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Theatre Review: A Very Golden Girls Christmas
Now through Dec. 16 (Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8 p.m., Sunday at 5 p.m.)
Unauthorized drag parodies of “The Golden Girls” have become something of a boom market in recent years. Right now, various versions are in production in major cities across the country and even Off-Broadway. Metro Detroit’s own version, “A Very Drag Golden Girls Christmas,” is at The Ringwald in Ferndale through Dec. 16.
I was first introduced to the “Golden Girls” drag parody phenomenon this summer on a visit to Chicago. There I saw “The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes” in the Mary’s Attic theater above Hamburger Mary’s. That production featured two completely new episodes of the show written by David Cerda – who starred in the production as Dorothy – and based on the original characters and premise.
In the Ringwald production, Dyan Bailey and Christopher Kamm have taken favorite lines from easily 100 episodes and reworked them into a script with the overarching themes from three episodes – the only two Christmas episodes in the seven seasons of “The Golden Girls” and the one where Sophia marries her old friend Max. The show even features ensemble appearances by some of the show’s favorite guest characters including Stanley Zbornak, Aunt Angela, Uncle Angelo, Max, Coco the chef, flamboyant wedding planning Mark, author Barbara Thorndyke and nagging neighbor Carol Weston.
If it all sounds a little convoluted perhaps that’s because at times it is, but if you’re a real “Golden Girls” lover you’ll be delighted by the familiarity of your favorite episodes reworked into a big ol’ bowl of “Golden Girls” soup. Laughter rang out frequently through the small Ringwald, and the audience I saw the show with on Sunday evening was enthusiastic in their praise.
The cast — Andy Fillmore as Dorothy, Christopher Kamm as Sophia, Richard Payton as Blanche and Brandy Joe Plambeck as Rose — is all strong. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t single out Payton. Payton had Blanche’s sizzling sensuality and Southern drawl down perfectly and was just a little more animated than the others. However, every cast member was very true to character, and the guest appearances were rib ticklers.
I should probably, for the sake of transparency, let you know that “The Golden Girls” is my favorite sitcom of all time. If it’s yours, too, you’ll want to check this fun production out. It’s clever, witty and even just a little bit naughty. And it’s a fun way to revisit the beloved show and be taken back to a seemingly simpler time in television and life.
TAGLINE For more information on “A Very Golden Girls Christmas” or to purchase tickets, visit theringwald.com.