Twitter Response to First Preview of “Tales of the City” in San Francisco

Last night was the first preview of Tales of the City, a new musical in San Francisco, debuting at ACT. Since I wasn’t able to be there (I’m rehearsing for Avenue Q at San Jose Stage Company), I turned to Twitter to see what the initial response was.

It seems that everyone loved it, but the show was really long. Technically, the musical is based off of eight novels that Armistead Maupin wrote, so understandably, it would run long, but 3 1/2 hours seems way too long for a musical (or even a movie).

All this good buzz begs the questions: Will Tales of the City work in any other city than San Francisco? Is there a Broadway transfer in its future?

Discuss.

TWITTER RESPONSES:

@mrichert: Tales of the City was pretty good, some great songs, & the whole cast was amazing, it was just missing something, Mother Mucca KILLED IT!!!!

@rolodj: Tales of the City rocked! Given it was first night & could cut things that didn’t work, I was entertained entire 3 1/2 hrs! #manitabryant

@erico: Laughed, cried & laughed with my honey at the 1st preview of Tales of the City, a New Musical by @ArmisteadMaupin@JakeShears u rule!

@monatopia: Totally suggest everybody go see ACTs Tales Of The City. It rocks! And makes me wanna move to san Francisco circa 1976.

@mrichert: Just passed who I think was @jakeshears after Tales of the City, he’s pretty hot, the show was pretty great too

@FirehorseSF@Jakeshears jake, awesome music, tales of the city rocked! and you looked great in yellow. Marlborough lights?

@Prezdt: Fantastic 3 1/2 hours of Tales of the City. Great story. Great acting. Great music!

@greggysf: At premier of Tales of the City!! Love this city!!!

@grizzwhit@ACTSanFrancisco tales of the city is rocking it! betsy wolfe is amazing as lead. must see sf!

@deathandfood: At the preview of The Tales of the City musical. Love seeing it with people that lived it and in SF.

@Prezdt: Wonderful performance of the first act of Tales of the City!

@mrichert: At the intermission of Tales of the City, really good so far, the set is awesome, great songs too

When are you seeing it? And if you’ve seen it, what did you think?
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11 thoughts on “Twitter Response to First Preview of “Tales of the City” in San Francisco

  1. The musical is *not* based on all eight books in the Tales Saga. It uses material from the first two books only, and it is predominantly the first book that is dramatized. There are plot strands that resolve in the second book that had to be incorporated, so the creators made the decision to expand from the initial concept.

  2. Awesome. I’ve been waiting to hear news. It is only based on the first two books. Not all 8!! When is Ave Q opening??!!

  3. After some cutting this show will be solid! Go see it. Cast is great…story comes through loud and clear. Some of the songs swim around a nebulous zone and need to be focused. The singing of “the letter to the parents” was just brilliant! Go see it!

  4. Hi there. Cant wait to see you in Avenue Q. What is your role?

    I think Tales of the City will work VERY well on broadway, as long as they cut down the length a bit and edit or lose a few of the less popular songs..

    They may also need to change some SF references to things people outside the city dont know about (they referenced the Guardmen a mens charity group thats only in SF, the parrots of telegrapgh hill, and a number of locations & venues that many people may not get, but many of the SF references are broader and more identifiable to anyone who knows anything about the city.

    The main drivers of this show are a great storyline, great music and clever lyrics, good humor, and emotional content. A lot of the story and content focuses on the the gay lifestyle in sf in the mid 70s, features several chorus numbers with scantilly clad or crossdressing men , and issues like coming out to your parents, whether you prefere tops or bottoms,and two guys kissing, which cultural conservaties or folks who dont have any exposure to the gay comunity may not relate well to.

    Great cast and great show..i highly recommend it to anyone who loves muisicals and can appreciate a show in its early stages, aothough I think this one can go straight to broadway with a few tweaks!

  5. TALES OF THE CITY is long (90 minutes + 70 minutes and a 15 minute intermission) but never a dead spot in the show. Have no idea what they would even cut. The songs and the music are brilliant. Congratulations to Jake Shears and his collaborator from Avenue Q. The director and choreographer did wonderful jobs staging this musical. The cast is BRILLIANT. EVERYONE in the cast is great!!! Hard to believe you can assemble a cast that is this talented. RUSH to GET TICKETS!!! The show will be sold out.

  6. I loved the books and tv shows and seeing the musical was so much fun. But as a long-time musical theater buff and former participant, it’s clear that a strong editor is needed, and perhaps some real re-thinking on certain casting choices (Olympia Dukakis had the perfect ‘edge’ and mystery to her; and that is sorely missed). It’s great to be so faithful to Maupin’s books but…this medium needs a more focus and about 30-45 minutes less time. It’s so hard to really honor an ensemble approach so broadly in a musical with so much crucial plot–Mary Ann and Michael get less focus and they are so important to the emotional center of the show. Unlike Avenue Q where the ensemble is made up of quickly-classified, “stereotypes,” and the actual plot line is pretty thin, Tales of the City has a LOT going on. I would be pretty drastic: cut out the Norm blackmail subplot entirely (really doesn’t drive have enough time for us to care) and dramatically reduce Beachamps role (critical part that he sleeps with M.A.–the whole hotel scene, song, meeting John in sauna are not necessary). And also cut back on DeDe’s presence (although I do love her voice and the comic nature of the pregancy really lightens things up–can be managed more tightly though). The second act is so good but that last 10 minutes, we are short-changed in some of the most poignant moments. Pull out (i.e. highlight) the reunion of Mona, Mother Mucca and have them plus MaryAnn do a girl-trio about finding out what it means to ‘come home.’ This will bring to a real dramatic conclusion about the shared nature of each of them having discovered who they are and where they should be, both emotionally and physically. Then, the weight of Edgar’s having passed at the last will be more honored and more felt. As for the music, it is pretty fun to see songs that are Les Miz-like and Sondheim-like and Rent-like…but someone has GOT to grab ahold of the music and figure out how to do reprises of the best songs (Paper Mask) across the acts and reduce the forgettable stuff. I know, I know…it’s so easy to be an arm-chair critic. But I do it out of love for the material. With some serious attention and care, this thing can be great.

    1. saw it last night and completely agree……right now it is certainly going to have success in San Francisco, but far too long and for sure needs to be worked out before Broadway. Not to knock it too much among the San Francisco crowd….as most will surely love it.

  7. Some questions about the musical….. the Norman character seemed to be thrust upon us… one minute he was a nice guy and then the next was a creep, what made us care? I seemed to remember a very suspenseful and mysterious almost frighting curiosity about what Norman was up to….

    Marianne, represents all of us….. we came to San Francisco for acceptance and a better life. Why the gloom towards the end, its a journey, but the promise and hope from those early books were that there really are rainbows in San Francisco.

    Anna Madrigal sees the goodness of Brian in the Musical, does the audience?

    Thought the acting of Jon Breckenridge was a delight but is it believable that in the pace of this show a character would breakup with his boyfriend because he danced in a underwear contest at the End-Up and then go to a Bathhouse? Really?

    Threre’s a moment towards the end where we are or should be drawn into Anna Madrigals tough life choices and it immediately makes you flash Zaza in La Cage, which is a bad thing because you wonder where the emotion punch is and where is the 2011 anthem for acceptance? Where is the music that would make you want to purchase the entire CD?

    Wesley Taylor needs to lose the Sketchers and get some Keds. Maupins words deserve better than this.

  8. What time does the show end? Is there enough time to walk to BART to catch a train to East Bay?

    Thanks-
    Vlad

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