Theatre extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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SAN FRANCISCO ●Attractions●Performing Arts

THEATRE

American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.)
  405 Geary St., in Geary Theater, 1 blk. from Union Square.  Nationally recognized for its groundbreaking productions of classical and contemporary works, this company’s conservatory was the first U.S. training program not affiliated with a college or university.  Danny Glover, Annette Bening, Denzel Washington, Benjamin Bratt, and Winona Ryder are among the distinguished former students. 

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image copyright Ron Scherl, courtesy of Steve Silver Productions
Beach Blanket Babylon  678 Green St./Powell St., in Club Fugazi, North Beach.  Going strong since 1974, this fast-moving and humorous musical revue is known for its colorful, creative costumes and elaborate oversize headdresses.  It is the longest running musical revue in the world.  The show changes periodically, adding new surprises.  Family-friendly Sunday matinees are the only performances open to minors under age 21, and is best suited for age 12 and older.  No alcohol is served then, there is no profanity or violence, and sexual puns are toned down.  Performances sell out regularly, so reserve tickets early and arrive when the doors open. 

Best of Broadway
SHN Curran Theatre  445 Geary St./Mason St. 
SHN Golden Gate Theatre  1 Taylor St. (at 6th and Market). 
San Francisco Orpheum Theatre   1192.  Market St./8th St.

EXIT Theatreplex  156 Eddy St./Taylor St.  This venue for independent theatre has four stages.  Many shows are produced by independent theater companies that take their own reservations and run their own box offices. 

Magic Theatre  Bldg. D, in Fort Mason Center, Marina District.  Founded in 1967 at the legendary, long-gone Steppenwolf bar in Berkeley, this is the only major Bay Area theatre company dedicated solely to producing new plays.  It has presented more than 250 premieres by some of the greatest writers of our time, including the 2001 world premiere of Sam Shepard’s The Late Henry Moss--starring Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Woody Harrelson, and Cheech Marin--and the 2004 world premiere of David Mamet’s Dr. Faustus. 

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image courtesy of venue
Marines’ Memorial Theatre  609 Sutter St./Mason St., 2nd floor,  in Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel.  Opened in 1926, this theater once hosted national radio broadcasts featuring greats Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.  From 1955 to 1965 it housed the legendary Actors' Workshop, and the American Conservatory Theatre began here in 1967.  New productions are scheduled regularly. 

San Francisco Mime Troupe  At neighborhood parks throughout Bay Area.  Free.  Since 1964, this Tony Award-winning troupe has presented sometimes caustic, always entertaining commentary on current events, political leaders, and the state of our world.  The troupe’s original productions combine music, satire, and comedy.  In spite of the description, children and families attend in large numbers and generally enjoy the spectacle. 

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San Francisco Playhouse  This intimate venue presents live performances in a beautifully restored space on the hotel’s second floor.  It is a gem, with carved coffered ceilings and antique tiles. 

Shelton Theater  533 Sutter St./Powell St., near Union Square.  Offbeat small productions are presented in four tiny theaters. 

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image courtesy of venue
Young Performers Theatre  Fort Mason, Bldg. C, Laguna St./Marina Blvd., Marina District.  A combination of professional adult performers and young actors in training, this company uses imaginative stage settings and costumes.  The fast-moving productions are usually short as well, making them a good introduction to theatre for children ages 4 through 10.  Past productions have included Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wind in the Willows, and The Secret Garden.

 

 

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