Rising Alternative

San Francisco Opera

Show Boat

Jerome Kern | Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

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A true classic of American musical theater, this tale of life on the Mississippi from the 1880s to the 1920s is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of the bitter legacy of racism. Director Francesca Zambello’s grand-scale production is “a triumph—a stylish, fast-paced and colorful show that had the capacity audience on its feet, cheering loud and long” (Chicago Classical Review). The magnificent Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II score, which includes such classic songs as “Ol’ Man River,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” “Make Believe” and “You Are Love,” will sound glorious “under the authoritative baton of music-theater maestro John  DeMain” (Chicago Tribune). “No one should miss it” (Chicago Sun-Times).

According to General Director David Gockley, “Show Boat will be done in grand opera fashion in the way the creators conceived. The Opera House is—I believe—the appropriate venue for these great classic musicals that require full-voiced, ‘legit’ singing.”

“One memorable song follows another, each an enduring thread in the fabric of American popular culture.” –Chicago Tribune


ConductorJohn DeMain

DirectorFrancesca Zambello

ChoreographerMichele Lynch

CastHeidi Stober | Michael Todd Simpson | Bill Irwin | Patricia Racette | Angela Renée Simpson | Morris Robinson

Number of actsMusical in 2 acts

Total running time2h 24min

Running time by actAct I: 1h 24 min | Act II: 1h

Sung inEnglish

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