SF Gay Men's Chorus returns for Castro Christmas Eve show

  • by John Ferrannini
  • Wednesday December 20, 2023
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San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus will perform at the Castro Theatre for its annual Christmas Eve show — the last time it will be at the venue before extensive renovations begin next year.

"We've been performing in the Castro Theatre on Christmas Eve since 1990. It feels like home, it feels like family," Jacob Stensberg, the artistic director of the chorus, told the Bay Area Reporter. "This year's show is about putting more joy, more light, and more love in the world this holiday season. There's no better place for that than the Castro Theatre, and no better people than the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and our Christmas Eve family to share that message."

Shows will be held at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9 p.m. December 24. Tickets are still available online for the 9 p.m. show, but limited numbers may be available shortly before the earlier performances.

The show will be slightly shorter than the Holiday Spectacular that ran at the Sydney Goldstein Theatre downtown December 8 and 9, and at venues in Sonoma County and Berkeley last weekend.

That show ran approximately 90 minutes, the Christmas Eve show is a tightened version of it running 60-65 minutes, the chorus stated.

This year's Holiday Spectacular featured several compositions that made the audience chuckle — even guffaw — at the Goldstein show, including a mash-up of Christmas standard "The Little Drummer Boy" with this year's ubiquitous Kylie Minogue dance single "Padam Padam." The title? "Parum Parum."

"Pacem," featuring portions of traditional Latin Christian hymns, was juxtaposed with "The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights)" to celebrate the Jewish December holiday. "Into the Unknown" from Disney's 2019 feature "Frozen II" was probably selected for the kids and kids-at-heart. Traditional carols such as "White Christmas" were also on offer.

The show ended with a tour de force retooling the Britney Spears catalog into a string of Christmas-themed songs, telling a story. With parody lyrics by Mitch Galli and the Reverend Sam Lundquist, and arranged by Paul Saccone, the Spears songs lampooned were "Oops! I Did It Again," "Gimmie More," "Lucky," "Stronger," "Toxic," and "... Baby One More Time."

The theater is expected to be closed next year due to renovations and remodeling from its new operators, Another Planet Entertainment. As the B.A.R. previously reported, the theater will close after a February 4 event "highlighting the Castro community and the LGBTQ+ community," according to APE spokesperson David Perry.

Perry said that interior scaffolding is slated to go up in March and exterior scaffolding, dependent on weather, will go up in March or early April. The theater is expected to reopen in summer 2025, when the controversial remodeling fought by some in the Castro and film communities will finish.

This includes flexible seating that can be removed when the theater is showing concerts that may require standing space.

Tickets: www.sfgmc.org

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