Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theatre - they’re back! With the exception of Betty White, TV's original "Golden Girls" are now playing on the celestial stage. But for lucky New Orleanians, "The Golden Girls" will be on the Mid City Theatre stage as Ricky Graham, the clown prince of New Orleans comedy; Varla Jean Merman, the reported illegitimate offspring of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman; award-winning actor Brooklyn Shaffer and New Orleans’ own darlin’ herself, Becky Allen (filling in for Sean Patterson) take on three scripts from the popular TV series of the 1980s until the end of the month.
This is a series that continues where it left off last year when three previous “Golden Girls” TV scripts were re-enacted by these very funny and very talented "ladies."
Interspersed between the scenes are actual TV commercials from the 1980s era that make the show seem even more authentic.
Set in Miami, “The Golden Girls” was a TV show that starred the amazing White as Rose Nylund along with the late Bea Arthur as Dorothy Zbornak; Estelle Getty as her mother Sophia Petrillo and Rue McLanahan as Blanche Devereaux, who owned the house in which they lived. It stayed in the top ten TV series running for six out of its seven-season run.
One cannot say enough good things about these actors. Allen plays the role of Dorothy, while Graham plays her acidic Sicilian mom. Shaffer portrays Rose, while Merman is deliciously over the top as Blanche. Brian Johnston and Jefferson Turner play some of the smaller roles.
The scenes are written for the small screen, so the breaks are a bit more often than for a regular staged presentation. However, the commercials are very funny and oftentimes nostalgic. The scripts are a bit racy, all of them dealing with senior citizens having sex at one point or another.
On several occasions on the Thursday night show - when lines were missed - the mythical "fourth wall" was broken, resulting in the actors talking directly to the audience. While this may seem to detract from the professionalism of the actors' craft, the opposite was true. This relaxed atmosphere and comfort with the audience resulted in many more funny lines being improvised on the spot.
This is a fun night out for comedy with a tinge of nostalgia. It is especially rewarding to see these TV characters come to life as played by these well-known New Orleans performers.
"The Golden Girls Return" is on every Thursday Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 o’clock and next Sunday, April 27, will be the final show at 6:00 p.m. There will be no performance this Sunday night due to the Easter holiday.