The Bay Area’s long tradition of live performances gets off to a vibrant start this fall with exciting productions. Fort Mason’s Magic Theatre opens its 2015–16 season with the new comedy Fred’s Diner (Sept. 17–Oct. 11), which explores 1950’s Americana (415-441-8822, magictheatre.org).
At the American Conservatory Theatre, the dark comedy Between Riverside and Crazy (Sept. 2–27) is a timely story about gentrification, family, faith, and if that weren’t enough, houseguests. Also up at the company’s newly opened Strand Theater on Market Street is Monstress (Sept. 16–Nov. 22), which depicts Filipino–American life in the Bay Area (415-749-2250, act-sf.org).
San Francisco Playhouse continues its season with Dogfight, about three marines on the night before their deployment (Sept. 22–Nov. 7), followed by Stage Kiss (Nov. 17–Jan. 9), the semi-romantic comedy (415-677-9596, sfplayhouse.org).
The ambitious 42nd Street Moon Theatre, which produces only American classical musicals, starts their fall lineup with Sail Away (Oct. 28–Nov. 15), Noel Coward’s cruise ship adventure (415-255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org); and We Players, the innovative site-integrative performance group, which counts Fort Point and Sutro Baths as venues, heads to The Chapel in Fort Mason for Heromonster (Oct. 9–Nov. 1), an experimental interpretation of Beowulf (415-547-0189, weplayers.org).
A highlight at the Asian Art Museum is Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gough and Other Western Artists (Oct. 30–Feb. 7) from the Fine Arts Museum, Boston (415-581-3500, asianart.org).
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will present Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition (Oct. 17–Jan. 10) at the M.H. de Young, assembling more than 200 works by major American and European artists, most of which were on display at this defining event. Up at the Legion of Honor is Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville (Sept. 19–Jan. 10), which includes Roman luxury objects from the royal collections of the Cabinet des médailles at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (415-750-3600, famsf.org).
Part of the S.F. Museum of Modern Art On the Go programming while the museum is closed for expansion (reopening in 2016) is Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet (Nov. 14–Jan. 18), an immersive sound experience, in the museum’s Artist’s Gallery in Fort Mason Center (415-441-4777, sfmoma.org/visit/artists_gallery).
Classical: The San Francisco Symphony celebrates throughout September and beyond with an impressive lineup, including Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony (Sept. 30–Oct. 3) and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5 (Oct 22–24). Also scheduled is Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony (Nov 4–6), and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony (Nov. 8), which complete the year (415-864-6000, sfsymphony.org).
Opera: No fall season would be complete without our beloved San Francisco Opera, whose season opens with Verdi’s Luisa Miller (Sept. 11–27) concurrently with Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd (Sept. 12–29). October brings Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Oct. 8–28) and Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Oct. 20–Nov. 20). November and December feature Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Nov. 15–Dec. 2), Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (Nov. 25–Dec. 9), and double billing of Getty’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Debussy’s La Chute de la Maison Usher (Dec. 8–13) to close the year in festive holiday spirit (415-864-3330, sfopera.org).
Jazz: The SF Jazz Center opens with Chick Corea (Sept. 10–13) along with Brian Wilson (Sept. 11); Grammy winner Esperanza Spaulding (Nov. 19–22) will perform her signature soulful sound (866-920-5299, sfjazz.org).
The Monterey Jazz Festival (Sept. 18–20) celebrates its 58th season with jazz greats, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Wynton Marsalis (Sept. 19), Chris Botti and Diane Reeves (Sept. 20, 831-373-3366, montereyjazzfestival.org).
Contemporary: The San Francisco Electronic Music Festival (Sept. 10–13) will feature laptop-generated sound, analog synthesizers, and amplified found objects combined with performance art and improv (415-528-4444, sfemf.org).
A fall staple, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (Oct. 2–4) is back for its 15th year in Golden Gate Park and is sure to promise its typical spectacular lineup, which was not available at press time (hardlystrictlybluegrass.com).
The Warfield season includes The Australian Pink Floyd Show (Sept. 11); Judas Priest (Oct. 20) and Journey (Oct. 22); and America’s Got Talent Live (Nov. 21), and many more (415-345-0900, thewarfieldtheatre.com).
At the Fillmore, The California Honeydrops (Sept. 11–12) and Blues Traveler (Oct. 15), and Patton Oswald (Oct. 18), Hanson: Roots and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Nov. 3–4), and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Nov. 6) among many others (800-745-3000, thefillmore.com).
On the lineup at the popular Treasure Island Music Festival (Oct. 17–18) is DeadMau5, The National, and a host of others (treasureislandfestival.com).
Cabaret: At Feinstein’s at the Nikko, find actors we never knew could sing: Minnie Driver (Sept. 11–13) and Tony Danza (Sept. 18–20); and the eponymous performer himself, Michael Feinstein (Oct. 7–11), as highlights (415-394-1111, hotelnikko.com).