“Beach Blanket” remains wild, clever, silly and fast
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen “Beach Blanket Babylon.”
But the cabaret-style musical revue, which has been running since 1974, is the first place I take visitors.
Even before the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars or the Pyramid.
Even before Marin’s fantabulous Muir Woods.
I recently spent my 30th wedding anniversary at “Beach Blanket” with my wife. We both enjoyed it more than ever, possibly because it does a number on Donald and Melania.
In keeping with today’s political turmoil, the iconic show also utilizes its wild costumes, wigs and yuuuge headdresses to spoof headliners Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon (as Darth Vader), Ivanka Trump, Vladimir Putin, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Ted Cruz, Barack and Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Not to mention the Golden State Warriors, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Adele, Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian.
Or deceased A-listers like Elvis and Michael Jackson.
Too many stars, actually, to list.
The silly, raucous, edgy show, which has superimposed astute words onto pop tunes and standards for more than 16,000 performances while tucking six million revue-goers under its glitzier-than-thou belt, lays claim to being the world’s longest-running musical revue.
More than four decades.
And it’s forever been using Steve Silver’s original concept of Snow White trekking to Rome and Paris on a quest to find Prince Charming while keeping things topical by changing the pop culture characters it parodies.
Why’d I love the latest incarnation best?
Perhaps because of its plus-sized performers with astonishingly good voices. Perhaps because, unbelievably, it’s amped up its multitudinous comic moments and doesn’t dodge, as I’d been afraid it might, taking potshots at the Trump administration (and his claims of “fake news”).
It seems faster, too, in fifth gear, with no coughs or sneezes allowed (because if I — or anyone else — did that, I’d miss a gag or three).
Many locals and out-of-towners alike never stopped grinning for the show’s entire 90-minute length.
But my wife’s review of “Beach Blanket” was pithy: “Ending our delightful day with glitzy costumes, clever lyrics, sensational performances, terrible puns and a princess — who could beat that?”
Who or what, in fact, could beat it as a tension-reliever from the stress of holiday or post-holiday shopping and family hassles?
The show’s program contains testimonials from San Francisco’s mayor, Ed Lee, and a former one, Willie L. Brown. As well as Michael Tilson Thomas, who notes, “I like to see ‘Beach Blanket Babylon’ at least once a year because the singers are so incredible!”
Since the symphony conductor will hang up his baton in 2020, maybe he’ll have a chance to go more than once a year.
“Beach Blanket Babylon” plays at Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd., aka Green St., San Francisco. Performances: 5 p.m. Sundays, 6 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; matinees, 2 p.m. Sundays. Minors admitted only to matinees. Tickets: $25 to $135. Information: http://beachblanketbablon.com or 415-421-4222.