Where to See Musical Shows in San Francisco
San Francisco has a thriving theater scene with dozens of options. The city is also known for hosting productions before they go to Broadway. Many famous Broadway shows got their start in the Bay Area, including American Idiot and Fences.
A sassy girl takes on the world in this joyous musical. Featuring larger-than-life staging and costumes, this show is sure to delight children of all ages.
The Curran Theatre
The Curran Theatre is a beautiful theater located in San Francisco. It’s easily accessible by public transit and is a great place to see a musical show. There are a lot of places to grab a bite to eat near the theater.
Despite the fact that Broadway national tours seldom run here, the theater has hosted several long runs of hit shows including Les Miserables and Jersey Boys. The theatre is operated by the Nederlander Organization, which also operates the Orpheum and the Golden Gate Theatre.
Its vision of America is hilariously warped, full of gun-toting desperados and meth bars where everyone is blond. The cast of actors, led by a fine Albus Potter, make the most of the material, including one especially priceless scene in a fancy-dress McDonald’s with roller-skating waiters.
The Orpheum Theatre
The Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco is one of the city’s iconic theaters. Originally opened in 1926, the Orpheum was designed by West Coast theater architect Benjamin Marcus Priteca as a showcase for vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages. The theater features a dramatic facade patterned after a 12th-century French cathedral.
It is now the flagship theater for Shorenstein Hays Nederlander (SHN). It hosts world premieres, pre-Broadway engagements and limited West Coast runs of Broadway shows.
The current production of “Les Miserable” is a must-see. The show is a musical masterpiece that combines soaring music, epic poetry and stunning scenery to capture the heart of Victor Hugo’s novel. Its sublime and sultry choreography by Tony-winner Sonya Tayeh throbs with passion, power and consummate artistry. Actors such as Libby Lloyd, Harper Miles and Nicci Claspell evoke a sense of wonder and the audience can’t help but be spellbound by their performances.
The San Francisco Playhouse
Founded in 2003, the San Francisco Playhouse is a thriving theater company. It is located on the second story of the Kensington Park Hotel and offers a variety of stage productions to inspire artistic interest among the city’s youth. The company produces plays and musicals that receive critical acclaim.
SF Playhouse’s vibrant production of A Chorus Line makes the perfect introduction to this iconic musical, and director Bill English captures its spirit and energy with skill. The cast is particularly strong, with a snarky and wounded Bobby (Nicholas Yenson), jaded Sheila (Alison Ewing), insecure Maggie (Danielle Cheiken) and soaring vocalist Chachi Delgado all shining. Melissa Wolfklain is hilarious regaling the benefits of plastic surgery as Val, and James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante’s book holds up beautifully.
Oakland Theater Project
Founded in 2012, the Oakland theater company has built a reputation for producing provocative plays at unconventional venues like churches, parking lots, and even garages. The company’s mission is to bring the stories of ordinary people to a wider audience, and it has done exactly that with its current production, Binding Ties.
In this play, two low-wage workers squabble and muse about their lives. Their existential musings are reminiscent of Beckett’s plays, and this is a well-written, thought-provoking piece. The acting is superb and Carlos Aceves’ haphazard spread of draperies on an oddly-shaped stage makes the show work well.
Next up is the Bay Area premiere of Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living, directed by Emilie Whelan (A Streetcar Named Desire). And in fall, OTP will present the West Coast premiere of Taylor Mac’s Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, the nation’s leading professional non-profit theatre company in Palo Alto, is seeking a director of development to help them grow their audience base and secure new sources of revenue. The job is ideal for a candidate with experience in fundraising, strategic planning, community/civic engagement, board and staff development, and social responsibility campaigns.
The theater has been struggling since the pandemic shutdown, and subscription and single ticket sales have declined significantly. Earlier this month, the company warned that it could shut down in November without a $3 million lifeline from the community.
Giovanna Sardelli, the recently named artistic director of TheatreWorks, said the company is on the edge of collapse because it has run out of money. It is desperately trying to raise the money.