San Francisco musical, Beach Blanket Babylon, set to draw the curtains after over 45 years

When you think of America's longest-running musicals, Broadway favourites such as The Lion King or Chicago may come to mind.

author_img Haven Daley Published :  22nd December 2019 05:17 PM   |   Published :   |  22nd December 2019 05:17 PM
Hillary Clinton and Snow White are portrayed by Jennifer Morrison and Ruby Day (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Hillary Clinton and Snow White are portrayed by Jennifer Morrison and Ruby Day (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP): When you think of America's longest-running musicals, Broadway favourites such as The Lion King or Chicago may come to mind.

But there's a small San Francisco show that's been a must-see for tourists and locals alike for more than 45 years — and now the curtain is closing.

The campy Beach Blanket Babylon debuted in 1974, making it the nation's longest continuously running musical revue. Its final performance is set for New Year’s Eve.

"It's going to be so bittersweet," said Curt Branom, one of its longtime performers. "We're all moving on to other things, but we all know that a magical moment, really, in time that this place has been for all of us.”

The show spoofs politics and pop culture and features performers in colourful costumes and massive hats, including one featuring San Francisco’s entire skyline.

 

A costume hat depicting Mr Peanut (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

It was originally scheduled to run for only six weeks, but word spread, and it quickly became a quintessential San Francisco experience.

 

The final number of Beach Blanket Babylon (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

Beach Blanket Babylon has since been performed more than 17,000 times in front of 6.5 million people, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, David Bowie and Robin Williams.

 

A street sign for Beach Blanket Babylon (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

The plot follows Snow White around the world as she searches for her Prince Charming. Along the way, she encounters an ever-changing lineup of political and pop culture figures.

 

Characters portraying the Trump family and President Trump (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

Recent characters have included Donald and Melania Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Vladimir Putin, Bernie Sanders and Oprah Winfrey.

 

James Brown and Tina Turner portrayed by JM Appleby and Renee Lubin (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

Producer Jo Schuman Silver said the show is ending not for financial reasons but because she wanted it to go out on a high note and felt the time was right.

 

Characters portraying French poodles, Coco Chanel and Vladimir Putin (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

Cast and crew, most of whom have worked with Beach Blanket Babylon for decades, say the remaining performances are bound to be emotional.

Stage Manager John Camajani, who joined the musical in 1979, says his wife will be at the final show.

 

Characters portraying Haight-Ashbury hippies and the Beatles (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

 

"She'll be crying, and all of us will be crying because it's the end of an era," he said.

It's believed that Phantom of the Opera, which premiered in 1988 and has continuously run on Broadway since, will now become the longest-running musical still being performed in the US.

 

Nancy Pelosi portrayed by Jacqui Heck (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Comments