Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jan 29th
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

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots