The guitar has long been the center of rock music, and so it follows that the instrument would become the center of a rock musical. Personal Instrument, ending Feb. 17, is a one-man rock tuner from Juliann Rubijono and David Hanbury, tracing the history of a single guitar as it passes from owner to owner in the show's West Coast premiere at San Francisco's New Conservatory Theatre Center.
The electric guitar at the center of the musical begins its life in the hands of a gay teenage rocker who uses it commune with his straight guitar god. It then passes to an urban gay professional who takes out an ad to sell the instrument, followed by a tired rock musician who uses the it to explore the sexual and philosophical meanings of Jimi Hendrix's left hand.
Hanbury performs Personal Instrument, which includes songs and guitar licks from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi and, of course, Hendrix. A member of the Boston's Theatre Offensive's Usual Suspects Performance Troupe, he and Rubijono, who directs Personal Instrument, have crafted several pieces together including Of Lost Time, a campy satire on alien abduction as filtered through the movie "Showgirls."
Performances began Jan. 24 with an opening Jan. 27. Tickets are $22-$15. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is located at 25 Van Ness Avenue near Market Street. For tickets, call (415) 861-8972. The New Conservatory Theatre Center is on the web at http://www.nctcsf.org.
-- By Christine Ehren