Venue Details

56 Star Starred
Gough Street Playhouse
1620 Gough St San Francisco, CA 94109
Venue website Get directions

Member Tips

Anything goes. super casual environment.
info May 16 2011 star this tip starred
Parking was really easy to find on gough or the side streets.
info May 16 2011 star this tip starred
Goldstar Member
Parking was easy to find at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.
info May 16 2011 star this tip starred
Goldstar Member
Would not bring someone with mobility challenges to this venue.
info May 16 2011 star this tip starred
Goldstar Member
Dress warmly for the wait in the cramped and chilly lobby.
info May 16 2011 star this tip starred
The venue has ADA seating when requested,including a private ADA restroom.
info • Feb 23 2013 star this tip starred
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Reviews & Ratings

18 ratings
3.7 average rating
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32 events
12 reviews
7 stars
attended May 13 2011

My companion's observations were probably most salient: "Reminded me of skits we used to do at summer camp." I am not familiar with Voltaire's original work, but this... continued

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25 events
10 reviews
6 stars
2 events
1 review
0 stars
attended May 21 2011

I really enjoyed the acting and modern spin on this classic. Glad I saw it.

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More Information


Quotes & Highlights

“Colorful, exuberant, bizarre, [and] raucous__… __Custom Made has great production values with a three-level, three-sided stage and a very adept cast.” —For All Events


A seven-actor ensemble plays dozens of characters to tell this timeless tale of optimism, lost love, and the search for the best of all possible worlds. Custom Made Artistic Director, Brian Katz, directs and adapts Voltaire’s tale for our time.

In this best of all possible golden states, in this best of all possible worlds, lived a young man named Candide who was sure everything that happened was for the best. After all, his guru, Dr. Pangloss told him so, and he certainly had no reason to doubt it. Candide was surrounded by wealth and power; he lived a charmed life. There was only one small problem: he was a bastard, and he was in love with the Lt. Governor’s daughter.  


So begins this epic tale that will take Candide and friends from California to Pakistan to Argentina and to a strange place called El Dorado (where it is chillier than you might think and is in danger of melting away). Along his path, he will battle Evangelicals, Mujahidin, Governors with Exceptional Mustaches and mythical creatures, pausing long enough to talk a little philosophy and look for a meaning in this crazy, upside-down world.

This world premiere adaptation originated in the 2008 San Francisco Fringe Festival (as Candide or, Optimism, Part I) where it met with great audience acclaim, receiving all 4 and 5 star reviews. Presented with seven actors playing dozens of characters, this version of Candide begins in Northern California but, much like Voltaire’s masterpiece, Candide doesn’t sit still for long. Within the first ten minutes of the play, he is booted out of paradise, finds himself in the army, and then fighting in a foreign land. However, no matter what horrible things happen to him and the people he loves, Candide relies on his mentor’s advice, and tries to find a way to see this as “the best of all possible worlds,” where everything must happen for a reason. All he cares about is finding his way home, so he can be reunited with his beloved.


Of course, the rest of the world has a slightly different, less optimistic outlook, and Candide finds himself encountering the fanatical, the crooked, the lustful, and just about every other deadly sin you can think of during his journey in this modern world. He even stumbles upon a lost utopia, and sees there might be a better way to live, but his heart still yearns to get back to the woman he is sure is waiting for him.


Candide will return to the place he began, but with a new outlook on life.  He still searches for answers, but knows that, in the end, all people can do is be content with their little piece of the Earth or, as he says in Voltaire’s immortal words, “we must tend our garden.”


Voltaire’s tome is one of the funniest, most biting, sarcastic, and un-politically correct books of all time. It was written as a response to Leibnitz’s “Optimistic” philosophy which states that since God made the world, and God is perfect, the world must be perfect. Voltaire takes this idea to the extreme, and puts his characters through trials so horrible that they are Monty Python-like hysterical, showing how this philosophy can be extremely dangerous when used to excuse any evil as being good because it is simply natural. Voltaire was horrified by this philosophy, used to keep populations in check by the unenlightened and powerful, and wrote _Candide _as a comic response.

About the Ticket Supplier: Custom Made Theatre Co.

Winner of the SF Bay Critic Circle award for Best Overall Play of 2012, The Custom Made Theatre Co. is a San Francisco-based not-for-profit theatre dedicated to ensemble-based, socially relevant productions. Custom Made is the managing company of the Gough Street Playhouse, an intimate thrust theatre without a bad seat in the house, where they present a five play season, along with numerous readings, workshops and classes. Most recently, Custom Made produced the Goldstar ROAR award-winning "Eurydice"
and the Bay Area Premiere of Christopher Durang's "Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them."