San Francisco impresario Carole Shorenstein Hays is inviting audiences to check out the “new” Curran.
The theater owner is the delightful narrator of a free new audio tour being offered to the public this week, before the Curran officially reopens (with the hit show “Fun Home”) after a three-year renovation.
In the 45-minute tour (created for Macs by the mobile app Detour by Ninna Gaensler-Debs), Hays and her daughter Gracie Hays point out changes to the 1922, 1,600-seat Beaux Arts theater, including the restoration and cleaning of the sculptured ceilings and its gorgeous car-sized chandelier.
In the three-level journey that goes backstage, underground, to dressing rooms, the high-up catwalk and onstage, Hays tells personal stories and shares fun tidbits about the theater’s rich history, from its appearance in the movie “All About Eve” to how a basement wall was cut to accommodate the set of the wildly popular “The Phantom of the Opera.”
While publicist Jaron Caldwell lamented that an anecdote about Edith Piaf selling out her first major American performance there didn’t make the cut, stars who graced the Curran through the years — James Earl Jones, Carol Channing, Tommy Tune, Kristin Chenoweth and Patti LuPone — add their comments to the tour, as do behind-the-scenes professionals and artist Aaron De La Cruz, whose arresting, graphic mural fills up a lower level wall.
The wall is near the new. modern rest rooms; in the re-do, capacity tripled for women. (The lower level ladies room has 19 stalls.)
To sign up to go on the tour Wednesday or Thursday between 4 and 8:30 p.m., visit SFCURRAN.COM/shows/detour. After this week, tours will be offered once a month when the theater is dark.
Ticketholders who want a quick hit may take an abridged five-minute tour before, at intermission or after the show.
IF YOU GO
Where: 445 Geary St., S.F.
When: 4:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18-19 (every 15 minutes)
Contact: SFCURRAN.COM/shows/detour (reservation required)