A new local theater company, the Fogg Theatre, launches this month with a world premiere of an original musical based on an infamous tabloid tale from the 1960s, and it's called The Cable Car Nymphomaniac. SFist touched on the story back in 2013 as one of several notable tales about the city's signature cable car system, and composer and lyricist Tony Asaro says that when he first read about it he thought, "That is a musical."
Asaro says he was just looking for inspiration and doing a Google search one day on San Francisco sex scandals when he came upon the story of 23-year-old Gloria Sykes, a devout Lutheran from Michigan who in 1964 was riding a cable car when the car lost control and began sliding backward down a hill. Sykes hit her head on a pole, and she ended up successfully suing the city for a half million dollars because she claimed the accident turned her into an insatiable sex maniac. And she allegedly had sex with 100 men in the first year (and 300 men over the course of five years), with 50 in just one month something detailed through witnesses in a trial, and which amused an increasingly sexually liberated city population. As this archived Village Voice article from 1970 (the year of the trial) shows, Sykes admitted to having an abortion and contracting a venereal disease following the accident, and even beginning to enjoy physical contact with women.
The Fogg Theatre Company's mission is to "commission, develop, and produce locally relevant stories created for the San Francisco Bay Area," featuring local artists. The company was founded in 2013, and this marks their first full-fledged show
The Chronicle covered the development of The Cable Car Nymphomaniac back in the fall, and now it's ready for its premiere later this month. Asaro says, "The score mixes both styles from the late 60's and my own compositional voice." You can hear some snippets in the behind-the-scenes video above.
The Cable Car Nymphomaniac plays from January 17 to January 31 at Z Below, 470 Florida Street, near Mariposa, underneath Z Space.