San Francisco is first when it comes to a lot of things; burritos, sourdough bread, standing in line for brunch, but we still are second in the US when it comes to big, theatrical productions. You win for now New York, but we’re hot on your heels. Many huge “Broadway” shows made their mark on the theater world right here in San Francisco. Without the Orpheum, the Curran, and Golden Gate theater, we might not have some of the best musicals ever to two-part harmonize. To give some examples of shows thats made it here before they made it anywhere, here are 5 Broadway shows that got their start in SF.
1. Legally Blonde The Musical
Oh my god you guys, Legally Blonde The Musical started in SF. Before heading to Broadway in April, 2007, this movie turned musical had their tryout run at the Golden Gate Theater. Once it moved to B-way, it was nominated for a bunch of Tony’s, won zero, but still joined millionaires’ club for weekly Broadway grosses. Not bad for a show that made an entire song and dance routine out of “bend and snap.”
2. The 2006 Revival of a Chorus Line
Not just a singular sensation, A Chorus Line first premiered Off Broadway in 1975, ran until 1990, then went into hibernation. It was awakened by the golden gated bells of San Francisco in 2006, where it got the chance to dance for you until it moved back to Broadway later that year. But gone, our love for A Chorus Line is never gone.
The “popular” Wizard of Oz musical prequel Wicked, opened at the Curran Theatre in 2003. Although they only spent a short time in our golden gated city, SF audiences were changed for the better and for good, when they got to witness the phenomenal Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth before they were “Frozen” in our hearts as gigantic Broadway legends.
4. Baz Luhrman’s La Bohème
Sunscreen promoting director Baz Luhrmann opened his directoral vision of the Italian classic opera La Boheme at the Curran Theatre in 2002. Known for his lavish backdrops, opulent costuming, and scenes where you either think you’ve developed magic powers or are on drugs, his version of the operatic romance in the city of lights was in the city by the bay first.
5. Mamma Mia!
Here we go again, the Abba musical wonder, Mamma Mia, made their stage debut in London, but SF took a chance on it in 2000 when it appeared for the first time to American audiences at the Orpheum Theatre. What better place for Mamma Mia than a city already full of dancing queens, amirite?
Next, we’re coming for the bagels.