Genie wreaks havoc in ‘Wish We Were Here’ 

Be careful what you wish for.

That’s one of the themes you can find floating around “Wish We Were Here,” now in its West Coast debut in The City at the New Conservatory Theatre.

The new comedy, written by award-winning playwright and solo performer Michael Phillis, might be one of the more hilarious tales to emerge out of Pride month.

In it, a total slacker and slob (Phillis) is dumbfounded when he discovers a genie — in his hookah. The show quickly takes place six months after that event, where the audience drops in on what has become a very dysfunctional relationship.

“I Dream of Jeannie” it’s not.

“It’s more like ‘I Nightmare of Jeannie,’” Phillis says. “They don’t get along very well, and during the course of the show you learn how they got there. You learn about their past and how the genie’s way of granting wishes isn’t exactly the way we all thought it was.”

That’s because Phillis’ wisher somehow demanded infinite wishes.

“She becomes the ‘master’ in the relationship,” he says. “Now they’re stuck together — forever. And she doesn’t have any rush on her end to grant the wishes to his satisfaction.”

Sara Moore, known for her physical comedy and comedic prowess, morphs into the bedazzled one in this outing.

The show originally was produced at New York City’s Fringe Festival in 2008. It generated so many outstanding reviews that Phillis was eager to rework it a bit — it now touches on more LGBT and universal themes — and produce it locally. New Conservatory Theatre’s  Andrew Nance directs.

The biggest challenge and greatest reward, Phillis says of performing, in general, revolves around showing “a little bit of your spirit onstage and hope that people can connect with it.”

“I think the best roles that I’ve ever played are ones that have really specific characters, but also speak to more universal themes — something that people can see themselves in,” he says. “I think that’s why I love theater, in particular. It’s an opportunity for everybody to be live — together — in a room and experience the story in real time. That so excites me. It’s that magic of building something together.”

IF YOU GO

Wish We Were Here


Where: New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today-Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $20 to $35

Contact: (415) 861-4914, www.nctcsf.org

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Greg Archer

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