BWW Review: THE JEWELRY BOX at SF Playhouse

SF Playhouse continues its steaming on demand season with its 2nd re-telling of Brian Copeland’s 2013 alt-Xmas tale The Jewelry Box. I consider this an alternative to the typical Christmas fare and for that purpose it deserves consideration for its simple lesson of holiday giving seen through the perspective of a naïve six-year-old East Oakland boy.

Drawn from his childhood memories, The Jewelry Box is a prized gift young Brian wishes for his mother but comes at the very high price of $11.97. This huge sum provides the structure to Copeland’s authentic reminiscences of family life and it’s very colorful collection of characters. Determined to earn the money, the plucky Brian takes on several jobs from attempting to sell used autos to recycling pop bottles.

Copeland creates authentic characters and switches easily from one persona to other seamlessly. A cranky grandma, sisters, winos arguing about sports trivia and his own six-year-old voice create a compilation of vivid memories that many can empathize. There’s pathos hidden within the comic vignettes; a deadbeat dad who ruins Brian’s surprise is a painful life lesson that must be reconciled. The Jewelry Box is bittersweet and joyous which, when one looks at our own holiday experiences, is quite authentic.

Access to the performance will be provided to subscribers and single ticket buyers as an on-demand video stream from November 28th through December 25th, 2020. Tickets ($15 – $100) and subscriptions ($200 – $300) are now available. Contact the San Francisco Playhouse box office at 415-677-9596, or online at

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Steve Murray

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