San Francisco Playhouse

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San Francisco Playhouse
SF Playhouse
The Playhouse
San Francisco Playhouse at 450 Post Street.jpg
Address450 Post Street
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Coordinates37°47′18″N 122°24′32″W / 37.7882°N 122.4089°W / 37.7882; -122.4089Coordinates: 37°47′18″N 122°24′32″W / 37.7882°N 122.4089°W / 37.7882; -122.4089

San Francisco Playhouse (formerly SF Playhouse) is a non-profit theater company in San Francisco, California, founded in 2003 by Bill English and Susi Damilano.[1][2] The theater stages nine plays yearly, including Broadway plays, musicals, and world and regional premieres.[3]

San Francisco Playhouse has been home to several world premieres, including Bauer by Lauren Gunderson, Ideation by Aaron Loeb, Grounded by George Brant, and Seared by Theresa Rebeck.[4][5][6]

As part of its mission to shape and promote the growth of performing arts in the Bay Area, San Francisco Playhouse created the Rising Star Program, which provides theatre tickets to under-served youths in San Francisco and surrounding communities.[7]

In 2015, the theater company was awarded the American Theatre Wing's National Theatre Company Grant.[8]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco Playhouse became one of the first theatre companies in the United States to get permission from Actors' Equity Association to film live actors on stage.[9] The company's on-demand stream of Art by Yasmina Reza premiered on October 24, 2020, to positive reviews.[10]


Change of venue[edit]

In 2012, San Francisco Playhouse moved from 533 Sutter Street to a 199-seat theater at 450 Post Street, inside of the Kensington Park Hotel.[7] The building was constructed in 1924 by architect Anthony Heinsberger as a lodge for the Elks.[11][12] The Elks began leasing out portions of the building in 1981.[11] Their former meeting hall was converted into a 750-seat theater by architect Gene Angell in 1982 for producers Jonathan Reisis and Joseph Perrotti.[11][12] They presented more than 60 productions in the space as Theatre on the Square.[11] When Theatre on the Square closed down in 2002,[13] the theater served as the home of other groups, including The Post Street Theatre[12] and The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre,[14] before becoming the site of San Francisco Playhouse.[15] During its tenure with The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, renovations were made including reducing the audience capacity to 400.[14] The San Francisco Playhouse further reduced the seating to 199 prior to their inaugural production in the space in October 2012.[16]


Rising Star Program[edit]

The Rising Star Theatre Attendance Program inspires a new generation of theatregoers by providing Bay Area high school students with a four play season subscription. As part of the TAP, students receive a pre-show lesson plan that includes theatre games/warm-ups, scene teasers and comprehension questions; the post-show lesson provides further enrichment with activities that draw on their experience as audience members. Rising Stars also participate in an immediate post-show discussion with the cast and director. They then write a letter to their adult subscriber-sponsor describing their reactions to the performances.

The Rising Star Program now serves 600 youth from 19 local high schools. According to the company, Approximately 50% have no formal drama program at their schools, 75% are economically disadvantaged, and 90% are minorities. In a survey conducted by the company, 25% of students reported that they hadn't seen a single play prior to attending a San Francisco Playhouse production, and another 50% had only seen one to two shows before participating in the Rising Star Program.

Sandbox Series[edit]

The presentations have limited design elements and are being promoted primarily online thus reducing the costs and risk of each production. By reducing risk, the Sandbox Series is designed to bridge the gap between “readings” and “main stage” productions and thus provide increased exposure to the new voices in American Theater.


Opening Play Writer Director
2023/06 A Chorus Line Marvin Hamlisch (music), Edward Kleban (lyrics), James Kirkwood Jr., Nicholas Dante (book) Bill English
2023/05 Chinglish David Henry Hwang Jeffrey Lo
2023/03 Clue Sandy Rustin Susi Damilano
2023/01 Cashed Out Claude Jackson, Jr. Tara Moses
2022/11 As You Like It (musical adaptation) William Shakespeare (book) | Shaina Taub (music and lyrics) Susi Damilano
2022/09 Indecent Paula Vogel Susi Damilano
2022/06 Follies James Goldman (book) Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) Bill English
2022/05 The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin Jessica Huang Jeffrey Lo
2022/03 Water by the Spoonful Quiara Alegría Hudes Denise Blasor
2022/01 Heroes of the Fourth Turning Will Arbery Bill English
2021/11 Twelfth Night William Shakespeare (book) Shaina Taub (music and lyrics) Susi Damilano
2021/10 The Great Khan Michael Gene Sullivan Darryl V. Jones
2021/08 Starting Here, Starting Now David Shire (music) Richard Maltby, Jr. (lyrics) Susi Damilano
2021/07 The Song of Summer Lauren Yee Bill English
2021/06 Hold These Truths Jeanne Sakata Jeffrey Lo
2021/05 Shoot Me When... (streaming video production) Ruben Grijalva Susi Damilano
2021/04 I Was Right Here (streaming video production) Julia Brothers Padraic Lillis
2021/03 [hieroglyph] (streaming video production) Erika Dickerson-Despenza Margo Hall
2020/12 Songs for a New World (streaming video production) Jason Robert Brown Bill English
2020/11 The Jewelry Box (streaming video production) Brian Copeland David Ford
2020/10 Art (streaming video production) Yasmina Reza Bill English
2020/06 Follies (Production canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic) Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) James Goldman (book) Bill English
2020/05 The Clean House (Production canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic) Sarah Ruhl Susi Damilano
2020/03 Real Women Have Curves (Production canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic) Josefina López TBD
2020/01 Tiny Beautiful Things Cheryl Strayed (book), Nia Vardalos (stage adaptation) Bill English
2019/11 Groundhog Day (musical) Tim Minchin (music and lyrics) Danny Rubin (book) Susi Damilano
2019/09 Dance Nation Clare Barron Becca Wolff
2019/06 Cabaret John Kander (music) Fred Ebb (lyrics) Joe Masteroff (book) Susi Damilano
2019/04 Significant Other Joshua Harmon Lauren English
2019/03 Yoga Play Dipika Guha Bill English
2019/01 King of the Yees Lauren Yee Joshua Kahan Brody
2018/11 Mary Poppins Julian Fellowes (book) Sherman Brothers (music and lyrics) Susi Damilano
2018/09 You Mean to Do Me Harm Christopher Chen Bill English
2018/07 Sunday in the Park with George James Lapine (book) Stephen Sondheim (Music and Lyrics) Bill English
2018/05 An Entomologist's Love Story Melissa Ross Giovanna Sardelli
2018/03 The Effect Lucy Prebble Bill English
2018/01 Born Yesterday Garson Kanin Susi Damilano
2017/11 A Christmas Story: The Musical Joseph Robinette (book) Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Music & Lyrics) Susi Damilano
2017/09 Barbecue Robert O'Hara Margo Hall
2017/07 La Cage aux Folles Harvey Fierstein (book) Jerry Herman (Music and Lyrics) Bill English
2017/05 The Roommate Jen Silverman Becca Wolff
2017/03 Noises Off Michael Frayn Susi Damilano
2016/07 The Christians Lucas Hnath Bill English
2016/11 She Loves Me Joe Masteroff (book) Sheldon Harnick (Lyrics) Jerry Bock (Music) Susi Damilano
2016/09 Seared Theresa Rebeck Margarett Perry
2016/07 City of Angels Larry Gelbart (book) Cy Coleman (Music) David Zippel (Lyrics) Bill English
2016/05 Red Velvet Lolita Chakrabarti Margo Hall
2016/03 Colossal Andrew Hinderaker Jon Tracy
2016/01 The Nether[17] Jennifer Haley Bill English
2015/11 Stage Kiss[18] Sarah Ruhl Susi Damilano
2015/09 Dogfight[19] Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Bill English
2015/07 Company[20] George Furth Susi Damilano
2015/05 Trouble Cometh[21] Richard Dresser May Adrales
2015/03 Stupid Fucking Bird[22] Aaron Posner Susi Damilano
2015/01 Tree[23] Julie Hébert Jon Tracy
2014/11 Promises, Promises[24] Neil Simon Bill English
2014/09 Ideation[25] Aaron Loeb Josh Costello
2014/06 Into the Woods[26] James Lapine (book) Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) Susi Damilano
2014/05 Seminar[27] Theresa Rebeck Amy Glazer
2014/03 Bauer[2] Lauren Gunderson Bill English
2014/01 Jerusalem[28] Jez Butterworth Bill English
2013/11 Storefront Church John Patrick Shanley Joy Carlin
2013/10 The Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo Rajiv Joseph Bill English
2013/07 Camelot Alan Jay Lerner (book & lyrics) & Frederick Loewe (music) Bill English
2013/05 Abigail's Party[29] Mike Leigh Amy Glazer
2013/03 Reasons to Be Pretty Neil LaBute Susi Damilano
2013/01 The Motherfucker with the Hat Stephen Adly Guirgis Bill English
2012/12 Bell, Book and Candle John Van Druten Bill English
2012/10 Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson Alex Timbers (script) & Michael Friedman (music & lyrics Jon Tracy
2012/07 My Fair Lady George Bernard Shaw (book), Alan Lerner (lyrics) & Frederick Loewe (music) Bill English
2012/05 A Behanding in Spokane Martin McDonagh Susi Damilano
2012/03 The Aliens Annie Baker Lila Neugebauer
2012/01 Becky Shaw Gina Gionfriddo Amy Glazer
2011/11 Period of Adjustment Tennessee Williams Bill English
2011/09 Honey Brown Eyes Stefanie Zadravec Susi Damilano
2011/06 Tigers Be Still Kim Rosenstock Amy Glaxer
2011/05 Reborning Zayd Dohrn Josh Costello
2011/03 Wirehead Benjamin Brown Susi Damilano
2011/01 Harper Regan Simon Stephens Amy Glazer
2010/11 Coraline David Greenspan (book) & Stephin Merritt (music & lyrics) Bill English
2010/09 The Sunset Limited Cormac McCarthy Bill English
2010/06 The Fantasticks Tom Jones (book & lyrics) & Harvey Schmidt (music) Bill English
2010/04 Slasher Allison Moore Jon Tracy
2010/03 Den of Thieves Stephen Adly Guirgis Susi Damilano
2010/01 Animal out of Paper Rajiv Joseph Amy Glazer
2009/11 She Stoops to Comedy David Greenspan Mark Rucker
2009/09 First Day of School Billy Aronson Chris Smith
2009/06 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Dale Wasserman Bill English
2009/05 Dead Man's Cell Phone Sarah Ruhl Susi Damilano
2009/03 The Story Tracey Scott Wilson Margo Hall
2009/01 Landscape of the Body John Guare Bill English
2008/12 Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party Aaron Loeb Chris Smith
2008/10 Shining City Conor McPherson Amy Glazer
2008/07 Tea & Crisp Richard Louis James Richard Louis James
2008/06 Cabaret Joe Masteroff (book)& Fred Ebb (lyrics)& John Kender (music) Bill English
2008/05 Bug Tracy Letts Jon Tracy
2008/03 Coronado Dennis Lehane Susi Damilano
2008/01 The Scene Theresa Rebeck Amy Glazer
2007/12 Mrs Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge Christopher Durang Joy Carlin
2007/09 Six Degrees of Separation Jon Guare Bill English
2007/06 Man of La Mancha Dale Wasserman (book), Joe Darion (lyrics) & Mitch Leigh (music) Jon Tracy
2007/05 First Person Shooter Aaron Loeb Jon Tracy
2007/03 Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train Stephen Adly Guirgis Bill English
2007/01 Three Seconds in the Key Deb Margolin Leigh Fondakowski
2006/11 Reckless Craig Lucas Louis Parnell
2006/09 The Ride Down Mount Morgan Arthur Miller Joy Carlin
2006/06 Putting it Together Stephen Sondheim
2006/05 Roulette Paul Weitz Susi Damilano
2006/03 Our Lady of 121st Street Stephen Adly Guirgis
2006/01 The Mystery Plays Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
2005/11 Prelude to a Kiss Craig Lucas
2005/09 The Crucible Arthur Miller
2005/06 Art Yasmina Reza Robin Stanton
2005/04 Kimberly Akimbo David Lindsay-Abaire
2005/02 Monster Neal Bell Bill English
2004/11 Our Town Thornton Wilder Bill English
2004/09 The Fantasticks Tom Jones (Book & Lyrics) Harvey Schmidt (music) Bill English
2004/04 The Smell of the Kill Michelle Lowe Bill English
2004/02 The Glory of Living Rebecca Gilman Bill English
2003/12 It Had to be You Renee Taylor & Joseph Bologna

Sandbox Series[edit]

Opening Play Writer Director
2020/08 Primary User (Production canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic) Nate Eppler Lauren English
2020/02 Born in East Berlin Rogelio Martinez Margarett Perry
2019/10 The Daughters Patricia Cotter Jessica Holt
2018 Washed Up on the Potomac Lynn Rosen José Zayas
2018 In Braunau Dipika Guha Susannah Martin
2018 Non-Player Character Walt McGough Lauren English
2016 Zenith Kirsten Greenidge Lauren English
2016 You Mean to Do Me Harm Christopher Chen Bill English
2016 All of What You Love and None of What You Hate Phillip Howze Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe
2016 The Rules Dipika Guha Susannah Martin
2016/03 On Clover Road Steven Dietz Susi Damilano
2015/08 1 2 3 Lila Rose Kaplan Lauren English
2014/10 77% Rinne Groff Marissa Wolf
2014/08 From Red to Black Rhett Rossi Susi Damilano
2013/09 Ideation Aaron Loeb Josh Costello
2013/02 Inevitable Jordan Puckett Lauren English
2012/08 Grounded George Brant Susannah Martin
2012/06 Reunion Kenn Rabin Louis Parnell
2012/02 Private Parts Graham Gremore Bill English
2011/10 Track in a Box Tim Barsky Jon Tracy
2010/10 Seven Days Daniel Heath Susi Damilano
2010/02 Safe House Geetha Reddy Nancy Carlin
2010/05 The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry William Bivins Bill English


  1. ^ Jones, Chad (June 22, 2014). "S.F. Playhouse unearths the layers of 'Into the Woods'". SF Gate. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Heymont, George (May 27, 2014). "As Seen Through a Woman's Eyes". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  3. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (July 20, 2012). "SF Playhouse moving to a bigger house". SF Gate. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Stark, Clinton (March 24, 2014). "Theater Review: 'Bauer' and the art of not painting". Stark Insider. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  5. ^ Jones, Chad (October 10, 2018). "How a Sandbox moved to San Francisco Playground — and New York, too". Datebook | San Francisco Arts & Entertainment Guide. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  6. ^ Meyer, Dan (October 29, 2019). "Read Reviews for Off-Broadway's Seared, Starring Raúl Esparza and Krysta Rodriguez". Playbill. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Sanchez, Don. "SF theater company celebrates tenth anniversary". ABC 7 News. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  8. ^ "American Theatre Wing Announces Recipients of 2015 National Theatre Company Grants". Playbill. September 3, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "San Francisco Playhouse Announces On-Stage Filming for ART". Broadway World. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "SF Playhouse streams lively version of Yasmina Reza's 'Art'". San Francisco Examiner. October 28, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d Grant, Gary. "History of Theatre on the Square". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Hurwitt, Robert (April 30, 2003). "Post Street to start with 2-man hit / 'Thwak' takes swing at popular culture". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Winn, Steven (August 17, 2002). "Theatre on the Square to close / Producer cites rent, market downturn". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Hurwitt, Robert (June 30, 2011). "Lorraine Hansberry Theatre signs deal on new home". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  15. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (December 21, 2015). "Hansberry Theatre keeps dream of survival alive". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  16. ^ "San Francisco Playhouse—Venue". Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Jones, Chad (January 25, 2016). "Provocative, brilliant 'Nether' world at S.F. Playhouse". SF Gate. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  18. ^ Rowe, Georgia (November 23, 2015). "'Stage Kiss' a charming valentine to theater". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  19. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (September 28, 2015). "'Dogfight': Marines' fraught last night in S.F. before Vietnam". SF Gate. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  20. ^ "Love, marriage side by side in SF Playhouse's lively 'Company' - The San Francisco Examiner". The San Francisco Examiner. July 16, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  21. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (May 17, 2015). "'Trouble' cagily probes reality TV at SF Playhouse". SF Gate. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  22. ^ Mannino, Jason (April 15, 2015). "San Francisco Playhouse Debuts Bay Area Premiere of Stupid Fucking Bird". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  23. ^ Jones, Chad (January 26, 2015). "Theater review: "Tree" explores tangled roots of family". SF Gate. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
  24. ^ Katz, Leslie (November 13, 2014). "SF Playhouse takes swing at 'Promises, Promises'". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  25. ^ D'Souza, Karen (August 1, 2014). "Review: 'Ideation,' a gripping dark comedy, returns to San Francisco Playhouse". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  26. ^ Sokol, Robert (July 1, 2014). "SF Playhouse makes happy journey 'Into the Woods'". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  27. ^ D'Souza, Karen (May 5, 2014). "Review: 'Seminar' a snarky triumph at San Francisco Playhouse". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  28. ^ Lin, Michelle (February 3, 2014). "San Francisco Playhouse's 'Jerusalem' squanders technical excellence with erratic plot". The Daily Californian. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Heymont, George (December 10, 2013). "A Pair of Pitch Perfect Productions". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2014.

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