'Golden Girls' drag show draws crowds in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Although seeing "The Nutcracker" might be on your list of holiday traditions, thousands of people are making a less conventional choice. Drag queens dressed up like "The Golden Girls" are packing a Mission District theater night after night. Only in San Francisco, right?

"The Golden Girls" ran on TV for just seven seasons from 1985 to 1992, but it still lives in reruns today. The comedy tells the story of Rose, Dorothy, Sophia, and Blanche, facing life after marriage, death, and kids, all while living together in Miami.

"The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes" is a live onstage reenactment of the hit TV show.

In this version, the cast of characters is played by well-known San Francisco drag performers.

Heklina plays Dorothy and Cookie Dough plays her mother Sophia. The idea for the live performance started in a living room.

"The first time it was like just 50 little seats," said Cookie Dough. "And I remember the first time we did like five weeks and we did like 30 shows."

Nine years later, the show is filling hundreds of seats and selling out the theater most nights.

"One of the reasons I thought this would work well as a Christmas show, was cause when I first moved to San Francisco there were so many campy great theatrical productions to go to," said Heklina. "There was Christmas with the Crawford's, there was a Karen Carpenter Christmas, and there was all kinds of stuff, and then those kind of stopped happening, and I think people want to come to something campy and fun around Christmas."

For that reason, many people keep coming back.

"A lot of the audience members have been telling us, 'oh, we've been coming every year since you started,'" said Cookie Dough.

"I think it's great," said one attendee. "They are such good actors and the way they reinterpret it and their facial expressions, they're really amazing. It's thumbs up!"

For others, it might just be the makings of a new Christmas tradition.

"It's amazing that it is pretty much verbatim, whereas I thought there would be more artistic license, but it's pretty right on," said one audience member.

"The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes" runs now through Dec. 21, only at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco.

For ticket information, click here.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel.
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