Curran Theatre, a throwback to early 20th Century elegance

By Theo Miller

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The Curran Theatre is an intimate venue in downtown San Francisco. This charming throwback to early 20th Century elegance houses some of the best shows Broadway has to offer. Their mission is to showcase quality entertainment that everybody can enjoy. It opened in 1992 and has steadily maintained an esteemed reputation in the San Francisco community. Unlike many other local venues, the name has always remained the same. There’s a definitive quality about the house that represents the essence of Broadway. In the 1950’s both the interior and exterior of the theatre were used in the movie All About Eve. With the exception of a dressing room scene, everything was shot at the Curran. This is a testament to how quintessentially Broadway the venue is. Location The Curran is located at 445 Geary in the Union Square district. The district holds boutiques, department stores, fine dining, and hotels. The name Union Square comes from the Civil War era when the Union Army would use the square to hold rallies. This is the most elegant part of downtown San Francisco. While the entire city is a welcome sight to tourists, Union Square conveys the elegance and cosmopolitan sophistication the city is known for. Parking Parking is easy. The Downtown Center Garage is located at the cross streets of O’Farrell and Mason. This is by far the closest parking garage. Just walk one block on Mason to Geary and take a left. Other nearby lots include the Union Square Garage at Geary between Stockton and Powell, the Taylor/O’Farrell Garage, and the Sutter/Stockton Garage. Dining There are several restaurants that have deals with the Curran. The Lark Creek Steak offers a free dessert for patrons of theater. Just purchase a meal and present your ticket stub. The menu features fresh ingredients, prime steaks, and vegetarian delights. Asia de Cuba offers one free dessert with the presentation of a ticket stub as well. The limit is one per table. The restaurant features Asian-Latin cuisine. The dining room is supposed to be breathtaking too. The Colibri holds a free dessert policy. They offer Mexican cuisine in a cantina setting. The décor is reminiscent of turn of the century Mexico. The Grand Café serves French-California cuisine. They offer a free appetizer with the presentation of a ticket stub. The café showcases old Europe style with art deco and art nouveau thrown in for good measure. Urban Tavern will even provide complimentary parking in addition to a pre-theater menu. A three-course meal, a glass of wine, and five hours of free parking are all included when you choose Urban Tavern. There food is all organic and sustainable. It’s a step above your normal pub food, but just as tasty. First Crush offers a free dessert with entrée. Before or after the show, just present your ticket stub to receive this complimentary treat. This American French cuisine is to die for. Make sure to sample one of their four hundred wines while you’re there. They also offer a $30 a person set menu that includes three courses. Ponzu also offers a complimentary dessert when you present a ticket stub. The cuisine is a concoction of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. Fish & Farm provides a free appetizer for every table that presents a ticket stub. Their seasonal menu is comprised of the best America has to offer. Soluna offers a free dessert to every table that can present a ticket stub. They are just two blocks away from the Orpheum. Their cuisine is “locally inspired” and they pride themselves on wonderful bar selections too. Zazil gives you a free dessert when you order an entrée and present a ticket stub. It’s located in the nearby Westfield San Francisco Center. If you love Mexican food, make sure to stop by Zazil. Puccini and Pinetti gives a free appetizer to every table that provides a ticket stub. Their menu features wood fired pizzas, salads, panini sandwiches, seafood, meats, and unbelievable desserts. Shows The Curran has been home to many smash hits. Among them, Wicked has stood out with remarkable audience turnout. It had its world premiere at the Curran Theatre on May 28th, 2003. After the show was first staged, the cast and crew meticulously crafted the show in a masterpiece. When the show came back in 2005, it broke records. The Curran Theatre sold out an entire six week run of Wicked! Since its premiere in New York, it has made over 1.4 million a week. It’s not just musicals either. The Curran housed Michael Frayn’s mathematical thriller Proof. After an expansive remodel in 1993, The Curran ran The Phantom of the Opera for five years. Penn and Teller have done magic there, Martin Short had a one-man show, and the list goes on and on. SHN/Broadway The major Broadway shows that come through San Francisco are made possible by SHN. Best of Broadway is an ongoing series that gives San Francisco a chance to attend Broadway shows that they would never get an opportunity to see otherwise. The Curran Theatre, The Golden Gate Theatre, and The Orpheum Theatre are all run by SHN. The letters SHN are short for Shorenstein Hays Nederlander. It’s a reference to Shorenstein Hays and James Nederlander. It’s unclear why Shorenstein gets two initials and James only gets one.