Jake Shears: Interview

And how many pieces total over the five years have you written for the show?

Oh, at least 50. There’s a whole parallel musical that we joke about. And there’s been plenty of shitty songs that we’ve written just as placeholders or whatever. But yeah, there’s the parallel musical that
we call ‘Stories from the Town.’ (laughs)

Are there any that you wish you’d found a way to get them in? Or is everything where it belongs?

There’s been a couple songs that we had to cut just for pacing reasons… there’s some top-drawer stuff that we had to leave behind. And there’s plenty of, you know, shitty stuff that we left behind, but I went into this knowing you can’t be married to any of it and just for pacing, we’ve taken a song out of each act that were fucking beautiful. But when you know it’s going to make the show better overall, then it’s worth it.

What would you say to younger people who are thinking “Eh, Tales of the City… that’s all about the 70s. I’m living now. I don’t need to know about what happened back then…”

To me, the time period is the least interesting thing about it. The story is so fun and juicy and, you know what? It’s full of drugs, sex and lascivious behavior!

Those are timeless! (laughs)

And naked people… I don’t know what teenager doesn’t love drugs and sex and lasvicious behavior! (laughs) It definitely is for kids, this show. It’s a lot of fun. So, that would be my answer to a teenager who was like, ‘Oh, whatever, a musical…’ Yeah, it’s a musical with a lot of fucking crazy shit in it. (laughs)

And do you entertain the notion that San Francisco is just the first stop on this show’s run?

I refuse to entertain that notion. It’s so important to me to focus on the here and now, and we’re making the show as though this is the last time we will ever see it. So, I have no expectations.

I’m willing to be pleasantly be surprised as to whatever life this show can go on to, but San Francisco deserves a top-drawer musical of Tales of the City because it’s The Lord of the Rings of San Francisco. Not that this will be Lord of the Rings: The Musical, because that was a real turd.

But, no, this city deserves it’s own big, Broadway-quality show, and who knows where it will go after that. But for now, I want to make this the best show that San Francisco’s ever seen…