Quote of the Day: Thank you for being a friend. lyrics from the Theme Song for Golden Girls, song by Cindy Fee
Thank you to Hennepin Theatre Trust for inviting me to view and review Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue, written by Robert Leleux, directed by Eric Swanson. It’s a wonderful blend of nostalgia and witty dialogue mixed with the sex appeal of drag. Very funny. All the actors remain true to the characters while giving the storyline an edge. The set is a scaled back version of their bungalow in Florida, complete with swinging door between the kitchen and living room. The various tins hanging on the kitchen wall were a fun effect.
The show opens with Sophia is under house arrest for drug dealing to senior citizens. That cheesecake has a special ingredient. Christopher Kamm portrays the sharp-tongued Sophia to a T, giving her the shuffle and mannerisms we grew to love with a voice that matched the original. Ryan Bernier nails it as Dorothy, from the clunky boots and flowing clothes, to the deep voice and eye rolls and banter with her mother. Vince Kelley has Blanche down. Still flirty and full of herself, she has developed a sex app for seniors. Adam Graber plays Rose with her usual charm and presumed innocence. He had the Minnesota accent down, pretty well. The first time he said “St. Olaf,” it didn’t quite get the laughs they were expecting. The “O” wasn’t drawn out quite enough, and I think his mic was turned down. That resolved quickly and he does a great scene as Rose “tripping” in the kitchen. Jason Bowen plays Stanley and others, including Dorothy’s new love interest. He’s great in all the roles, quickly switching characters and interacting with the ladies. They also had many sight gags and reactions to each other, even glancing at the audience letting us in on the joke.
The script is modern with many nods to the original show. I’m sure I missed half the references, but my friend who watches Golden Girls nearly every night caught most of them. The script allows for a bit of current cultural references, making it seem immediate, while Blanche is pointing out that they’d all be nearly 100-years-old by now! However, these characters live in a timeless bubble for fans. And, fans they have! Very enthusiastic ones, at that. The audience was eating up all the fun and frolic. Lots of women out in friend groups, couples, mothers-daughters, and guys who love good comedy.
On the drive home we discussed the lasting appeal of Golden Girls. How did a show about three middle-aged women and an elderly mother ever get the green light in Hollywood? Star power, good writing, and characters that are endearing. The writers of Golden Girls didn’t shy away from difficult topics, they brought them to light with both humor and humanity. Several episodes have sad moments, but they mix in enough humor to make it feel real. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can relate to these women at various stages of your own life, giving you a chance to feel connected about the hard things and laugh off the distresses. I totally get how it is a comfort show for many people. Thank you to the original creators of this show Susan Harris and Paul Junger Witt for giving us this wonderful show. Real writers make real shows.
Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue is playing at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, MN through Sunday August 6, 2023. Get your tickets at Hennepin Theatre Trust, and visit your friends at Shady Pines one more time.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What are your favorite nostalgic TV shows? Favorite episodes, or characters?