For those who have followed them through the many venues over the past few years will have to agree that last year’s shows were the best ever. The San Francisco drag team of Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin and Pollo Del Mar have certainly made the roles their own – almost as much as Betty White, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty took on the original personas in the 1980s/1990s. Almost.
Last year was the first time they broke free of re-creating the same two (and only) Christmas episodes that “The Golden Girls” aired and, instead, took two non-holiday episodes and added a bit of holiday spirit to each of them.
This year, we’ll get the best of both worlds. They will go back to the “Golden GIrls” archives and re-enact one of the original Christmas episodes and add a bit of holiday cheer to a different non-Christmas episode.
Heklina, who is one of the creative forces behind the drag “Golden Girls” as well as recent “Designing Women” and “Roseanne” shows that were also dragified live, says that they’re very excited about this year’s crop of shows and are doing more shows than they have in the past with a total of 16 performances through the month of December.
The episodes they will feature this year are “Scared Straight,” in which Blanche’s brother comes home for the holidays with some surprising news and “Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas,” in which the girls decide to go to visit their own families for the holidays and before you can say “There’s no place like home” the girls realize they are their own family.
Heklina and team once said they were thinking of writing their own “Golden GIrls” Christmas episode but a kibosh seems to have been put to that idea.
“The problem is that the TV show had such amazing writers that trying to write in that style is so challenging,” points out Heklina. “Unless we can do it as well as the original scripts why bother? It’s almost like we have to isolate ourselves from the world and just write it, but no one in the cast ever seems to have the time!”
The opening weekend will be extra exciting as they have guest co-stars every night. Radio personalities Fernando and Greg will take to the stage on Thursday, Dec. 6 and Friday will feature Lesbian comedian and Performer Marga Gomez, Saturday will have Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Sunday has porn star Casey Williams. Looks like a little something for everyone!
“We gave them small walk-on parts and have sent them all scripts via email,” says Heklina. “They’re all pros, I’m sure they are quite capable!”
Opening night also will benefit Camp Sunburst (www.sunburstprojects.org/programs.shtml), a model residential summer camp for children affected by HIV/AIDS. This is a great cause, Heklina points out, and you can help the children while you’re enjoy one of San Francisco’s favorite winter events – the dragged-up “Golden Girls.”
Heklina said the cast is also happy to be back at the historic Victoria Theatre. Not only because it’s a beautiful theatre with lots of room back stage, but it’s easy to get to on BART and has good parking lots nearby.
Tickets are about $30 each and performances are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm. For more information and to get tickets, go to www.trannyshack.com.