The Golden Girls Live Holiday Special
I think the reasons I was so excited to see the final dress rehearsal of Goodluck Macbeth’s holiday production, The Golden Girls Live Holiday Special, were the same reasons I am an unreasonably huge fan of Hallmark Christmas movies and the reruns of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem every weekend. I adore nostalgia and schmaltz.
I am officially at an age where my past is clearly better than my present or what I expect to be the future. I want to go back to that innocent time before stress, before Trump and before I ever awoke to find news notifications on my phone about how climate change will destroy the Arctic by 2040. I want to crawl through my TV set and laugh and enjoy simple pleasures and old-fashioned holidays and have everything resolve itself within the half hour.
I’m not alone, as it turns out. Nostalgia and schmaltz are huge right now, which is the only way to explain the boom in TV sitcom remakes and the inexplicable popularity of The Golden Girls. The folks over at Goodluck Macbeth Theatre in midtown aren’t known for doing things in a traditional way, but they’re tapping into that craving for nostalgia and innocence with this holiday special that perfectly channels what we love about sitcoms, the early ’90s and Christmas, while also providing a twist: Our favorite Florida foursome is being played by men in drag.
You’ll get two of the series’ actual holiday episodes, performed lovingly and hilariously by Christopher Daniels as Southern belle Blanche Devereaux, Bill Ware as Dorothy Zbornak, Luke Allen as Rose Nylund and Ian Sorensen as Sophia Petrillo. This short-but-sweet production is pure fun—no weighty issues to wrestle with, no drama, no high-brow monologues. Just the same old cheesy scripts they always were—which, let’s face it, were only OK. The troubles are all easily resolved in 23 minutes of airtime, warm fuzzies guaranteed.
The episodes run in real time, complete with actual, laughable, era-appropriate commercials and even that classic Golden Girls segue music you know by heart. Even the interstitial music is a blend of popular early 1990s hits and classic Christmas tunes guaranteed to melt even the Grinchiest heart. Check your seasonal stress at the door.
The jokes are so-so, the minor characters forgettable. But the real comedic gold here is in Daniels’ impersonation of Blanche, a character so exaggerated that Daniels, a comedian and improv actor who is already skilled at acting in drag, could completely go for broke here in his performance. His ridiculously fake, plantation-South accent and breast-focused posture actually aren’t far off the mark. Sorensen—one of my favorite local comedians—wearing a velour housecoat is a joy to behold. And Ware’s deep voice and sardonic style give the polyester-clad Dorothy the edge she needs to give Blanche a dressing down or to roll her eyes at Rose’s latest St. Olaf yarn.
And amid all this silliness, Pussycat, you can play a round of bingo with Sophia Petrillo during intermission, then be out the door by 9 p.m., so there’s still time for a slice of cheesecake with your BFFs. Who couldn’t use an evening like that?