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

Just Posted

Epic Cleantec uses soil mixed with treated wastewater solids to plants at the company’s demonstration garden in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Epic Cleantec)
This startup watches what SF flushes – and grows food with it

Epic Cleantec saves millions of gallons of water a year, and helps companies adhere to drought regulations

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler congratulates San Francisco Giants first baseman Darin Ruf (33) in the dug out after hitting a home-run in the 5th inning against the Washington Nationals at Oracle Park on July 9, 2021. (Christopher Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown could become permanent supportive housing if The City can overcome neighborhood pushback. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco leaders must reject NIMBY discrimination against homeless housing

By San Francisco Examiner Editorial Board “We support supportive housing. But just… Continue reading

The 49ers, opening with a win against the Lions in week one, play the Eagles. (Courtesy 49ers)
NFL Week 2 predictions: Our picks against the spread

By Emmanuel Morgan New York Times Last-second field goals. Teams flooding the… Continue reading

“Ticket to Ride,” on view at RVCA’s Haight-Ashbury store, is made up of artistic renderings of Muni tickets. (Courtesy Optimist Williams)
Celebrating pre-tech SF through Muni transfer tickets

‘Ticket to Ride’ exhibit presents public transit as art and equalizer

Most Read