A stylized illustration of a young unhoused woman with almond-shaped eyes, windswept hair and a beanie holding a "Please Help" sign. She's flanked by a bureaucrat holding a notebook that says SF.gov and a TV personality in swanky clothes holding a microphone. At the bottom are tents.
‘Breakdown – A New Musical’ follows a young woman living on the street and facing off with a convoluted city bureaucracy and a Fox News commentator out for blood. Credit: Pablo Mica. Courtesy: San Francisco Mime Troupe

"*" indicates required fields

Sign up for The Scene newsletter

Every Thursday morning, The Scene gives you the lowdown on arts, culture and events in and around Berkeley. Sign up for free.

The always topical San Francisco Mime Troupe premieres a new summer production with a series of free performances around the region July 1 through Sept. 4, starting this weekend at Berkeley’s Cedar Rose Park.

Now in its 64th year, the Tony award-winning SFMT tackles the fraught convergence of homelessness, mental illness and hot-take media with Breakdown – A New Musical, which follows the misadventures of Yume, a young woman living on the street, as she contends with a tangled civic bureaucracy and Marcia Stone, an ambitious Fox News commentator looking for a red-meat target. 

The 80-minute musical includes a five-person cast with veteran SFMT collective member Andre Amaroticoas well as Jamella Cross (Marcia Stone) and Kina Kantor (Yume). Directed by SFMT’s resident playwright Michael Gene Sullivan, who co-wrote Breakdown with Marie Cartier, the production features music and lyrics by Daniel Savio. The SFMT Band plays a brief opening set before turning into the musical’s pit band, with Breakfast on keyboard, guitar and saxophone, Guinevere Q on bass, and Jason Young on drums and percussion.

The show will be back in Berkeley, at Live Oak Park, in late July. 

Saturday-Sunday, July 1-2, 1:30 p.m. at Cedar Rose Park. July 22-23 at Live Oak Park. FREE ($20 suggested donation)

Freelancer Andrew Gilbert writes a weekly music column for Berkeleyside. Andy, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, covers a wide range of musical cultures, from Brazil and Mali to India and Ireland....