San Francisco's Renovated Curran Theatre Will Reopen in Early 2017; CURRAN UNDER CONSTRUCTION Programming Announced

Carole Shorenstein Hays, the Tony® Award winning producer and San Francisco's leading theatrical presenter, has announced plans for the future of the Curran theatre.

Following an extensive renovation project, that is currently underway, the historic theater will reopen as a full-sized venue in early 2017. During the renovation, a special festival of intimate and non-traditional programming, called "Curran: Under Construction," will be presented. Throughout "Curran: Under Construction," commencing later this month, audiences will enter through the Curran's stage door alleyway (immortalized in the classic film All About Eve) and be placed on stage alongside the action.

"This endeavor is inspired by the spirit of the Bay Area, which is on the cutting edge of so many worldshaping industries," Ms. Shorenstein Hays said in a statement. "It's my goal to create a beacon here for theatrical artists and audiences the world over. We want to take giant creative risks and, in doing so, introduce new audiences to the power of the theater."

Shorenstein Hays will be scouring the world's stages, including London and Asia, in curating the postconstruction programming for the Curran.

"'Curran: Under Construction' will allow us to utilize this great house during its renovation, and to stage exciting works in new ways," she added. "When we reopen as a full-sized venue, we will continue our commitment to programming daring and excellent works that otherwise might not find their way to a major West Coast theater."

"Curran: Under Construction," which features an array of diverse and ground-breaking works, each with ties to the Bay Area, will kick off with The Events, beginning its four-night engagement at the Curran on

Wednesday, September 23. For additional information and the entire current line-up of "Curran: Under Construction" offerings, bringing such internationally celebrated artists and companies as Dave Malloy, Taylor Mac, Geoff Sobelle, Steve Cuiffo, Stew, and Story Pirates to the Curran's stage, please see the attached schedule. Tickets for "Curran: Under Construction" offerings are priced from $25 and $50 and can be purchased exclusively via Eventbrite by visiting SFCURRAN.COM.

Built in 1922, the over 90-year-old historic Curran theatre is undergoing its first major rehabilitation since the days of The Phantom of the Opera, when minor work was done to improve the building's accessibility and life safety. Today the renovation, led by architect Perkins + Will, with interior design by Brian Murphy, is much more extensive, holistic and celebratory. It involves a wide range of improvements and enhancements of the public facilities offered as part of the contemporary theater experience envisioned for patrons. Newly remodeled lobbies will grace the Geary Street side of the theater, and will feature three bars, digital displays, work by local artists and festive and elegant lighting. The auditorium interior will be returned to its former glory, with refurbished seats, new carpeting, lighting, and much more. Generous stairs and an elevator will take patrons to the totally reinvented lower level featuring generous new restroom facilities for men and women. An entirely new state-of-the art electrical system is being added, and the Curran's mechanical systems will be replaced, ensuring greater theatrical flexibility and audience comfort. The addition of contemporary life safety features and removal of barriers to access are also important renovation features.

After the 1906 earthquake, 445 Geary St. remained empty for 12 years, until an ambitious 37-year-old Midwesterner decided it was time for San Franciscans to have access to the finest theatrical productions touring from Europe and New York. Born into a wealthy Missouri family that owned a wheel manufacturing company, Homer Curran veered away from the family business and instead opted to pursue his passion for the arts. He traveled west to study music at Stanford University, where he established himself as an accomplished pianist and composed scores for musicals and operas on campus. After graduating, Curran first worked as a house manager for a theatre in Atlanta and then spent eight years managing San Francisco's Cort Theatre, which he would eventually own. The construction of the Curran Theatre became possible in 1920, when Curran formed a business partnership with The Shubert Organization, one of the most successful New York theatrical organizations of the 20th century. To compete with a rival company, Shubert created a national chain of theatres, including one in San Francisco. Having spent more than a decade in San Francisco's theatre business, Curran was able to provide the Shuberts with an invaluable understanding of local audiences' interests. In exchange, the Shuberts paid to erect the Curran Theatre. The Shuberts' international acclaim enabled the theatre to book first-rate productions from New York and Europe. On Sept. 11, 1922, the Curran Theatre opened to the public with a performance of Mike Angelo, a play about a young Italian painter who eventually becomes a successful artist in New York. The audience was not only captivated by the performance but also impressed by the grand design of the theatre. Unlike many vaudeville houses of the time that were defined by their gaudiness, the Curran had an elegant, refined appearance. Along with the crystal chandeliers and a rose and tan interior, the lobby was adorned with artwork by Arthur Matthews, a celebrated artist who was a key figure in the California Decorative Style movement. As crowds flocked to performances, the Curran quickly gained a reputation as being "the handsomest theatre on the Coast." Since the Curran opened its doors in 1922, it has staged more than 8,000 performances and showcased countless stars such as Isadora Duncan, Ingrid Bergman, the Lunts, Edith Piaf, Katharine Hepburn, Carol Channing, Sir Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman.

Carole Shorenstein Hays' passion is nurturing American playwrights and bringing their distinctive voices to our national stages. Of the many playwrights whose work Carole has cultivated, four of them have won their first Pulitzer Prize for plays she produced. For three of those playwrights, it was their first time on Broadway. Over the course of her career as a producer, Carole has garnered eight Tony Awards. Carole served as sole Broadway producer of August Wilson's Fences for its original 1987 production (Tony Award for Best Play) and, with Scott Rudin, she also produced the 2010 revival (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play). She served as lead producer of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (Tony Award for Best Play; Pulitzer Prize for Drama). She is currently producing the Tony Award winning Broadway production of Fun Home. Her past Broadway productions also include Take Me Out (Tony Award for Best Play), Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia (Tony Award for Best Play), David Auburn's Proof, Tony Kushner's Caroline, orChange, Suzan-Lori Park's Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize for Drama), among others. A lifelong member of the Bay Area community, Carole is married to Dr. Jeffrey Hays and has two children, Walter and Grace.

Photo Credit: Scott Saraceno



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