The Bay Area theater calendar is always stacked with exciting performances in San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, and more. We’ve taken a look ahead at the best plays, musicals, and performances coming up in and around SF through the end of 2023.
The fall season brings some crowd favorites including The Lion King at the Orpheum and Guys and Dolls at SF Playhouse. We’re also gearing up for exciting holiday shows including How the Grinch Stole Christmas! with Broadway San Jose, A Christmas Carol at Toni Rembe Theater in SF, and of course SF Ballet’s Nutcracker.
Read on for a thorough list of the most exciting upcoming Bay Area theater performances.
Through Oct. 7, 2023 at War Memorial Opera House
SF composer Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell take a closer look at the man who brought the world to our fingertips. This SF Opera performance examines the personal and public life of tech icon Steve Jobs (John Moore), told from Jobs’ own perspective as he faces his own mortality. Enjoy a memorable mix of classical lyricism and techno sounds based on the audio of early computers.
Through Oct. 8, 2023 at Toni Rembe Theatre
“The hippest trip in America” is a groovy musical celebrating the iconic show Soul Train, which brought Black music and dance to the American public. Follow the story of radio DJ Don Cornelius in 1971 Chicago as he put his local dance show on national television. They’ve just added standing dancing room only tickets on both sides of the house, as the audience is encouraged to get up and groove to the music.
3. Kinky Boots
Through Oct. 15, 2023 at Berkeley Playhouse
Kinky Boots is a Tony-winning musical written by Harvey Fierstein and featuring joyous tunes by Cyndi Lauper. The hilarious screenplay follows the story of Charlie Price, who works to save his father’s shoe factory with the help of cabaret performer and drag queen Lola. After debuting in New York City in 2013 it’s become a favorite of Broadway fans.
Through Nov. 4, 2023 at San Francisco Playhouse
Award-winning Ghanaian-American writer Jocelyn Bioh is the brains behind this touching and funny play set in Lagos, Nigeria in the nineties. Follow aspiring star Ayamma as she tries to make it in the competitive and fast-growing Nollywood film industry, proving herself to Nigeria’s hottest director and his former leading lady, Fayola.
Oct. 15-Nov. 1 at War Memorial Opera House
SF Opera presents Richard Wagner’s German-language opera about Elsa von Brabant, a woman trapped in a totalitarian society who is being framed for her brother’s murder. A mysterious knight comes to her aid, promising to defend Elsa under an impossible condition: she must marry him without knowing his name.
6. Without You
Oct. 19-22, 2023 at the Curran Theatre
Anthony Rapp’s new solo musical is based on his NY Times best-selling memoir of the same name. Follow the story of Anthony at 22 in the nineties as he auditions for the musical RENT, which has yet to become a global phenomenon. The heart-wrenching solo show shares an intimate look into Rapp’s real-life experience starring in RENT while privately reckoning with an unspeakable loss.
Oct. 17-22, 2023 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Broadway San Jose presents one of the world’s most popular musicals on stage this fall. The Tony-Award winning show tells the story of broken dreams, unrequited love, and sacrifice against a turbulent backdrop of 19th century France. Hear your favorite Les Miz songs including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “One Day More,” and “On My Own.”
Oct. 31-Nov. 5, 2023 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Discover the Broadway smash hit musical showcasing the story of The Temptations, a vocal group that made it from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The show opened on Broadway in 2019 and has played sold-out shows throughout the world. Hear classic hits including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”
Nov. 3-Dec. 22, 2023 at Berkeley Playhouse
Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella Enchanted is a charming and modern take on the classic fairytale we all know and love. The musical is inspired by the 1997 teleplay staring Brandy and Whitney Houston, with both modern and classical components that bring a perfect blend of nostalgia and excitement.
10. The Lion King
Nov. 22-Dec. 30, 2023 at the Orpheum Theatre
Discover the long-awaited return of Disney’s The Lion King in San Francisco this fall. The world-famous, Tony-winning musical has dominated Broadway since its premiere in 1997 and is a milestone viewing experience for any Broadway fan. Settle in for the memorable score featuring Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs from the animated film, plus more musical material by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.
11. Guys and Dolls
Nov. 24-Jan. 14, 2023 at San Francisco Playhouse
This classical musical by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling takes audiences through a swingin’ musical fable set in Damon Runyon’s New York City. It tells the overlapping stories of two high-rolling gamblers and their efforts to bet on love. The musical first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and is now a staple of musical theater.
Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2023 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Enjoy a groundbreaking live version of this holiday favorite on its one local stop through the United States. Dr. Seuss’s magical Christmas tale is even more heart-warming live, with impressive Broadway performances of hits like “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.”
12. Mamma Mia!
Dec. 5-11, 2023 at Golden Gate Theatre
Dec. 12-17, 2023 at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Celebrate the best of ABBA with this beloved romantic tale set in Greece to the tune of “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Voulez-Vous,” and countless other classics. The production has been circulating for the past 25 years and is a beloved part of the musical theater circuit.
Dec. 6-24, 2023 at Toni Rembe Theater
Discover Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic in this wholesome version adapted for the stage. The timeless production has been an annual staple of the American Conservatory Theater in SF for decades and draws faithful audiences every single year. There will be a new version playing in 2024, so this is your final chance to enjoy this classic version at Toni Rembe Theater.
Dec. 12-18, 2023 at Golden Gate Theatre
Golden Gate Theatre will soon play Aaron Sorkin’s award-winning adaptation of this classic piece of literature by Harper Lee. The award-winning play has been called “the most successful American play in Broadway history” by 60 Minutes. The lead role of Atticus Finch will be played by Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas.
Dec. 13-30, 2023 at War Memorial Opera House
SF Ballet presents the 2023 rendition of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker. A dazzling cast of 150 dancers will perform alongside the SF Ballet Orchestra for this holiday classic. See your favorite toy soldiers, King of the Mice, Sugar Plum Fairy, and endless others in a lively and magical performance for the Christmas season.