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Flawed but still glorious, ‘Follies’ revival opens in San Francisco
Welcome to Curtain Call, our mostly queer take on the latest openings on Broadway and beyond.With a multigenerational cast of 21, some particularly labyrinthine Sondheim lyrics, and one of the more unorthodox narrative structures in Broadway musical history, it’s taken Follies over a half-century to hit the boards in San Francisco. The Bay Area’s first-ever professional production of the 1971 backstage psychodrama about a late middle-age reunion of Ziegfield-style showgirls decades after their days in the kickline marks a major achievement for The San Francisco Playhouse and its artistic director, Bill English, who also helmed the show.There are plenty of goosebumps in store for audiences, not least of which are those raised by the grand ambition and determination required to mount this near-mythical colossus in the midst of a pandemic: The production not only had to recast multiple roles as its run was repeatedly rescheduled from a planned 2020 debut, but even this week’s official opening came after two postponements due to COVID in the company.Related: In Broadway’s ‘The Kite Runner,’ redemption drifts in the windThe anginal heart of Follies is the relationship of two struggling married couples — former chorines Sally (Natascia Diaz) and Phyllis (Maureen McVerry) and their husbands, Buddy (Anthony Rollins-Mullens) and Ben (Chris Vettel) — who effectively provide a musical theater counterpart to the quarrelsome quartet of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All four characters are brilliantly played with palpable neuroses, each unpredictably swinging between comic and creepy extremes.
Fights, reported chemical spray mar SF Pride festival
As the first in-person Pride parade and festival since 2019 was winding down June 26, the celebration was cut short after someone sprayed what may have been Mace into a crowd outside the main stage at Civic Center. That followed a melee only a few moments before.Police were informed around 5:25 p.m. — 35 minutes before the event was due to end — of a vocal dispute near the portable toilets and arrived to find a large number of people embroiled in a physical fight. After police broke up that incident, an unidentified woman allegedly let loose on the crowd near the main stage with a can of what SF Pride said was Mace.Performing on the main stage at the time was headliner Martha Wash, who was whisked off stage for safety and had her set ended early. SF Pride officials then decided to cut the event short."It's important we let people know that at the time, it was a person spraying mace into the crowd," SF Pride stated later in a statement issued through social media. "Although no one was harmed, we know it was not a pleasant experience. We decided to cut the performance short in the interest of safety."On Monday Honey Mahogany, who was hosting the main stage of Pride with fellow drag queen Sister Roma, shared video on Twitter of what the Sunday scene looked like from their vantage point. She thanked Pride's security team for how it handled the situation.
San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco and colloquially known as SF, Frisco, or The City, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 16th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 881,549 residents as of 2019. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.