Categories: Arts Theater

‘Megabytes! The Musical’ magnetically takes on tech

There’s a charm about “Megabytes! The Musical,” a low-tech revue about the high-tech world onstage in the basement of San Francisco’s Shelton Theater.

With sprightly piano accompaniment by Ben Keim, four lively singers — definitely older than millennials — tell of toils and troubles with their devices and life online in a zippy 60 minutes that fly by.

The clever songs and vignettes are by veteran composer Morris Bobrow, creator of similarly structured, appealingly low-budget hits about dining, shopping and traveling that enjoyed nice runs in the same space.

Here, he takes on tech with 25 mostly bouncy tunes (and some blues), starting strongly with the full ensemble.

Working against a simple backdrop painted with patterns of 0s and 1s and phrases such as “fatal error” on the wall, they humorously croon “things are looking down,” referring, of course, to their cell phones (and all-consuming attachment to them).

Kim Larsen gets the first solo, sharing that his best tech advice comes from an 8-year-old.

He’s followed by Lisa McHenry, who comes out in pajamas, drowning out her sorrows with a pint of ice cream during the lament: “Why did I break up with Mark Zuckerberg?”

In “Cash,” David Goodwin pines for bygone days before electronic transactions were the norm, unlike today, when “searching for a dime is a capital crime,” and advising: “Unless you’re buying a methamphetamine stash, don’t pay cash!”

Deborah Russo’s first funny solo has her complaining that the only time her son contacts her is via a butt dial.

Even funnier, especially to regular theatergoers, is “Nightclub,” in which a cabaret singer’s act is repeatedly interrupted by patrons loudly taking cell phone calls, sharing conversations about everything from sandblasting to diarrhea.

A couple of amusing dialogue only snippets have an interesting range: “Revolving Door” details how tech workers go to and from jobs at seemingly every tech company in the industry, and “A Religious Experience” is an ad for a handy sin-relieving app called “Priest In Your Pocket.”

In “Wired,” the jogging-in-place ladies (donning leggings and workout gear) tout the new wearable body technology, hilariously sharing tips about the value of silicone chips in their hips and lord knows what else in their sports bras.

Some of the tunes are stronger than others, and the final number, “For You,” closes on an oddly anti-climactic somber note, a contrast to the giddy delight that characterizes most of “Megabytes.”

It’s actually worth more than one visit, just to review and revel in Bobrow’s fast-paced lyrics and adorable rhymes. For example, in the tune about their attempts to a post a video that goes viral, the singers throw out topics from “a waiter dropping two plates of veal marsala” to “a baby koala.”

Megabytes! The Musical
Where: Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closes March 3
Tickets: $25 to $35
Contact: (800) 838-3006,

Leslie Katz

San Francisco Examiner’s arts and entertainment editor Leslie Katz has been assigning, editing and/or writing news stories about the Bay Area’s rich cultural scene since 1997. Reach her at (415) 359-2727 or

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