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New show based on North Beach location debuts

June 9, 2010 7:19:42 PM PDT
The world premier of a new theatre work debuts in San Francisco on Wednesday night. It is called "The Tosca Project" a cultural history of the city in dance and music, centered in a landmark North Beach watering hole.

The show portrays memories unleashed of San Francisco from the 20s that roared, to the war when some never returned, to the flamboyant discos of the 70s.

"The Tosca Project" is more than four years in the making.

"The story of this bartender who's lost this woman in Italy comes and finds this bar. And this bar is sort of a shrine to this woman," says ACT artistic director Carey Perloff.

Perloff paired up with San Francisco Ballet choreographer Val Caniparoli so that their dance theatre piece could became a reality.

"It's physical. We don't have a lot of language, so you have to do that through movement," says Caniparoli.

The music, dancers, and actors seamlessly intertwine.

"The dancers we chose are incredibly expressive, complex artists and the actors can move," says Perloff.

The concept comes from the opera, but the inspiration is from a landmark. It's roots are from the legendary Tosca Cafe in North Beach, sitting inside and watching the world pass by outside with its human drama and emotion.

Filled with mood, there's the juke box where Caruso and Sinatra share the ride for a quarter. In this place Carrie knew she'd found a home for her work.

"Looking at photos of Nureyev on the wall and Lauren Hutton and Herb Caen and that incredible history of that place," says Perloff.

They would spend more than a year researching North Beach, but this story not just about San Francisco. It is about exhilarating moments in people's lives; emotional and sad times, too.

"It's about ghosts. Sometimes you walk into a space, you remember beautiful things that happened there that are gone. It is nostalgic in some ways," says Perloff.


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