What are the best places to see a play in San Francisco?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Kimberley Lovato

From large Broadway productions to inimate playhouses, theater lovers won't be disappointed in San Francisco. Check out these local gems.

San Francisco Playhouse might be the city's newest, but it has quickly moved center stage when it comes to quality professional theater in an intimate setting on Union Square. The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) opened its doors in 1967 and is  recognized for iboth classical works and boldcontemporary performances.  A.C.T. has nearly 3,000 students in its coservatory. For big name musical productions, the Curran is where San Franciscans go. Located just off Union Square, many Broadway national tours have stopped at the Curran including The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Much like the Curran, the Orpheum also hosts largescale musicals as well as other theatrical wonders.The Orpheum has been named a San Francisco Historical Landmark and was built in 1926. For an intimate theater experience, try the Custom Made Theater Co. whose home is the Gough Street Playhouse, a small stage where the audience sits on 3-sides and gets up close to the actors who perform an ecclectic lineup of shows each year.

Katie Sweeney

Although San Francisco doesn't have Broadway, there are plenty of places to catch a theater production in the city. Your best resource is the website San Francisco Theatre. It's a one stop shop for showtime information, ticket prices, and play details. The major theaters — Curran, Orpheum, Golden Gate, and the Cow Palace — are all featured. Musicals are generally shown at the Curran, Orpheum, or Post Street theaters.

San Francisco's premiere theater company is A.C.T. or the American Conservatory Theater. This company puts on a variety of productions from Greek classics like Elektra to modern sensations like Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. During the holiday season, their rendition of A Christmas Carol is not to be missed. 

Another great theater company that's located in the East Bay, but is worth crossing the Bay Bridge for, is the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. This Tony Award winning regional theater has helped send seven show to Broadway in the past seven years. The theater is small and intimate which means there isn't a bad seat in the entire house.

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