Showing posts with label SoFA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SoFA. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2024

New housing project near SoFA gets funding

166 apartments (164 of which are designated as affordable units) are slated for 802 South First Street just outside the traditional boundaries of Downtown San Jose. The site is just south of Highway 280, a few blocks away from SoFA. The six-story building also includes 1,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. 

The project will cost nearly $100 million. Fortunately, PNC is willing to finance $66 million of that between a construction loan and bridge loan. The rest will be mostly made up by state-backed financing.

The goal is to kick off construction by September with an expected completion date of 2026.

Source: The Mercury News



Friday, April 19, 2024

Viva CalleSJ: SoFA to the Streets (San Jose's SoFA, SCC Fairgrounds, and Martial Cottle Park)

Viva CalleSJ is back for it's 1st event of the 2024! Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, dance, bike, unicycle, skateboard, or hoverboard down the streets of San Jose. 

SoFA to the Streets features three activity hubs which are festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This time the activity hubs will be SoFA, the SCC Fairgrounds, and Martial Cottle Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all of the hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores.

A unique feature this time around is the route is a single line with no branches. It's crazy to think you can walk all the way from Martial Cottle Park on Branham Lane all the way to Downtown San Jose on city streets.

The event takes place on Sunday, April 21st from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). There is no beginning or end and the traffic flows in both directions. It's completely free and you can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here.



Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Viva CalleSJ: Calle >> Matsuri (San Jose's Japantown, Kelley Park, and Tamien Park)

Viva CalleSJ is back for it's 3rd event of the year! Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, dance, bike, unicycle, skateboard, or hoverboard down the streets of San Jose. 

Calle >> Matsuri features three activity hubs which are festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This time the activity hubs will be at Japantown, Kelley Park, and Tamien Park. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all of the hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores. Watch the video below to get a feel for the event if you've never done one.

As an added bonus, Happy Hollow Park and Zoo will be providing free admission for anyone participating in the Viva CalleSJ. This is the first time I remember this happening, so it's worth taking advantage of--especially if you're going with your family.

The event takes place on Sunday, September 10th from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). There is no beginning or end and the traffic flows in both directions. It's completely free and you can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here.





Sunday, August 27, 2023

Vinyl nights and vintage night market at NOITE in SoFA

Are you someone who refuses to give up their Vinyl collection? Still into vintage games, trading cards, or other cool stuff from the 80s and 90s? I just learned about a new event that you might be interested in.

There's a Vinyl night, record swap, and vintage night market every Thursday in Downtown San Jose's SoFA District. It's hosted at NOITE, a lounge that sits on top of Petiscos (San Jose's first and only Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant) at the corner of South 1st Street and East San Salvador Street.

Even though the space is used as a nightclub or lounge on some nights, all ages are welcome for this event which runs from 7-11pm. For more info head over here.

Source: u/lechugaking on Reddit



Saturday, July 22, 2023

Downtown San Jose Scavenger Hunt

If you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new, sign up for the Downtown San Jose Scavenger Hunt today, which is a fun and interactive way to explore the city. You'll get clues and challenges that will take you to different landmarks and hidden gems in the downtown area. You can play solo or with a team, and you'll have a chance to win some prizes along the way. The scavenger hunt starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park, and you can register online or on-site.

For more info and tickets, head over here.


About this scavenger hunt

Who knew the Capital of Silicon Valley was packed with such spectacular street art? Murals in San Jose are plentiful, and this art hunt will lead you to the best of the best.

Local and international artists make their mark, showcasing a variety of themes. You'll see enormous wall pieces and a few smaller treats. At each stop, we'll offer fun factoids and quiz you with questions related to the artists and subject matter.

Are you ready to be blown away? Buy your tickets and bring your friends. This San Jose art walk is one for the memory books!

You can do our interactive scavenger hunt at any time. Explore the art, and culture of San Jose.

Some of what you'll see: SoFA District, Phylum of the Free, Qualities of Life, RBG

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Pobladores Night Market kicks off today in the SoFA District

If you are looking for a fun and festive way to spend your Thursday nights this summer, look no further than the Pobladores Night Market at Parque de los Pobladores in the SoFA district. This new 10-week series of markets launches today and features artisan vendors, food trucks, live music, beer and wine garden, and more. 

The Pobladores Night Market is a collaboration between Filco Events and the San Jose Downtown Association, with the goal of celebrating the diverse cultures and history of San Jose. This week the Night Market will be super-sized by coinciding with a Block Party, a new initiative that will bring live music from multiple bands and highlight 30 businesses in the area.

The night market will showcase local artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs who reflect the spirit and creativity of San Jose. Whether you are looking for a unique gift, a delicious bite, or a lively atmosphere, you will find it at the Pobladores Night Market. The market runs every Thursday from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm until August 24th. Don't miss this opportunity to support local businesses and enjoy Downtown San Jose at its best!



Friday, June 9, 2023

Viva CalleSJ - Downtown Westbound

Viva Calle SJ is back for it's 2nd event of 2023! Miles of city streets will be completely shut down to let people walk, run, bike, unicycle, or skateboard down the streets of San Jose. 

Viva Calle Downtown Westbound features three activity hubs which are basically festivals-within-a-festival that highlight the local area. This time the activity hubs will be at San Carlos, Roosevelt Park, and SoFA. You can expect live music, vendors, food, activities, bike parking, and good times at all four hubs. In between the activity hubs you will still find all sorts of interesting stops, hydration stations, and stores. Up to 100,000 people attend this event, but it never feels crowded given how spread out it is.

Viva CalleSJ 2022 takes place on Sunday, June 11th from 10am to 3pm (streets are closed until 4pm). There is no beginning or end and the traffic flows in both directions. It's completely free and you can use the handy map below to locate the routes and festivities. For more info, head over here.








Monday, September 12, 2022

The Future of the Bay is San Jose

Nabr is building a sustainable, contemporary Scandinavian high-rises in Downtown San Jose's SoFA district and they have produced several articles that highlight just how walkable the area is. I think they nailed it (I visit most of the places mentioned frequently).

Click here to read "The Future of the Bay is San Jose"

Then follow it up with "72 Hours in San Jose, CA"

If you might be interested in their unique rent-to-own apartments, then I have one more link for you over here.





Sunday, September 26, 2021

SoFA Street Fair

The SoFA Street Fair FALL EDITION is Sunday September 26, 20212-8pm. After 2 years of virtual and hybrid events to keep the music playing, we are finally back LIVE on First Street, with the best local music and performance our San Jose scene has to offer. This event continues to be FREE, and ALL AGES are welcome. There are 8 outdoor stages and 66 live acts performing - all within 2 blocks. Rock bands, Alt bands, Punk bands, Latin bands, Jazz Bands, Singers, Comics, Wrestlers, and Burlesque Performers. There’s a little something for everyone. https://sofafall2021.sched.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

SoFA will never be the same if these 6 towers get built

Feast your eyes on two projects consisting of three towers each in Downtown San Jose's artsy SoFA district. I love how these proposals continue to get more and more impressive with natural elements and rooftop amenities.

The first five renders below are a joint residential venture between Urban Community and Terrascape Ventures with 386 units. Two towers would be around 420 S. 2nd Street and clock in at 12 and 22 stories plus 8,000 SQFT of retail in a public plaza between the buildings. This is where the Dai-Thanh Supermarket and Dakao Sandwich shop currently stand. A third 20-story would rise on 420 S. 3rd St. and replace an old apartment complex. At least two towers would have an outdoor rooftop deck and lounge with trees and plants. The entire project would be built using mass timber and cross-laminated timber and operate with net-zero carbon emissions.

The next five renders are Westbank's "The Orchard" mixed-use project at the very entrance of SoFA from San Salvador Street. The towers looks great, but the ground-floor retail looks phenomenal! Currently, most of this proposal covers what today is a giant outdoor parking lot.

If just one of these projects moves forward, it will transform the area. If both make it, it'll be a revelation. It would triple the amount of foot traffic on most days and likely turn SoFA into an even more thriving area than San Pedro Square or the Historic District.

Sources: SVBJ, Aphelion2100 from the SJ Development Forum












Friday, June 4, 2021

South FIRST FRIDAYS

With some of the highest vaccination rates in the world (more on that in another post), it's time for San Jose to come back full-force this summer. Today will be the biggest South FIRST FRIDAY since the pandemic started. There are in-person exhibits to enjoy at ANNO DOMINI, Art Ark Gallery, KALEID Gallery, MACHU PICCHU Gallery of the Americas, MACLA, and the SoFA Market. For directions to each gallery and all of the details head over here.

As a side note, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles will be reopening this month with a members and artists weekend on June 11-13 and a full reopening on June 18-20.



Friday, April 30, 2021

Good Spot grand opening tomorrow, May 1st!

Another flagship restaurant is opening in SoFA across from Petiscos, the SoFA Market, and Haberdasher. The Good Spot is a modern gastro-lounge featuring a variety of tasty small plates and craft cocktails. 

I had a chance to preview it during their soft opening, and was really impressed with the quality of their food across the board. I tried the deviled eggs with crispy brussels sprouts, adobo wing lollipops, long life garlic noodles, sweet potato fries with spicy banana ketchup, and an avocado tostada with fried cheese. I'd recommend all of them, seriously. What was most surprising was how inexpensive the food was compared to similar quality restaurants in the Bay Area. I can't wait to go back and try more of the menu.

The team behinds the new restaurant comes from a solid pedigree. Good Spot owner, Thoi Trinh, was an executive at Chris Yeo Group which launched Sino, Straits, and Roots & Rye at Santana Row. Chef Timothy Luym worked at Poleng Lounge, SF Chickenbox, and Brew Coop.

While the interior is quite spacious (and open at 50% capacity), there is also a large outdoor patio in front of the restaurant right on First Street. I really hope they keep the outdoor space post-COVID as it really changes the dynamic of the street. Apparently there is also a 2nd floor that they could open in the future.

The grand opening featuring an assortment of VIPs is tomorrow, May 1st at 1pm. The ribbon-cutting will be followed by a Vietnamese lion dance at 2pm, then cocktail hour at 3pm, and finally dinner specials and a late night happy hour. The full press release is below and you can learn more over here.




SAN JOSE -- Owner Thoi Trinh and managing partners Sammy Sok and Ivy Li of Good Spot, 386 S. First St., promise good food, good drinks and good company at their new SoFA establishment, opening Saturday, May 1 at 1 p.m. in downtown’s SoFA District.


The gastro-lounge offers a unique small-plate menu and large selection of curated wines, beers, spirits and handcrafted and batched cocktails.  Cocktails include Dirty Old Man (rendition of a Japanese-style Old Fashion); Hangtime Cooler (refreshing, crisp, perfect for summertime); and Costa Rican Canopy (your sensual jungle experience).


Food-wise, popular favorites will include Adobo Wing Lollipops, Long Life Garlic Noodles and Chimichurri Hanger Steak.


Good Spot owner Thoi Trinh worked his way up from entry level to senior executive level for local and global hospitality brands. Most recently, he was Corporate Director for Chris Yeo Group, a pioneering Asian Fusion restaurant company, with endearing concepts such as Sino, Straits and Roots & Rye.


Chef Timothy Luym, recognized as a San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star chef, made his name at pioneering Asian street food restaurant Poleng Lounge and more recently led culinary operations for SF Chickenbox and Brew Coop. 


At Good Spot, the owners focus on the customer experience:


The set-up is divided into sections the owners describe as “a fine-casual dining section, a set of communal tables ready for an impromptu business meeting, a highly Instagrammable corner reminiscent of a busy sidewalk café,  and a lounge where big-city feels will sneak up on you when you least expect it.”


Their story on goodspotsj.com continues:  “Good Spot imagines a community junction where locals and visitors can gather in the neighborhood’s living room; a place where differences stay at the door, strong bonds become stronger, and new memories flourish.”


The owners intentionally created the Good Spot with an “ambition to both honor and respond to the unique character of the place that birthed it.  That is downtown’s South First Area -- or SoFA District -- a place with a history of glitz and entertainment that fell on hard times in the 1970s and ’80s and now the arts and cultural hub of Silicon Valley’s downtown.


Their On the SoFA outdoor lounge is open on weekends for now with an all-day happy hour.


Follow Good Spot on Instagram and Facebook @goodspotsj. Phone (408) 816-8841.


Good Spot’s Grand Opening ribbon-cutting event will be held at 1pm Saturday. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilman Raul Peralez, San Jose Downtown Association Executive Director Scott Knies will make brief remarks, followed by a traditional Vietnamese Dragon Dance. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

South FIRST FRIDAY is today!

South FIRST FRIDAYs are coming back! The weather is amazing, COVID rates are dropping, and slowly but surely we are going to get back to normal--perhaps better than normal as we will appreciate what we have more.

This month participating galleries are Anno Domini (366 South First), Art Ark (1035 South Sixth), KALEID (320 South First), MACHU PICCHU (199 Martha -- new gallery?), San Jose Jazz (300 South First), MACLA (510 South First), and the SoFA Market (387 South First). 

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and Works San Jose will have online exhibitions. This looks like it will be the most significant art event in San Jose in over a year. For more information, head over here.

I will also remind everyone that many restaurants have resumed indoor dining. The SoFA Market is now open indoors with 25% capacity while Petiscos and many other traditional restaurants are open at 50%. Haberdasher and other bars in SoFA can also sell drinks outdoors without customers having to buy food. The newest gastrolounge in SoFA--the Good Spot--has a soft opening this Saturday starting at 11am. I can't wait to see what SoFA will look like a month from now.



Monday, March 1, 2021

SoFA Dog Park now open

We need more active public spaces to help brighten San Jose, especially as we move towards a post-COVID19 world. The smaller projects the build culture and a sense of place are just as important as the high-rise development proposals we're getting. 

A new dog park has just opened in San Jose and it's right in the heart of Downtown San Jose's artsy SoFA district. It features separate play areas for big and small dogs, benches, sanitizing stations, waste bags, and water bowls.

Next to the dog park will be a Demonstration Garden set to open in late Spring with planters, a Veggielution farmstand, and flexible furniture. The farmstand will sell fruit and vegetables but there will also be a food truck and carts to allow for pop-up events.

Together, this will make for a pretty cool space in SoFA to compliment several new restaurants, lounges, and development projects coming to the area (seriously, everyone should check out Petiscos by ADEGA--amazing restaurant).

The new pocket park is located at 540 S. First Street and is open from 7am to 8pm every day. A Grand Opening is planned for April 2021 and the full press release is below.




SoFA Dog Park Opening Day Fact Sheet

Presented by the San Jose Downtown Association

Thursday, Feb. 18 | 10 am - 1 pm | 540 S. 1st Street 


What:

  • SoFA Pocket Park (dog park-portion only) opening 

  • This is a fun, inviting space for dogs, dog owners and the community to enjoy

  • "Another way to activate public spaces for the community in a positive way."

  • Dog park will feature artificial turf, a double-entry gate, outdoor furniture, basic dog amenities and separate areas for bigger and smaller dogs 

  • Demonstration Garden (opens in late Spring) will feature raised planter beds, garden storage, farmstand, and movable furniture. The farmstand will sell fresh fruit and vegetables and occasionally offer pop-up events through their food truck and food carts.

Visuals:  Dogs and people playing together. We have five owners and canines reserved to be at the park from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday.

When:

  • Thursday, Feb. 18 from 10 am - 1 pm

  • Daily Hours: 7 am - 8 pm (subject to change) 

  • "Pocket Park" Grand Opening planned for April 2021 - includes demonstration garden

Where:

  • 540 S First Street in Downtown San Jose

Why:

  • To revitalize an underutilized lot and transform it into a temporary area for the community until the ownership’s development team moves forward with a permanent project

  • Wanted to provide a fun, lively, inviting space for dogs, dog owners and the downtown community to enjoy and hang out in (while socially distanced and wearing masks)

  • A fun addition to the South First Area (SoFA District) 

  • Dogs and their dog owners usually stop by the small strip of grass outside of where the SoFA Pocket Park currently is, so this park will provide these pets and their owners a fun little space to enjoy on their daily walks

  • “Mission to bring people together to activate downtown San Jose in new and positive ways.” - Urban Community principal Jeff Arrillaga

  • “Public space has never been more valued and important as we deal with the confines of daily life during the pandemic. SoFA Pocket Park is a non-traditional public space that combines a dog park -- open now -- and a community garden -- coming soon.  Our goal was to create a little oasis in the midst of downtown that will offer some pleasurable respite and be welcoming to everyone.”  - Scott Knies, Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association


Who:

  • Presented by the San Jose Downtown Association with Veggielution

  • Property Owner:  Urban Community

  • Sponsors: Knight Foundation, Urban Catalyst, Topa Architecture, Google, Urban Community, Hamilton Builders, JJ Perez Paving

  • Dog park will be maintained by downtown’s Property Based Improvement District (PBID)

  • Demonstration Garden will be operated and maintained by Veggielution

    • Project partner, Veggielution, is an urban farm from East San Jose expanding their presence downtown to generate opportunities for their food entrepreneur incubator program, Eastside Grown. 

  • This park is for local residents and the greater community

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New Gastro Lounge (eventually) coming to SoFA

Post-COVID I think there will be a lot of interesting new places to check out Downtown. One that's definitely on my radar is Good Spot in SoFA. It's a 7,500 SQFT gastro-lounge right in the heart of our arts district founded by a native San Josean.

It's going to have a much more chill atmosphere than a club, as you can probably tell by the sloth on the logo. However, it will eventually have indoor live music and has a slick rooftop patio. There are also plans to turn the second floor into a VIP space, local art gallery, and beer garden overlooking 2nd Street.

The a menu will consist of locally-sourced small plates from Southeast Asia, including Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine. They'll be in good company as Petiscos is serving up Portugal's version of tapas across the street.

Other places to look forward to are The Guildhouse, a new gamer lounge in SoFA; and San Pedro Social, a Bowling Alley featuring vintage arcades, pool, and karaoke on Santa Clara Street.

Source: San Jose Inside



Monday, December 14, 2020

First Annual SoFA Holiday SPECIAL

San Jose is in desperate need for some new events to brighten up the end of 2020 (finally). Filco Events is coming to the rescue with the First Annual SoFA Holiday SPECIAL, an online-only event featuring a dozen local artists performing holiday tunes across multiple streaming channels. The event will also feature San Jose-themed skits, fake news PSAs, and Mighty Mike McGee as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas n the Park.

Tickets are only $4.99 and go towards supporting the local art scene. You can learn more about the event and grab your tickets over here!



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

South FIRST FRIDAYS

While South FIRST FRIDAYS are technically on hiatus due to COVID-19, there are a mix of in-person and online exhibitions happening this this weekend. Anno Domini, Art Ark Gallery, KALEID, and Works will have all have exhibits open this Friday, roughly around 5-9pm. For more info on what will be showcased, click here.

For a proper night out you can pair that art with an outdoor movie at 3Below Cinemas, a great meal in one of SoFA's trendy eateries, or perhaps a few cocktails at Haberdasher. It's been a rough election week for everyone, I think we deserve a day to remember what normalcy looked like (plus masks of course).



Monday, June 15, 2020

31-story tower proposed in SoFA

A developer is seeking to build a 358-unit residential tower in Downtown San Jose's artsy SoFA District with a unique twist... the entire tower would be affordable housing. This would be one of the largest affordable housing projects in the Bay Area and would add a significant amount of food traffic Downtown.

The tower would have 190 studio units, 84 one-bedrooms, 28 two-bedrooms, and 56 three-bedroom unites. There would also be a three-story parking structure with 96 parking spaces. That is a surprising number of both studios and three-bedroom units, which are the two unit types that are in shortest supply for residential high-rises Downtown.

It is also worth mentioning that this would be the largest number of stories for any building in San Jose, either built or proposed. Even with low ceilings typical of affordable housing projects, this would likely be the first building in San Jose over 300 feet tall. It will be interesting to see what other details will be uncovered as this project moves forward.

Source: SVBJ


Monday, April 20, 2020

SoFA Music Festival: Shelter in Place Edition

One of San Jose's top music festivals is going on with the show this weekend. The special "SIP" edition of the SoFA Music Festival will feature 7 hours of live music across 15 different channels with over 100 bands. Instead of dancing in Downtown San Jose, you'll be dancing in your living room. At least the beer and wine will be slightly less expensive than your typical festival ;).

The SoFA Music Festival organizers aren't holding anything back. There will somehow be virtual vendors, merch tables, and a live painting stream to bring the artsy vibe of SoFA into your home. Music will range from jazz, alternative, hip hop, pop, folk, metal, punk, ska, reggae, funk, soul, blues, and mash up DJs. Check out the full set list over here. It's also a true community event built by the community (and it's free). As just about every other live music event in San Jose has been cancelled this year, let's give them our full support!

The party starts on Sunday, April 26th at 2pm and continues until 9pm. Participate over at sofamusicfestival.com.

Instagram: @sofastreetfair #sofastreetfair 



Tuesday, February 11, 2020

All That Jazz with "Chicago" @ The San Jose Stage


They had it comin'
They had it comin'
They had it comin' all along
'Cause if they used us
And they abused us
How could you tell us that we were wrong?

Back in high school, I was wondering why so many people loved CHICAGO when it first came out in theaters in 2002. Before I knew I loved musicals, I found the songs "Cell Block Tango" and "We Both Reached for the Gun" to be sensational and fascinating. Of course, being quite an ignorant child believing that justice will always prevail, I had no idea that the outcome of this musical's riveting storyline and dazzling musical numbers would be a scandalous travesty of justice. It was so scandalous in storyline, outcome, costumes, and choreography, that the original 1975 Broadway production of CHICAGO only ran for 968 performances, which is a relatively short run for an open-ended broadway production. Thankfully, two decades later, a more accepting Broadway audience and significant production tweaks paved the way for the current revival of CHICAGO, which is now the longest-running musical revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine) Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot, Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues. Photo By Dave Lepori
"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number
Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine)
Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot,
Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo By Dave Lepori

"Razzle Dazzle" musical number  Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside  Matthew Kropschot, Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley,  Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle, Tracey Freeman-Shaw,  Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues  Photo by Dave Lepori
"Razzle Dazzle" musical number
Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside Matthew Kropschot,
Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley, Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle,
Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo by Dave Lepori
Since my high school years, I have seen the musical twice on Broadway and once as a touring production through Broadway San Jose. I had no idea that the theatrical production would be significantly better than the big screen version including its simple set design, kinky costumes, and "all that jazz" expected from this musical.

CHICAGO took the stand at The San Jose Stage Company with its official opening night on February 8, 2020. The production was mostly true to what I've seen on Broadway especially when it comes to the choreography, singing, and costumes. The company at The San Jose Stage Company hit top marks for producing a Broadway quality show in its intimate setting allowing Bay Area residents to fall in love with this classic!

Branden Noel Thomas as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton" Photo by Dave Lepori
Branden Noel Thomas 
as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton"
Photo by Dave Lepori
Given that I've seen previous productions at The San Jose Stage Company, it was great seeing former cast members return to the show including Monique Hafen Adams as Roxie Hart, Allison F. Rich as Velma Kelly, Keith Pinto as Billy Flynn, Matthew Kropschot as Fred Casley, and ensemble members June Miller, Monica MoeVinh G. Nguyen, Tracey Freeman-Shaw.

The highlight of the show was the excellent performance of Branden Noel Thomas performing as Matron "Mama" Morton. Branden's singing, acting, makeup, and costume was impeccable. Branden knew how to pull in the audience and deliver musical notes and lines with gravity... and tenacity. Branden is a young person whom I will be paying attention in future productions.

One thing that didn't occur in the Broadway production, but which The San Jose Stage Company changed very well, was the different direction to their musical number, "Mister Cellophane." Performing as Amos Hart was Sean Doughty, who previously performed the same part at another theater. In addition to Sean applying the sad clown makeup from the movie version, it was comical and malevolent to see how the spotlight operator moved the spotlight away from Amos on stage several times. Plus, Amos never received his exit music, as other characters did. Little things like this is truly reminiscent of the character of Amos Hart who is so innocent yet easily mistreated throughout the story.

Sean Doughty as Amos Hart
Photo By Dave Lepori
All in all, this is one of the few shows I would watch again and again. So make sure you catch a performance playing Wednesdays to Sundays now until March 15, 2020. You can purchase tickets online at The San Jose Stage Company website at www.thestage.org or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors.

Written by John Huân Vu.