Woodminster Amphitheatre

Cascades

Yesterday Anna and I drove around visiting a few landmarks from our previous tenure in Oakland. Since it was our anniversary we topped the list with the locations of the ceremony, reception, and the B&B where we spent our wedding night. While we were up near Montclair we decided to include a visit to Woodminster. The building was locked up tight, but we walked around to take a few pictures.

The theatre, located in Joaquin Miller Park is dedicated to California writers. Joaquin Miller’s tiny cabin is just a short walk from the site of the theatre. The theatre building was designed by Edward T. Foulkes, the architect who designed the Tribune Tower. It’s a phenomenal specimen of 1940s public architecture. Behind the theatre is a sequence of fountains and cascades that empty into a reflecting pool. The landscape surrounding the Theatre was designed by William Penn Mott, Jr.,. at one time superintendent of Oakland Parks and eventually the Director of the National Park Service.

When we lived in Oakland in the 1960s through the 1980s, Anna and I (and my brother Jon, and Anna’s sister Carrie, and our son Justin) all performed in several musicals at Woodminster. The company that lives in the building, Producers Associates, produces three classic Broadway musicals each summer. Harriet, the choreographer, taught ballet classes year round, and her husband Jim, the director, taught acting and voice. Anna and I studied with them during the off season. For a few years I worked summers as a carpenter and scenic artist during the day and rehearsed to be in the shows at night. We’ll definitely be attending the shows they produce this coming summer. Who knows, we might even try to get back on stage sometime.

Cathedral of the WoodsEntrance for the PatronsDetail on the building

Monday December 28, 2009 — Mark — California culture


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