Courtesy photoDrag-stravaganza: From left

Courtesy photoDrag-stravaganza: From left

A one-of-a-kind ‘Golden Girls’ Christmas

It’s a tale that only The City could give birth to: Four envelope-pushing drag queens morph into television’s most celebrated characters, “The Golden Girls,” become a huge stage hit and suddenly need more spotlights — literally.

Pass the cheesecake.

“The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes” is back. But thanks to high demand, the well-known quartet is changing venues. Out: the living room parlor setting. In: the Victoria Theatre, where the show opens, beginning Thursday with a benefit for Project Open Hand — for each ticket sold for opening night, a $5 donation will be made to the nonprofit organization.

“I like doing this in San Francisco because there is something so surreal about these four drag queens playing these characters,” says Heklina of the show’s evolution. The drag performer vividly takes on the role of sarcastic Dorothy, originally brought to life by the late Bea Arthur in the series.

Cookie Dough (Sophia), Matthew Martin (Blanche) and Pollo Del Mar (Rose) are the other “girls.” Manuel Caneri and Laurie Bushman co-star.

In addition to the new digs, the show itself is rebooted. The series, which ran seven seasons, only boasted two holiday episodes. After years of performing them — with a drag twist, of course — the “girls” opted to toss a little Christmas into two regular episodes, “Isn’t it Romantic” and “Sister of the Bride.”

“Romantic” finds Dorothy’s lesbian friend, Jean, falling for the naïve Rose during a holiday visit. “Sister” spotlight’s Blanche’s gay brother planning to marry his boyfriend Doug.

Fans may want to alert their clans: The show is family-friendly, even with its drag elements.

About the origins of this distinctly original assembly of wigs, dresses and sitcom banter under the drag umbrella, Heklina says it all “happened organically and became a tradition.”

But even she was surprised by how well it took off.

“The show is comforting to me,” Heklina says. “Whenever I get ready for a show — and not just ‘Golden Girls’ — I watch the DVDs in the background. I don’t know why, but it has a lot of comfort for me. A lot of people say the same thing, that all the characters are likeable. But the show itself was well-written, funny and ahead of its time. It explored issues that people now take for granted. It was tackling AIDS, abortion, teenage pregnancy — all that stuff way back in the ’80s. Which doesn’t seem so long ago, but it was.

“You just sort of wish you were there in the kitchen having cheesecake with the girls,” she says, chuckling.

IF YOU GO

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes

Where: Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; closes Dec. 23   
Tickets: $25 to $30
Contact: www.ticketfly.com/venue/2161; www.trannyshack.com

“The Golden Girls: The Christmas EpisodesartsentertainmentMatthew MartinOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (26) starts against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 11, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants finish sweep of Rockies behind DeSclafani’s scoreless outing

Even with fans back at Oracle Park, San Francisco Giants pitchers have… Continue reading

Kindergarten teacher Chris Johnson in his classroom at Bryant Elementary School ahead of the school’s reopening on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFUSD students are going back to the classroom

After more than a year of distance learning, city schools begin reopening on Monday

Keith Zwölfer, director of education for SFFILM, stays busy connecting filmmakers and studios with public, private and home schools<ins>.</ins><ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner) </ins>
Streamlined SF film festival focuses on family features

In the early days of the San Francisco International Film Festival, the… Continue reading

“Gay Passover,” a fun Haggadah, includes some cocktail recipes. <ins>(Courtesy Saul Sugarman)</ins>
A Passover journey toward something different

It was nice to see my family, and I look forward to reconnecting with friends

Oakland A’s left fielder Tony Kemp fielded a fly but missed the catch in the April 5 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Oakland Coliseum. <ins>(Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Bay Area sports for week of April 11, 2021

A look at the upcoming major Bay Area sports events (schedules subject… Continue reading

Most Read