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An Acting Gig With Dental Insurance

September 6, 2007

Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running musical revue in U.S. History and a San Franciscon perennial, is holding auditions on September 15. It's easy to forget that BBB is still around. It's been here for so long that it's become a feature of the landscape. Quite literally: there's a street in North Beach named after the cabaret -- 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Boulevard is the home of Club Fugazi, where BBB plays.

What I always find strange about these long-running productions is how popular they continue to be. As of last year, BBB had reportedly sold out every performance in its 32 year history, with close to 12,000 performances and a combined audience of nearly five million.

The question is, how do producers keep these Mousetrap-like shows from going stale? Even if Joe Shulman Silver (the producer of BBB) can safely rely upon a steady influx of tourists to see the production, at some point, it has to start showing its age. One obvious solution, of course, is to change the cast over regularly.

Besides imbuing an old artistic chestnut with new growth, BBB performs an important function in the local acting community: In an environment where few actors can make a living from the stage, the show provides its performers with the sort of perks most commonly associated with a regular, 9 - 5 job: competitive salary and full medical benefits (including health, dental, chiropractic, and vision insurance), plus paid vacations and sick leave. Not bad.


  • I realize that this post is about Beach Blanket Babylon, but every time I read "BBB" I think Banana, Bag, and Bodice.

    I think that says more about my points of theatrical reference than anything else, really, but I thought I'd share. That's what blogs are for, right?

    By Blogger D, At September 15, 2007 at 7:04 AM  

  • This is great info to know.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 16, 2008 at 2:04 PM  

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