A gem from the San Francisco cabaret scene will make its London debut next week as part of the Hot August Fringe Festival hosted by the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
The Party’s Just Beginning is a musical revue looking at the LGBT community — our ups, our downs, our highs, our lows, all told with heart and a big dose of humor.
The show opens with the title song. Riffing on a who’s who of queer history, it starts out:
Aristotle, Socrates, Euripedes and Nero
Plato, Sappho, Sophocles, Achilles, what a hero
‘Though you might have suffered to fulfill your secret passion
We wish you were here to see it’s finally in fashion
Ceasar and Caligula and the Marquis de Sade
Shared a sexuality that some considered odd
Like Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Colette
Frida Kahlo, Gertrude Stein and Marie Antoinette
Herman Melville and Walt Whitman,
William Shakespeare too
Oscar Wilde is no surprise,
but Abe Lincoln, who knew?
As we speak J. Edgar Hoover’s head is surely spinning
We wish they were all here ’cause The Party’s Just Beginning
The shows 15 songs look at the 1920s through the present day. They are handled adeptly by a cast of nine who tackle such tunes as Lebanese, based on a real-life Dear Abby letter about a “Lebanese” couple who’ve moved into the neighborhood; Who’s Your Daddy which pokes some fun at the gayby boom; and, based on a speech by Harvey Milk, Give Them Hope, a moving work which was sung at the unveiling of the bust of Harvey Milk at San Francisco City Hall.
The book & lyrics are by Adam Sandel, with music by Richard Link, a Canadian musician who is now a London resident and a popular fixture in the city’s cabaret scene.
The Party’s Just Beginning is a condensed version of Sandel and Link’s original play, Watch Me Shine, which enjoyed critical acclaim in San Francisco. This show manages to touch the very core of LGBT history, from the closet to the rise of gay activism to the holocaust of the AIDS crisis. Its gift is in capturing the everyday essence of the community’s history with compassion, humor and the fierceness of a drag queen.
In other words, us.
Listen: Watch Me Shine