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San Francisco Playhouse announces 2019/20 Season; GROUNDHOG DAY, FOLLIES, and More

San Francisco Playhouse announces 2019/20 Season; GROUNDHOG DAY, FOLLIES, and More

San Francisco Playhouse announced today the six plays that will comprise its 2019-20 Mainstage Season. With a lineup that includes both brave new works and re-imagined classics, the company solidifies its commitment to providing a home for the most essential voices in theatre. The Playhouse's three-play Sandbox Series devoted to developing new works will be announced at a later date.

"It is our passion to present the broadest range of what theatre can offer," said Bill English, Artistic Director. "We seek to collaborate with artists who speak from widely divergent perspectives. So we are particularly thrilled about this season, which spans from one the hottest off-Broadway plays of last season to the San Francisco professional premiere of a Sondheim classic. This season focuses on plays that show us the light at the end of the tunnel, that help us believe that hope and redemption are always possible."

The San Francisco Playhouse 2019-2020 Season will launch with the Bay Area premiere of the Off-Broadway smash hit Dance Nation by Clare Barron, followed Groundhog Day the Musical, an uproarious adaptation of the classic film. The new year will begin with Tiny Beautiful Things, Nia Vardalos's stirring and poignant play based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed, followed by Real Women Have Curves by Josefina López, a powerful and comedic microcosm of the Latina immigrant experience. In the spring, the Playhouse will revive Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House, a whimsical and touching romantic comedy that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The season will close with the long-awaited San Francisco professional premiere of Follies, Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's brilliant and timeless Tony Award-winning musical.


Bay Area Premiere

By Clare Barron
Directed by Becca Wolff

September 24 to November 9, 2019
Press Opening: Saturday, September 28, 2019

Somewhere in America, an army of pre-teen competitive dancers plots to take over the world. And if their new routine is good enough, they'll claw their way to the top at Nationals in Tampa Bay. Winner of the 2017 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Dance Nation is a play about ambition, growing up, and how to find our souls in the heat of it all.


Bay Area Premiere

Book by Danny Rubin; Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Directed by Susi Damilano; Music Direction by Dave Dobrusky

November 20, 2019 to January 18, 2020
Press Opening: Wednesday, November 27, 2019

It's February 2nd in Punxsutawney, PA, and a storm is coming. Phil Connors, a big-city weatherman, couldn't be more frustrated to be reporting on the small-town Groundhog Day Ceremony-until he finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. Stuck in an endless loop of arrogance and cynicism amongst the cheery townsfolk, Phil must learn to take advantage of his second, third, and fourth chances and break the cycle.


Bay Area Premiere

Based on the Book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for the Stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-Conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos
Directed by Bill English

January 28 to March 7, 2020
Press Opening: Saturday, February 1, 2020

Based on the acclaimed book by Cheryl Strayed (author of the best-selling Wild), Tiny Beautiful Things follows Sugar, an online advice columnist who uses her personal experiences to help the real-life readers who pour their hearts out to her. Tiny Beautiful Things is a play about reaching when you're stuck, healing when you're broken, and finding the courage to take on the questions that have no answers.


By Josefina López
Director to be announced

March 17 to April 25, 2020
Press Opening: Saturday, March 21, 2020

In a tiny window-less garment factory in East L.A., five Latina employees work to deliver an impossible order. As the threat of deportation and cultural pressures mount, the women must navigate issues of self-image while uniting to achieve their goals. Real Women Have Curves is a peek into the world of the Latina immigrant experience that celebrates women.


By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Susi Damilano

May 5 to June 20, 2020
Press Opening: Saturday, May 9, 2020

A serious career-oriented doctor, Lane, has hired a quirky Brazilian maid named Matilde. There's just one problem: Matilde, an aspiring comedienne, would much rather be telling jokes than mopping floors. When Lane is deserted by her husband, she must turn to the women in her life to help her put things back together. Winner of the 2004 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and a Pulitzer finalist, The Clean Housereminds us that there is humor and beauty to be found in life's most unlikely messes.


Musical Revival

Book by James Goldman; Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Produced Originally on Broadway by Harold Prince
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Bill English; Music Direction by Dave Dobrusky

July 1 to September 12, 2020
Press Opening: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It's 1971, and theatrical impresario Dimitri Weissmann is hosting a reunion of ex-Follies performers in his crumbling theatre, about to be demolished to make room for a parking lot. The artists gather for one last time, reminiscing about the past and contemplating their future, before the theater dims its lights for good. This legendary masterpiece is considered by many to be the greatest musical ever created. Surreal, sophisticated, compelling, heart wrenching and epic in scope, Follies uses the musical theatre as a metaphor for the collapse of American innocence and naiveté in the post-Kennedy years.

Sandbox Series

The Playhouse's award-winning Sandbox Series of World Premieres will begin its 11th season of new plays in 2019. The lineup for Sandbox Series will be released in a separate announcement this spring.

San Francisco Playhouse
Founded by Bill English and Susi Damilano in 2003, San Francisco Playhouse has been described by the New York Times as "a company that stages some of the most consistently high-quality work around, and deemed "ever adventurous" by the Bay Area News Group. Located in the heart of the Union Square Theater District, San Francisco Playhouse is the city's premier Off-Broadway company, an intimate alternative to the larger more traditional Union Square theater fare. San Francisco Playhouse provides audiences the opportunity to experience professional theater with top-notch actors and world-class design in a setting where they are close to the action. The company has received multiple awards for overall productions, acting, and design, including the SF Weekly Best Theatre Award and the Bay Guardian's Best Off-Broadway Theatre Award, as well as three consecutive Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Entire Production in the Bay Area (2016-2018). KQED/NPR recently described the company: "San Francisco Playhouse is one of the few theaters in the Bay Area that has a mission that actually shows up on stage. Artistic director Bill English's commitment to empathy as a guiding philosophical and aesthetic force is admirable and by living that mission, fascinating things happen onstage." San Francisco Playhouse is committed to providing a creative home and inspiring environment where actors, directors, writers, designers, and theater lovers converge to create and experience dramatic works that celebrate the human spirit.

Season Subscriptions are available immediately online at, or by calling the box office at 415-677-9596. Packages range from $170 to $450 for Premium Orchestra seating, with savings averaging over 40% off single ticket rates. Single Tickets will go on sale to the public on July 1, 2019.

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