In the spirit of honesty, I'd like to openly admit here and now that I am a huge Golden Girls fan.
Twenty-seven years ago, I would watch it weekly with my parents. I loved it then and I love it now. If you too, are a Golden Girls fan, and many of you reading this are, you can't get enough of the 30 minute episodes featuring incredible talent. Sophia Petrillo, Rose Nylund, Blanche Devereaux and Dorothy Zbornak, were not just characters on a show, they were a part of our households.
The premise of the Golden Girls, if you are not familiar with this brilliant piece of television goes like this: Devereaux played by Rue McLanahan, owns a home in Miami Beach. In order to ease her mortgage payment, she rents the other rooms out to Nylund, played by Betty White, and Zbornack, played by Beatrice Arthur. The character of Petrillo, is played by Estelle Getty. She portyayed Zbornak's mother, who comes to live with them after her retirement home burns down.
These ladies were crass, brass and full of sass. Interestingly enough, for a 1980s sitcom, the Golden Girls tackled sensitive issues like homosexuality, cross dressing, a woman's ability to be sexual, a woman over the age of 50 being sexual, the HIV epidemic and more things any of us could find in today's headlines. The delivery of these comic geniuses was impeccable and utterly irreplaceable. When I heard that Trannyshack was putting on their version of The Golden Girls, I thought, "Who better to bring these over-the-top old ladies back to life than four fabulously talented Queens?!" On Saturday night, we arrived at The Victoria Theatre (San Francisco's oldest operating theater) in the heart of the Mission, to see what this crazy show had to offer.
Upon entering, I was shocked to see it was completely sold out. I ushered myself into a seat I found at the end of a crowded row, and realized that all 480 seats were filled. Every community and identity in San Francisco was represented. It was clear this show and now, its re-birth, held something for everyone. During a Saturday night, during peak holiday party season, this was an impressive feat. Once the show began, it really was like watching The Golden Girls on TV. They began with the familiar strains of the theme song, "Thank You For Being A Friend," and included commercials from '80s sitcom past. Two Christmas episodes had been selected to perform, with a clear intention of the subject matter, crowd and holiday feel. The costuming was impeccable, down to the last detail, and the hairstyles that each character had was perfect.
Dorothy, played by Heklina as a would-be senior citizen, was my favorite of the four. Her timing was phenomenal. The crowd burst out laughing just from the looks on her face and her dry sarcasm. Granted, each performer was amazing. Sophia played by Cookie Dough, nailing Getty's bouncy, weird slow walk. She even had the same strange, wicker purse from the show. Pollo De Mar's portrayal of Rose was hilarious and sensational. The almost clownish make up and her facial expressions were close to identical of what I remember White's to be.
From the moment the audience heard that familiar tune opening the show, you found an audience that was begging to participate. Ironically, the entire audience is told in the beginning to please not call out lines, especially not the punch lines, so as not to spoil it for the newbies. This was a great Christmas show that did not require you to sing, and for me, that is always a blessing.
Trannyshack's The Golden Girls runs from December 6 - 30 of this year. They are selling out each weekend, so grab a ticket now before they are all gone. Thank you to Trannyshack for being a friend, and bringing warm Miami Beach to grey San Francisco.