If all the analytics and laundry apps of San Francisco's tech industry aren't sexy enough for you, you might want to catch more theatrical numbers in the industry's very first stage musical.
South of Market: The Musical aims to shine a comedic/dramatic light on investment deals, industry sexism, and Uber drivers in an original musical comedy from playwright Pat Blute. And in case you didn't already get the double entendre, South of Market speaks to both the SF neighborhood that is the local epicenter of tech, as well as the way it can all go quickly south in startup land.
"It's not just a show that caters its jokes to people working at tech companies," says Blute. "It's about the common human elements of living in San Francisco, working in tech or being affected by tech."
A scene depicting an investor pitch meeting.(Photo by Anna Gavrilov)
The plot weaves together the narrative of a man's quest for a coveted spot on a 30 Under 30 list; the experience of a hard-working woman in a male-dominated industry; and the endearingly awkward love story of one engineer. And if it all seems a little too nail-on-the-head, well, it is: Blute, as well as half the cast members, has real experience in startup culture. South of Market is a parody of that reality, employing gags such as exaggerated smartphones and laptops to draw attention to the dominance of technology in our everyday lives. And with jabs at gentrification and white male privilege, laughs here give quick way to critical thoughts about the state of the industry. In her role as Delia, for instance, female lead Morgan Pate shines a light on tech's all-too-real sexism in the workplace.
Blute also explores the way techies, in hot competition, can get so caught up pursuing success and comparing themselves to others that they begin to lose themselves. The closing number's lyrics advise, "Believe in yourself, but not too much. You'll accomplish anything, just don't get out of touch."
Bay Area icons such as Philz Coffee and the Dolores Park Truffle Guy also have lighthearted cameos.
Dolores Park's Truffle Guy(Photo by Anna Gavrilov)
Blute bills the show as the first annual musical parody of tech culture, leaving it open for a follow-up. He hopes to approach the show as a start-up would approach product development—allowing the crowd's feedback to inform an even better beta product next year.
Though tickets are sold out at the official website, some ticketholders are selling extras through the event's Facebook page.
// South of Market: The Musical opens tonight at 7pm, and runs through Oct. 23rd at Z Space, 450 Florida St. (Mission), zspace.org.