Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Aug 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

"Beach Blanket Babylon' (Still) Sizzles

blog1leadIconic San Francisco revue continues to improve with age

There are very few theatrical productions that make it to middle-age. Thankfully, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which turns 39 this summer, is one of them. In fact, the revered San Francisco spectacle is the country’s longest-running revues.

That’s a terrific testament to the legacy that the late- Steve Silver left behind. Silver launched “BBB” back in the ’70s and the show immediately turned heads with its show-stopping musical parodies and clever plot—a whiny Snow White desperately searching for a Prince Charming. That may have been enough to lure audiences in initially, but Silver and his creative team went a step beyond, always updating the show by infusing it with a delicious gluttony of current events.

This is evident in the revue's latest incarnation—a nonstop powerhouse of sheer brilliance that majestically surfs the peculiar waves of pop culture, scoops up as many headline-grabbers as it can and feasts on their absurdities.

Some of the A- and D-list celebs and politicos on display include Gen. Petraes, Gabby Douglas, Gov. Chris Christie, Honey Boo Boo, Clint Eastwood (and the Empty Chair), Mitt Romney (and “Book of Mormon”), Nicki Minaj, the Kardashians, and riffs on “Glee,” “Les Miserablés,” and a hilarious spoof of the hit song and video, “Gagnam Style.”

But there’s so many other performances, too, of course, and “BBB” still includes classic material that has been in the show for some time, such King Louis and The French Poodles, Banana Carmen, Barbra Streisand and a festive twist to the show’s Italian story arc, among others. It didn’t hurt that the SF Giants nabbed the World Series title last year either. If there’s one thing locals (even tourists) appreciate, it’s devotion to a sports team. And "BBB" boasts plenty of accolades to The City.

Beyond these robust production numbers—some of the most inventive you may ever see on stage—are the actual performers. Creative beasts, they all seem to be channeling a kind of rare cosmic juju that finds them demonstrating wicked exuberance and sublime artistry in equal measures. (Who are these people? And can they please rub off on me!)

Longtime theatergoers—near and far—already know that for 30 years Val Diamond was one of the revue’s standout performers, personifying the spunk and passion of the show that Silver’s widow, Jo Schuman Silver, has so brilliantly kept alive over the years. Diamond left the show in 2009 and her longtime understudy and show performer Tammy Nelson has filled in with aplomb. Other notables include Reneé Lubin, who’s been with “BBB” for many years and still packs a creative punch, Paulino Durán, Curt Branom and Doug Magpiong. Collectively, this merry clan comprise some of the hottest talent in The City. blog4

The show's revered headresses never looked better, either and to get a deeper look at what it takes to perform in those, take note of our trek behind the scenes here.

In the meantime, for a show that was intended to run for about six weeks 39 years ago, it has morphed into a passion pit of nonstop entertainment, seen by more than 5.5. million people, including The Royal Family.

During an interview for the show’s 35th anniversary, Schuman Silver told me that when Silver launched the show in 1974, “the whole city embraced it …I think it’s still running because you know you are going to walk in there and have a good time, see the most talented cast on stage and listen to songs that everybody knows. There’s just something magical about it.”

Fortunately, the spell doesn’t wear off.

To learn more about "BBB" or to purchase tickets, click here.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover