Pat Blute and Samantha O’Keefe, creators of “South of Market: The Musical,” are fusing an old-fashioned art form with the high tech world in their new show, a full-on roast.
Calling it “a loving take on the industry,” Blute says the parody explores painful points both audience and cast members may have experienced during the 21st-century tech takeover.
The show, sold out and onstage at Z Space this weekend, tells the story of a 29 3/4-year-old tech founder who experiences intense FOMO (fear of missing out) about his imminent failure to make the all-important “30-Under-30” list before his birthday. His insecurities prompt a wild goose chase around The City, with songs about venture capital and other high tech high jinks.
Co-writers Blute and O’Keefe have backgrounds in both arts and tech. O’Keefe is a “Les Miserable” fan who writes for TechCrunch; Blute, formerly in corporate marketing, holds TED Talks.
Their cast — native San Franciscans, “Beach Blanket Babylon” regulars and upcoming local actors — also has links to theater and tech.
“We have a real venture capitalist, a real tech writer and real tech employees,” says Blute. Performers include workers from Dropbox, Silicon Valley Bank, Yammer and Ginger.io.
The show’s themes will resonate with anyone who has worked in tech, used tech or even those who’ve simply seen a branded hoodie, say its creators. It covers topics such as women in tech, venture capital and the on-demand workforce.
Yet alongside the jargon-filled meetings and “Silicon Valley” similarities is a score by Blute, O’Keefe and composer Tareq Abuissa with jazz, power ballads and show tunes.
“We’ve searched for where the two worlds intersect in every musical number,” says Blute, who maintains there are commonalities between the seemingly incongruous worlds of tech and musicals.
“Tech and arts both have a passion for trying new things,” says Blute. Both focus on “building [things] fast and innovating and engaging with their audiences or customers.”
At the same time, the producers don’t want to gloss over the need for collaboration and communication between the two groups.
“We want to remind the industry that human connection is one of the most important components to success,” says Blute.
The humans behind the screens and codes are an important element of the musical, as is the city of San Francisco, which has undergone dramatic changes in the wake of the tech boom.
Blute says, “There are people who have been here before tech. There are stories that will exist after tech. And there are also stories in the Bay Area that are shaped by tech.”
IF YOU GO
South of Market: The Musical
Where: Z Space, 450 Florida St., S.F.
When: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Oct. 21-22, 2 p.m. Oct. 23
Tickets: $65 to $75 (sold out)
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