Interview

Christmas With The Golden Girls

Heklina, D’Arcy Drollinger, Matthew Martin and Holotta Tymes (left to right) present a more Castro version of the Golden Girls at the Victoria Theatre at 16th Street in the Mission for the first three weeks of December. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Helman

 

Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas with the Golden Girls? Dorothy (Heklina), Rose (D’Arcy Drollinger), Blanche (Matthew Martin), and Sophia (Holotta Tymes) cordially invite you to the Victoria Theatre December 3rd through December 20th to celebrate with them. Now in its ninth year, The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes has brightened the holiday season in San Francisco and has become a favorite tradition for many. The show does tend to sell out so be sure to get your tickets early.

 

Wendy: Your production of Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes has become a holiday tradition for so many people, and it certainly assures you of Christmas plans every year!

 

Heklina: Yes, absolutely!

 

Wendy: And this the ninth year of the show and your fifth year at Victoria Theatre.

 

Heklina: Actually I think it’s the tenth year we’ve been doing it, but we started doing the Golden Girls in the summertime and we added the Christmas episodes later. We just felt like the Christmas episodes resonated so much more with people because they want somewhere to go and feel a part of around Christmas time, and they want to be able to laugh and enjoy themselves around the holidays. When I first started this production with Cookie Dough there really wasn’t a campy Christmas show like it happening in San Francisco at that time, so it kind of filled a void. We just love doing it. We really have found our home in the Victoria; it makes it so much more Christmassy. We can decorate the stage and leave it there. You have to see the sets. They look fabulous. Every year we keep getting bigger and bigger.

 

Wendy: Yes, it’s gotten to be a big production with the sets, as you said, and costume design and lighting and everything else. How many people are involved with the production of the show?

 

Heklina: We have a costume person, we have a backstage manager, we have a sound and lights manager, we have a person who sets the lights for us, we have two house managers, and security, and of course we have the cast.

 

Wendy: Putting the costumes together from that time period sounds like it would be a lot of fun.

 

Heklina: It is. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work too. It’s really difficult to find outfits for Dorothy. Rose and Sophia and Blanche are good ‘cause you can go thrift shopping and find stuff for, but Bea Arthur always had stuff especially constructed for her, so she had a very specific look—it was all very flowy and drapey. It’s hard to find that stuff off the rack. It’s always a challenge.

 

Wendy: Of course you play Dorothy Zbornak in the Golden Girls. Was she your first choice of characters to play? Do you feel an affinity with her?

 

Heklina: Well it’s funny, years ago somebody asked me to play Dorothy in a production of Golden Girls, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Golden Girls at the time but they felt that I’d be perfect for the role. Since then I’ve really gotten to know the Golden Girls. I’ve watched every episode, I own all seven seasons, and so I really have a lot of respect for Bea Arthur. I have respect for all four of the women in that show. They’re all amazing comedians, but I do have an affinity for Dorothy. I feel like she’s the closest to my actual personality, very dry witted and very sarcastic and all that stuff.

 

Wendy: It’s the tenth year of Golden Girls, but is this the tenth Christmas season as well?

 

Heklina: This is the ninth Christmas season.

 

Wendy: And you started the Golden Girls with your dear friend Cookie Dough, who tragically, I was so very sorry to hear, passed away last January.

 

Heklina; Yes, that was awful. We did consider not doing the show but we decided [we’d go on] with it.

 

Wendy: I’m sure that’s what Cookie Dough would have wanted.

 

Heklina: I know it’s kinda corny to say that but that’s what I thought too. [Cookie] worked so hard on those shows all those years with me. I’m reminded of him everywhere I go in this production ‘cause I’m unpacking all the outfits and props from last year, and there’s Cookie’s notes and all that stuff, so Cookie’s very much with us within this production.

 

Wendy: Yes, absolutely. This year you have two new members joining the core cast: Holotta Tymes and D’Arcy Drollinger.

 

Heklina: Yes, Holotta Tymes is taking over the role of Sophia Petrillo, and D’Arcy Drollinger is my coproducer who is taking over the role of Rose Nylund.

 

Wendy: You and D’Arcy work together at the new club that you’ve opened; you reopened the Oasis in SOMA.

 

Heklina: Yes, we’re both co-owners of the Oasis.

 

Wendy: So you see each other all the time.

 

Heklina: We were just at Oasis all day and here we are, together here. It’s like a marriage.

 

Wendy: What was Trannyshack and is now known as Mother happens there. Was that change in name a result of a request from the community?

 

Heklina: It was a couple things. I felt like I wanted a new start once I opened Oasis, ‘cause Trannyshack had been going on for so long and it’s gotten so big. It was kind of a name that belonged to a specific time. I wanted a new start but also I was well aware that the term tranny had taken on a whole new loaded meaning within the trans community. My only intention is to entertain people. I don’t want to be involved in hurting people or controversy; all I wanna do is put on a show.

 

Wendy: What are you looking forward to in the new year?

 

Heklina: I’m looking forward to the process of running the club becoming easier and more streamlined. We opened the club and we were figuring out what worked and what doesn’t work but it’s been a great success so far. What I’m really looking forward to is more work; I’m just kind of a workaholic; I don’t relax very well. I’m always excited to get new projects.

 

Wendy: Work is different for creatives though.

 

Heklina: Exactly, yes. I probably will take a little bit of time off in January, then I’m going on a cruise with Peaches Christ. We are doing a cruise to Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta. After Golden Girls I’m throwing a big party for New Year’s Eve and then my big thing in January’s gonna be the cruise to Mexico. The year will start off in a big way with that which will be great.

 

 

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