April 28, 2020 at 8:08 pm EDT | by Ed Gunts
Pamala Stanley plans virtual tea dance benefit
Recording artist Pamala Stanley is planning an online benefit for Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

People are already having virtual cocktail parties, happy hours and art gallery openings online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home restrictions. So why not take the next logical step – a virtual tea dance?

That’s the thinking of Pamala Stanley, the singer and songwriter who is synonymous with the Sunday tea dance in Rehoboth Beach.

This week, she’s planning a virtual show to raise money for health care workers in Delaware.

“I will be headlining a Beebe Medical Foundation Benefit this Saturday, May 2, from 7 to 9 p.m.,” she announced on Facebook. “Watch the show on Pamala Stanley or The Pines on Facebook Live feed, all while giving back to our community.”

The Beebe Medical Foundation raises money for Beebe Healthcare, a medical center in Lewes, Del., that serves Sussex County, which includes Rehoboth Beach and other communities in lower Delaware. The Pines is a Rehoboth Beach restaurant and night spot where Stanley is scheduled to perform this summer.

During the concert, listeners can make online purchases of dinner, drinks and dessert from The Pines, and a portion of the sales will go to first responders. Listeners can also buy gift cards to give to health care workers.

Stanley performed for years at the Blue Moon restaurant and bar in Rehoboth Beach, which featured her during its popular Sunday tea dances, and she has a large gay following. She announced in January that she was moving down the block this year to sing at the Top of the Pines lounge, an entertainment space above The Pines restaurant.

Several weeks ago, Stanley mused on her Facebook page about having a virtual tea dance.

“I have never done online shows but I am wondering if you all would like a Tea Dance on Sunday online?” the ‘80s disco star wrote to her fans on Facebook. “You can put in your requests and we can try it. We can get our vodka and just party for a while.”

It wasn’t the first time a tea dance has been suggested for those with cabin fever in the age of coronavirus. In New York, D.J. Rod Thomas, also known as Bright Light Bright Light, is streaming a 1980s-themed tea dance on Saturdays on Facebook (with tips via PayPal), and other clubs are holding online dance parties.

Stanley posted in a follow-up message saying that she was working on the logistics of holding a virtual tea dance. She was going to have a show last Sunday but apologized that “the internet is not cooperating out here in the Boonies.” Then she announced the benefit for Beebe.

One of Stanley’s hits is “Coming out of Hiding,” an appealing message for those ordered to stay home for now. Her tea dance suggestion instantly drew hundreds of likes on Facebook. As one fan put it, “I think we could all use a little ‘Coming out of Hiding’ these days.”

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