Prince Charles and Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, displayed their sense of humor as they attended "Beach Blanket Babylon," San Francisco's long-running musical revue, with an invited audience of the city's elite. Dozens lined the sidewalks in the city's North Beach district to greet the royals, who arrived just a few minutes late for Sunday's performance. Charles, in a suit, and Camilla, looking glamorous in a full red skirt and black top, shook the hands of the invited guests, who included author Danielle Steel, former Mayor Willie Brown and former Secretary of State George P. Schultz.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, who greeted the guests on the red carpet along with his wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, went on stage to introduce and welcome the royal couple. Newsom and his wife announced their separation in January.
The show's producer said she steeped herself in all-things-British to revamp the show for Sunday's special guests.
Would the prince and his duchess become targets of the show known for its good-natured ribbing of pop culture icons? Absolutely not, said Jo Schuman Silver, who had been reading "all the British magazines" in the weeks leading up to the royal visit.
"They're guests of ours and it's just something we wouldn't do," she said.
Special tributes to the couple were added. A giant hat in the shape of London's skyline made an appearance in the introduction, as well as a specially written song with lyrics honoring the royal couple. A spoof of Nigella Lawson, the British equivalent to U.S. domestic diva Martha Stewart, was added and particular attention was paid to opera and ballet, favorites of the prince. A tribute to "Swan Lake" featured dancing swans and princes. And in the finale, a giant wedding cake opened up to reveal cardboard cut-outs of Prince Charles and Camilla, who received a standing ovation.
The show, known for its "gentle parodies" of pop culture icons, follows Snow White who travels around the world, meeting an ever-changing lineup of pop culture icons as she searches for her prince, and true love.
Prince Charles grinned at the political parodies, former President Bill Clinton, portrayed as a womanizing playboy, and his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, dressed as the Statue of Liberty. The show also poked fun at John Travolta, TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey and the Desperate Housewives.
Entertaining members of the British monarchy is nothing new for Babylon. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attended a performance in 1983.
"They loved it," Silver said.
The show, which was created by Silver's late husband, Steve Silver, premiered in 1974 at a cost of $800. It was scheduled to run six weeks. Instead, it's been performed more than 11,000 times to 4.8 million people, Silver said.
Beach Blanket Babylon enjoyed a critically acclaimed two-week run at London's Covent Garden Festival of Opera and Music Theater in 1997, reports the AP. I.L.
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