Almost everyone knows a serious “Golden Girls” fan: one who can recite the dialogue from any episode and even work some of the best lines into everyday conversation. If you’re one of those types of fans—or even if you’re not—“The Golden Gays,” a spoof on the television series, making its East Coast premiere this weekend at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach, is guaranteed to please.
“The show came about because my partner and I came down to (South) Florida and we did our own ‘Golden Girls’ tour,” explains producer John Trapper. “We literally lived our lives like the Golden Girls for a few days. Anything they did, we did. It was funny and I started to write a script.”
At the time in the early 1990s, the show had just ended its network run and Trapper and his friends were clamoring for more adventures from Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose.
Trapper summarizes the premise of the play: Four guys are so obsessed with the show and become frustrated because there are no new episodes. They can’t go forward emotionally and start seeing a therapist on a weekly basis for years. Finally the therapist consults her idol, another gay icon, Marla Gibbs from “The Jeffersons,” who tells them to “become” the Golden Girls in an effort to help them deal with their obsession.
The producer, who has 20 years experience staging gay plays, warns audiences will experience serious spoofs, as well as plenty of audience interaction, “Golden Girls” trivia, and some inventive banter between the girls.
“It’s new. It has to be or we would be shut down,” he says. And for the guys who can recite episodes line-by-line, “There are moments in the show where we work that. We give the audience the opportunity to shout out those lines. We wanted to give people those moments they’ve been dying for.”
The show has already played to packed houses on the West Coast. The first performances were in the trendy gay Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake.
“It kind of exploded,” he says proudly. A later performance in Palm Springs was actually oversold by nearly 200 tickets.
While Trapper must manage his show on a shoestring budget—the 47 year-old still has a day job as a college media advisor—he’s very pleased with the quality of actors he can attract in Los Angeles. He says most are professionally trained and perform in his show in between auditions and equity roles. The show works because “it’s fun and we have great actors.”
As for Trapper’s favorite Golden Girl, he doesn’t have to think long: “That’s easy, Bea Arthur, Dorothy. I’ve loved everything that woman ever did. Now, if you asked me which (Golden Girl) I’m most like, that would be different. I’m definitely Blanche, but I’m partnered now.”
The cast is particularly excited to bring the show to Miami Beach, the home to the four colorful retirees. “We never thought we could do it, so when we got the call from Miami Beach Pride, we knew it really could happen,” he says. “We just can’t screw (this opportunity) up.”