It’s the month of March Musical Madness! There are so many great concerts happening this month. To keep the search easy, we’ve listed out our top-pick concerts in the Bay Area that are a MUST SEE in March. From immersive experiences to Broadway, to jazz nights to musical film festivals, we think you’re going to like what you find…
March 8 – 10: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, San Francisco Symphony
Rhapsody in Blue was composed by George Gershwin in only 5 weeks and was premiered in an afternoon concert on Tuesday, February 12, 1924 where John Philip Sousa and Sergei Rachmaninoff were present (no pressure!). By the end of 1927, Whiteman’s band had played the Rhapsody eighty-four times, and its recording had already sold over a million copies.We love this piece because he combined elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects. Rhapsody in Blue really established Gershwin’s reputation as a serious composer and has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works.
After watching this special video featuring Leonard Bernstein as the pianist and conductor, head to The San Francisco Symphony to see if LIVE featuring the incredible pianist Simon Trpčeski followed by music by Rachmaninoff called Symphonic Dances and more!
Opened 10 nights this month!: The Speakeasy
Step back in time to 1923 (one year before Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue) as 35 characters lead you on a “choose your own adventure” into the depths of the Prohibition Era. Song and dance, comedy and drama, casino-style gaming and killer cocktails are among the many delights you will encounter as you explore the secret passages and hidden rooms of The Palace Theater. We recently went for the first time last weekend and had a BLAST!!
If you’re looking for an experience that will impress your out-of-town guests, a date or yourself! head over to The Speakeasy to be completely immersed in an iconic theatrical and memorable night. Not only will you catch fun acts on the stage but you’ll see them in bars, gambling halls and even at the table right next to you! This is not an event to just sit and drink – you’ll be moving from room to room finding new stories, mysteries and fun. Oh – and you’re never going to believe how you enter the theater… you’ll just have to go to find out!
March 10 – Opera in an Hour Film Festival, San Francisco Opera
If you’re not always up for watching three-hour operas, this event is for you! San Francisco Opera will be presenting three operas (via film) that are condensed into one-hour versions. And the best part, it’s FREE! The three featured operas will be The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville and Cinderella.
Within these opera films, there will be an Exploration Workshop that is designed for families with children (ages 6 and up), though anyone with an interest is welcome to attend. Alyssa Stone (San Francisco Opera Education Department) and soprano Svetlana Nikitenko (who sings the Queen of the NiNight in the Magic Flute film) will direct the workshop and teach participants songs from the three operas, integrate some choreography to the singing, and also lead theater games.
March 13 – 18 – Love Never Dies, Broadway San Jose
For all those Phantom of the Opera fans out there, did you know that Andrew Lloyd Webber created a sequel to his masterpiece? It’s called Love Never Dies. After Phantom of the Opera swept across the world as one of the best Broadway shows in history, Webber knew that a sequel was the next best move. But it wasn’t until 2010 that it premiered in London. I’m here to tell you that it was worth the wait!
I saw it for the first time in the movie theater back in my hometown (Tulsa, Oklahoma) around 2012. When the end credits started rolling I was in TEARS! Not only because it was so good but because I was sad that it was over.
Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies was some of my experiences witnessing “opera” (even though it’s not technically opera, but close!). It was so grand, so beautiful and so impactful. I loved how their voices soared and how it completely took over my senses. I was completely absorbed by its beauty and the music left me in such a magical state. I was transfixed! Because of that, I actually started going to see operas in my city.
March 27 – Tommy Igoe Big Band, Yoshi’s in Oakland
We first heard Tommy’s band around 4 years ago at Yoshi’s in San Francisco. We’re big fans of Big Band and when we heard this group, we were absolutely blown away by their sound. What makes them unique is that it’s ran by a drummer, Tommy Igoe and they hardly play the big band “standards”. They make their own arrangements and create new pieces. Tommy said, “I wanted to reinvent what big band represented in our era and give it new flare so that Big Band isn’t always referred to the music of your grandparents.”
Tommy is an incredible drummer, he even wrote the drumset book for Disney’s epic Broadway production of the “The Lion King” where he served as principal drummer and associate conductor.The group just went on tour across the country to perform their Art of Jazz series that pairs the group with an artist that create work of art while they are painting. You’ll definitely have to check them out, they have players from the Boz Scaggs group, Steely Dan Band and the Doobie Brothers along with Tower of Power and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra!
March 29 – April 1 – Mary Stallings, SFJAZZ
The SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director program was established to give today’s most innovative and influential musicians the chance to curate exclusive programming at the SFJAZZ Center, often featuring collaborations between world-renowned artists. This year, Mary Stallings is the featured Resident Artist for SFJAZZ and we are so excited! Check out the line up below:
Thursday, March 29 – Mary Stallings starts her residency with an evening of duets and trios with jazz guitarist (that has played with Harry Connick Jr, and Diana Krall) Russell Malone and vibraphonist Warren Wolf (who is part of the Jazz Collective that I’ll touch on in a bit).
Friday, March 30 – Mary Stallings will be joined by the Bill Charlap trio, led by GRAMMY-nominated pianist Bill Charlap, that played in a recent album with Tony Bennett, performing the music of Jerome Kern.
Sat (March 31) and Sun. (April 1) – Mary Stallings’ final two nights as Resident Artistic Director pairs the singer with SFJAZZ’s resident super-band, the SFJAZZ Collective. It’s a rare opportunity to hear Stallings perform with a larger ensemble, and to hear the Collective work with an outside artist on material outside their repertoire
We hope this quick rundown of our Top Performing Concert Picks for March was helpful! Let us know your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments! Also, feel free to add any performance suggestions and/or questions for March.
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