3 Off-the-Beaten Path Theater Acts in San Francisco

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If you’er a music lover, you’ll want to take note of three theaters doing some creative work in San Francisco. I’m a huge fan of Broadway, jazzy tunes and Cabaret and while New York might “own” that world, it doesn’t mean you can’t find some compelling performances elsewhere in the country. Recently, I took in three different acts all of which has great talent behind the productions. Let’s start with Cabaret vocalist Sandra McKnight who has an act she calls Get Happy Now, which is centered around happiness.

She sang at Society Cabaret, an organization that is churning out some great performances in the heart of San Francisco. On piano was David Austin who is also Musical Director. An uninhibited celebration of Happiness, Love and Joy! Sandra brought her warmth, spirit and humor from Santa Fe, NM to perform her musical adventure of Broadway songs, Standards and Light-hearted Anecdotes. Tunes by Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Kander & Ebb, Carole King, James Taylor, Sophie Tucker.  All things Cabaret, she chooses very sensitive and emotional ballads on love, joy, relationships, including with yourself, and happiness. As part of her act, she also does a sexy red-hot tribute to Sophie Tucker.  

Inside, it’s intimate and yet traditional, where you sit around very small tables to watch the performance; the venue is so small that there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. There offer small plates, cocktails, wine and beer so you have dinner on-site if you wish.



Society Cabaret

636 Jackson Street

(Between Powell & Mason)

San Francisco, CA 

Performing at the Firescape Theater is a production called Emmitt & Ava, which was written and directed by Dominic Hoffman and produced by Robert Zimmerman. it’s a small cast, with Thomas Cokenias playing Wyatt Cooke, Norman Gee playing Eban Carter, Eric Reid playing Evan Carter and Danielle Thys playing Emma Cooke.

It is a contemporary tale of misunderstanding between two families who, prompted by tragedy. A humorous and yet tragic tale, Wyatt and Emma Cooke return home only to receive a visit from a stranger. But what’s even more startling is their realization that this surprise guest will impact their lives forever. Now two families find themselves highly motivated to communicate with each other in the wake of tragedy.

The play deals with race relations and tensions between a white family whose daughter was dating the son of a black family, only that the white family never knew it until a tragic car accident happens and both are killed. Both families grasp at hope, try to deal with sorrow and grief, while coming together to make sense of it all. Conflict erupts between races in a beautifully authentic but raw way that all of us, whether black or white, can resonate with, especially if you’re over 40. The timing of this theme is fitting with growing tensions in America and is sure to pull on your heartstrings. Emmitt & Ava weaves some humor into its tale of woe, providing perspective on life and how we cope with hardship. It shows each side’s world and perspective, and in their sorrow, you grieve with them for the loss of their children and for the blatant reality check that race relations in this country still has a long way to go.

For more information, visit http://www.bhpsanfrancisco.com/. 


Firescape Theater

414 Mason Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

If you’re an entertainment fan, especially of unusually interesting and creative performances, you’ll love the alternative Cabaret mash-ups that Misfit Cabaret puts together in San Francisco. We recently went to their latest show, which is held at Great Star Theater. Located on Jackson Street in the heart of China Town, there are 14 local Chinese and Asian restaurants on the same block, making it easy and fun to grab a bite to eat before or after the show.

Misfit Cabaret is a splendiferous variety show centered around magical music with a rotating cast of eccentric performers. Each show is completely different– with changing themes such as the cult filmed Cinepheilia and the naughty nautical WhimseaFrom burlesque to drag to circus to magic, you never know what you’re going to see.  I love the concept and we had a boat loada fun. Some people get dressed up to match the theme and later, a couple of dozen people get dragged up onto the stage to dance to the last song with the rest of the crew and performers. For each new Misfit Cabaret, emcee Kat Robichaud writes two original songs keeping with the theme of the evening and plays them with her Darling Misfit band, as well as a special medley to kick off the evening and welcome in the spirits of San Francisco’s saucy past. There’s comedy, romance, and bawdiness around every corner. We loved her tribute to David Bowie song which she sang at the performance last week.

There’s Prosecco, beer and wine on-site as well as popcorn to add to the evening’s festivities and later, beach balls were thrown into the audience just to mix things up a bit and add to the fun. Another fun factoid to note is that the very old and very authentic Great Star Theater, a local underground miscreant, is meant to be haunted. For more info, go to http://www.katrobichaud.com/ and click on Misfit Cabaret or simply google Misfit Cabaret. They’re having a “bloody” themed one in October so be on the look out (venues changed however) but more info on the Great Star Theater and performances there can be found at http://www.greatstartheater.org. 


Great Star Theater

636 Jackson Street

San Francisco, CA 94133


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