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San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley: Theater, Specialized Theaters

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San Francisco Theater: Specialized Theater Companies Around San Francisco

The theater companies listed below dedicate their programming to special themes (ethnic, gay) or forms (old musicals, mime). Each listing features information on location, ticket prices, transportation/parking, theater history and other points of interest.

42nd Street Moon

As the company’s nostalgic name indicates, 42nd Street Moon is dedicated to preserving the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre through revivals of classic and rarely performed shows from Broadway’s golden age. Performances here have an intimate quality and are almost always performed without sound amplification. Production values are very basic; according to the company’s mission statement, “the material itself is the star, not the sets or elaborate …more…

Golden Thread

Golden Thread is dedicated to exploring Middle Eastern cultures and identities as expressed around the globe, offering alternative perspectives on the Middle East through the medium of theater. The company’s most notable productions have included Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes, Benedictus, Island of Animals, Karima’s City (which toured to Cairo in 2004), The Love Missile, Nine Armenians, and Deep Cut. Golden …more…

Jewish Theatre San Francisco

Founded in 1978, The Jewish Theatre of San Francisco creates and presents plays inspired by the Jewish experience, with the goal of making the culture resonant and meaningful to the diverse communities of the Bay Area. The company has created and developed scores of original theater works from such sources as Yiddish poetry, the legends of the Hasidim, and current events, …more…

Marin Shakespeare Festival (San Rafael, CA)

(July 6 – September 30, 2012) The Marin Shakespeare Festival was established in 1989 by Lesley and Robert Currier as a long-awaited replacement for the original Marin Shakespeare Festival, which ceased operations in 1973. Launched in 1990 with a production of As You Like It, the MSF has grown enough to now offer three productions per season – two by Shakespeare and one that usually has nothing at all to do with Shakespeare (Stoppard’s Travesties, Shaffer’s Amadeus, and Moliere’s Don Juan being three recent examples). All of these are played at the Forest Meadows Amphitheatre in San Raphael, an intimate, 500-seat sunken venue nestled in a copse on the campus of Dominican University. ...more...

San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT)

Despite its title, SFMT does not perform in pantomime; rather, the word “mime” is used in the sense “to mimic.” The company members consider themselves satirists who seek to make audiences laugh at the absurdities of contemporary life and, at the same time, see their causes.

In its pursuit of socially relevant theatre, SFMT has addressed a wide range of hot-button issues and subject matter, offering …more…

San Francisco Theater Festival (SFTF)

Entirely managed and run by volunteers, the San Francisco Theater Festival (SFTF) produces an annual, one-day summer event held in both indoor and outdoor venues at Yerba Buena Gardens, thereby presenting the region’s many theater companies to audiences that are diverse in terms of age, culture, and income level. The representative 2010 festival featured the work of such companies as Lamplighters Music Theatre, No …more…

Theatre of Yugen at NOHspace

Founded in 1978, Theatre of Yugen is an experimental ensemble dedicated to the pursuit of the intangible essence called “yugen” through exploration of dramatic and literary classics and the creation of world theater works. (“Yu” – “deep, quiet, other worldly”; “gen” – “subtle, profound, dark.”). The company follows a discipline of Japanese theatrical aesthetics — primarily the classical forms of Noh …more…

Theatre Rhinoceros

Billed as “The Oldest Queer Theater in America,” Theatre Rhino develops and produces shows that are intended to “enlighten, enrich, and explore both the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of our queer community.” The company made its debut in 1977 with The West Street Gang by Doric Wilson, staged in a South of Market leather bar named The Black and Blue. Rhino …more…

Woodminster Summer Musicals (Oakland, CA)

Woodminster Summer Musicals offers “musical theater under the stars” in a 1,500 seat, open-air amphitheater in Oakland. Since its foundation in 1967, the company has been dedicated to bringing classic American musicals to new generations. Among its recent productions have been such longtime favorites as The Music Man, Paint Your Wagon, Peter Pan, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, plus …more…