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Not at Him, With Him 

Wednesday, Jan 3 2007
Two dogs named Bummer and Lazarus once roamed San Francisco; just after the Gold Rush, so did their insane human companion, Joshua Norton. In a cautionary tale for dot-commers of any vintage, poor Norton lost a ton of money and then lost his mind as well.

On the positive side, however, he then named himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. Norton lived on the streets, dressed in military finery, and issued plenty of proclamations. He also dreamed up the Bay Bridge, which has led citizen groups to call for the new spans to be renamed for him. Emperor Norton, The Musical tells his story the way the well-liked vagrant probably would have wanted it told: through vaudeville, slapstick, and onstage silliness that highlights his good heart and his love for voluptuous ladies of the night. This restaging of the play offers (its Web site insists) "More singing! More dancing! More pretty waiter girls! More dogs!" Long live the Emperor!
Jan. 5-April 1, 8 p.m.

About The Author

Hiya Swanhuyser


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