as Meet the Composer, and the Lesher and Knight Foundations, MOUNTAIN DAYS opened with the California Symphony and a cast of 60 in October 2000. Because of its success, the city of Martinez, CA (the home of the adult John Muir) undertook to build an amphitheatre so that this show could be an annual summer event. The show played 6 years in its new home to great success and large audiences. It then had a successful run in the Chicago area in the summer of 2009.

Show Essentials


Young John Muir*

Old John Muir*

Daniel Muir (father of John Muir)

Dr. Strenzil (father of Louie Strenzil)

Chilwell  (comic sidekick to John Muir)

William Keith (famous western photographer)

Pinchot (Chief Forester of the US Government in time of John Muir)

Phelan (Mayor of San Francisco 1896-1902)

Teddy Roosevelt



Davy Muir (brother to John Muir)



Louie Strenzil* (John Muir’s Wife)

Mrs. Strenzil (her mother0

Jean Carr (Mentor and long time friend to John Muir)

Therese Yelverton ( famous Irish novelist that wrote provocatively about John Muir)

Anne Muir (John Muir’s mother)


Campsadelle Three women who hound John Muir




Farmers, townspeople, peddlers, prostitutes, politicians


The names with an asterisk are the three leading roles. The remaining roles can be drawn from the ensemble.

4 optional children can be added if desired



(27 players- can augment the strings if done with full orchestra)


2 flutes/piccolo

1 oboe/English horn

2 clarinets in Bb

1 bassoon


3 horns

2 trumpets

2 trombones



percussion/timpani-two players (trap set, three timpani, concert snare, sus cymbal, crash cymbal, bell tree, mark tree, triangle, tambourine, wood block, orchestra bells, xylophone)





strings (violin 1,2,3 (6 players) 2 cello, and 1 bass (no viola)

“One Mountain of a musical…Grand!”


- San Francisco Chronicle


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