Hamilton Returning to San Francisco

Producer Jeffrey Seller announced the first week of August that HAMILTON will return to San Francisco in early 2019.  Information regarding engagement dates and how to purchase tickets will be announced at a later time.  

“I was blown away when the ticket-holders who had gathered outside the SHN Orpheum Theatre prior to the first preview cheered and cheered when the doors opened and they could finally take their seats.  Hamilton at the Orpheum Theatre is gorgeous, powerful and kinetic,” says Jeffrey Seller.  “We look forward to returning and staying for a long time in early 2019.”

hamilton-broadway-sanfrancisco-auction-02A second national tour will begin in Seattle in February 2018.  The musical first opened on Broadway in 2015; a Chicago company opened in September 2016; and the London company premieres November 2017.

HAMILTON is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.  

With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton

Solea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman & Amber Iman star as the Schuyler sisters in the national tour of "Hamilton" in San Francisco. (SHN)

Solea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman & Amber Iman star as the Schuyler
                          sisters in the national tour of “Hamilton” in San Francisco. (SHN)

HAMILTON’s creative team previously collaborated on the 2008 Tony Award®-Winning Best Musical IN THE HEIGHTS.

HAMILTON features scenic design by and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

The musical is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.

For information on HAMILTON, visit www.HamiltonOnBroadway.com


One on One with Kevin James from THE ILLUSIONISTS

THE ILLUSIONISTS is coming to SHN Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco to blow your mind from February 16-21, 2016 as part of a 45 city U.S. tour. Seven illusionists from around the world will perform family-friendly tricks and death defying stunts.

I got a chance to interview Kevin James – The Inventor, known for innovative illusions. He’s also a comedian and collector of the strange and unusual. He didn’t start out that way as he remembers his first attempt at magic as being “pretty awful”. He grew up in a small town with a population of 2,000 people. Being pre-internet days his only resources were 6 library books with basic ‘use stuff from around the house’ tricks, “I was the only one checking them out over and over. I remember trying it for my classmates and it was just really bad. It didn’t deter me, I kept moving forward”. We’re glad he did, as he’s one of the most prolific inventors of magic in the world today.

What’s the secret to his success? “The biggest secret in magic is that secrets don’t matter,” he says. He told me about all the work that goes into a great performance including storyline, mood, sound, costumes, the technical crew and timing. “It’s the 1,000s of other things you have to think about that matter. Penn and Teller can show you how something works and immediately fool you with it afterwards.” Magic is about making things interesting, “It’s the artistic interpretation that’s impressive to watch”. Want to know more, continue reading the rest of the interview below.

Kevin James - The Inventor

What inspired you to get into magic?

Most of the magicians all have the same story; we all got hooked when we were a kid. I think most kids are fascinated with magic at some point and, the lucky ones; we never grow out of it. For me it was a love at first sight, I just completely knew that that’s exactly what I wanted to do the rest of my life, instantly. I was so enamored by it and I wanted to share that feeling, that feeling I had when I saw it. I wanted to give that feeling to everyone else, that sense of wonder. I never ever wanted to be a fireman or astronaut or that other stuff that kids really like or think they’re going to do, it was magic the whole time.

What was the first performance that you saw?

Now in hindsight, I realize that the performer was not that great. He was a very average performer but for me, it was just mind blowing seeing it for the first time. He came to our elementary school and did a show for the school.

Has one of your performances ever gone wrong? How did you handle it?

Let’s just say that everything has gone wrong. That’s why you have to do 1,000s and 1000’s of shows to experience all those things that can go wrong. The list is just too huge to mention. You know, you learn each time something happens and make sure it doesn’t happen again and you’re better for it afterwards. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right.

Kevin James - The Inventor

You’ve traveled around the world. Which country seems to have the most enthusiastic audience?

You know it’s funny, I’ve performed in 91 countries so far and the biggest reaction we ever got was in I think, Ecuador, because I don’t think they’ve ever seen a big magic show before or any magic for that matter. We were use to a certain level of reaction and it was double in Ecuador and I think it was just the element of surprise that they had just never had the opportunity to see magic live like that because magic is much better live than on TV.

Which one of your performances gets the most reaction from an audience?

That’s kind of hard to say because I try to elicit a different emotion with each trick, you know sometimes its sweet and innocent, sometimes it nostalgic, sometimes it’s shocking and visually arresting. I just try to elicit all these different emotions. I think, probably the thing I call, The Operation. Cutting a person in half is a classic premise, it was first invented in 1921 but it’s always been done inside a box, put the blades in and separate the box, I decided to try to do it without the box. So, there’s a terrible accident on stage with a chainsaw and the poor guy gets cut in half and falls over like a tree, two pieces, and the two body parts, they animate and they chase each other around. I end up putting them back together on a table using a staple gun to stick him back together. And it dances off stage.

Will this be part of the show?

Oh yeah, this will be part of The Illusionists show.

What’s it like traveling with other magicians? 

Some of these guys I’ve known since I was 12 and 13 years old going to different magic conventions and other ones are new to me. There are no big egos we’re all at the top of our game so we all have mutual respect for each other and we like hanging out with each other.

The Illusionists

How often do you introduce a new magic trick into your performance?

I usually have 10 projects in the pipeline at any given moment in different stages of development. You kind of have to have a break in the show in order to get something new in because that’s when you got all your technicians, lights and sounds and backstage help and that’s when everyone is able to learn new projects and learn new things. The trick is to get your material to a certain level and then say okay, here’s a break coming up, we can try to get it worked in to this next show and plan ahead to get that done. It’s a big machine with a lot of parts and everyone has to be working together on it. Once something is in the show you can tweak it all the time just with little details but, getting a whole new piece in is not quite so easy.

How do you come up with a new trick?

There’s 1,000s of ways to find inspiration and sometimes I have a great method for something and I’m looking for a story and sometimes I have a great story and I’m looking for a way to do it. So, it comes at you from lots of different directions.

There’s a routine in the show where I make it snow on the audience and it’s a direct illustration from my life experience. I grew up in Michigan and I was fascinated with snow every year. For me, it was part of the magic of nature and so I talk about that and I make it snow on the audience and its fun to watch kids just leap to their feet and just play in the snow. Even if you don’t remember the first time you saw snow fall you probably have good memories of building a snowman, sledding. It’s a collective personal journal.

I love hardware stores cause I see all kinds of crazy interesting things. Sometimes. I’ll hear a piece of music and go ‘Oh my god’ I got to use that cause I just feel a certain way, you know.

You’ve been labeled one of the world’s greatest magicians but when did you first realize,’Hey, I’m pretty awesome at this’?

I’m just trying to do good work and trying to use the art form that I love to communicate with people. For me, it’s a lifelong journey and I’m just having a ball, I just think I got the best job in the world.

Why should people go see, The Illusionists?
Instead of seeing one performer for 2 hours where you get the same vibe and the same point of view, you’re seeing 7 magicians who are all at the top of their game. They’re from all over the word, we got magicians from England, Italy, Korea and the US. It’s a big smorgasbord of great magic.

The wonderful thing about magic for me is that it breaks all barriers. There are no age barriers, culture barriers, language barriers, it doesn’t matter who you are you can still enjoy the show. It’s definitely not a kid show but it’s a wonderful, exciting, funny, artful display of magic that kids can absolutely enjoy.


Illusionists PosterFor more information on THE ILLUSIONISTS, visit: http://www.theillusionistslive.com.

Performance Dates:
February 16–21, 2016

Tuesday–Saturday at 8pm
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2pm

Running Time:
2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

Age Recommendation:
Appropriate for all ages. No children under 5 allowed.

Ticket Information:
Tickets are available now for current SHN members and to the general public at shnsf.com. Members may call SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799 (Press 2), or purchase tickets through their SHN ACCOUNT at shnsf.com. Tickets range from $45-$212. Prices are subject to change.

About SHN:
SHN is the preeminent theatrical entertainment company in the Bay Area, bringing live entertainment experiences to San Francisco’s premier venues. SHN presents current hits fresh from Broadway, original Broadway cast productions, pre-Broadway premieres and one-of-a-kind live events that are at the forefront of the national theater scene.


Jersey Boys at SHN Orpheum Theatre

Jersey Boys On StageThe “Jersey Boys” are back in San Francisco at SHN Orpheum Theatre until February 14, 2016. The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning hit musical tells the story of Frankie Valli as a soloist and as part of The Four Seasons with Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. The audience gets a glimpse into the background of how they became a group that went on to sell 175 million records worldwide before they were thirty to being inducted into the hall of fame in 1990. If you grew up with the music you’ll be sure to be taken on a nostalgic trip. The show features all their hits including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Oh What A Night,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Working My Way Back To You.”The Handshake

You’ll learn that they were not angels. From jail, affairs, prostitutes, drugs, gambling, mob connections, and abandoning their families, you’ll get an honest yet still PG-13 look at many of their not so great choices and flawed characters.

Valli is portrayed as an old-school guy who could be trusted with just a handshake (his contract with Gaudio). He’s a man’s man and even worked his butt off to help pay off Tommy DeVito’s gambling and tax debts without hesitation. Meanwhile his neglected wife and daughters barely saw him and that relationship ends in divorce. Most of the time he was portrayed as neglectful because he was working all the time but there are several accounts of him and groupies told in real life. However, he tells his wife in one of the scenes that what happens on the road is none of her business alluding to his misconduct during tours.

The Sit DownTommy DeVito is quick to anger and continuously cheats the group but he’s also the one that believed in the group, especially Valli’s talent. This is the source of Valli’s devotion to his gambling friend. If it weren’t for him he wouldn’t be the Frankie Valli with the unique voice that has lived on our airwaves all these years.

Bob Gaudio is the genius behind the music that never had any interest in being up front in the limelight. His connection and belief in Valli is what kept the hits coming. He could’ve written songs for others but his handshake contract with Valli was proven solid throughout the years. We don’t really get to know that much about his background. We see moments where he’s inspired, interacting with the group and the “big night” scene dedicated to when he loses his virginity to a prostitute sent over by the record company. “Oh What A Night” was playing throughout the scene with jokes alluding to his performance being too short. We also find out in a previous scene that actor Joe Pesci is responsible for introducing Gaudio to the group and that’s when they became, The Four Seasons.

Jersey Boys FinaleThe actors do a great job at portraying the group and have even received approval from some of the real group members. “It’s fun, its great, it means a lot that he believed enough in what I was doing to allow me to portray him and go around the world and share the story” said Drew Seely who did a great job playing Bob Gaudio.

Listen to the full interview with Drew Seeley who plays Bob Gaudio

Frankie Valli is the core of the play and Aaron De Jesus is fantastic with his vocals and dance moves. He did a great job portraying the good, the bad and an emotional scene where Valli finds out his daughter, Francine, died of a drug overdose.

Jersey Boys SingingThere’s a lot that can be discussed about their lives and what fame and fortune mean to different people. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that being able to leave something behind like a song (in this case, songs) that will be celebrated way beyond his or her years, is an amazing accomplishment. And all this was squeezed into two and half hours!

JERSEY BOYS worldwide has been seen by over 22 million people.

Directed by two-time Tony® Award-winner Des McAnuff, JERSEY BOYS is written by Academy Award-winner Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

JERSEY BOYS is produced by Dodger Theatricals, Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, with Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.

Jersey Boys Poster


Tickets for JERSEY BOYS begin at $45 and are available through shnsf.com and SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, visit www.JerseyBoysTour.com or www.shnsf.com.