Making Curriculum Pop

You can show your students that some theatrical traditions from Shakespeare's time are alive and well!

he “Girls,” from left: Susan Moreno as Sophie, Luke Jones as Dorothea, Chad Ryan as Blanchet and Brennan as Roz.
Photo: Max Ruby

Boys will be ‘Girls’
New musical casts beloved sitcom ‘Golden Girls’ in drag
When Bea Arthur passed away last month, Nick Brennan had a crisis of conscience.

“It was so strange because I got, like, 10 texts from people saying, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe she died, but …,” Brennan whispers conspiratorially, “‘Great for your show!’”

Yes, the passing of a beloved Golden Girl may just be a boon to the off-Broadway production “Thank You For Being a Friend: The Musical,” a parody of the beloved ’80s sitcom starring drag versions of the original characters, now named Blanchet, Dorthea, Sophie and Roz.
“‘Golden Girls’ and gay culture — we just love it,” says Brennan. In addition to writing the play, he also performs the role of Roz, who is based on Betty White’s original character, Rose Nylund. “Something about the crazy fashion, the campy humor, the girls talking about sex all the time — gay boys just find that kind of stuff funny,” Brennan adds.
In his show, the sassiest ladies of Miami Beach fight with their new neighbor, Lance Bass, after he throws raucous sex parties and keeps them up all night.

“When you’re going to do a ‘Golden Girls’ show in drag, you’ve got to do it right,” says Brennan. “You’ve got to get a little raunch involved.”
The annual Shady Oaks Retirement Home Talent Show is the ladies’ opportunity to challenge Bass to outperform them and, as Brennan says, hilarity ensues. And while “The Golden Girls” — and this parody in particular — does have a particular appeal to the gay crowd, Brennan insists the women’s camaraderie is universally relatable.

“Everybody has one friend who is sweet but kind of a dimwit. Everybody has a friend who is good with men and likes to flaunt it. Everyone has a friend who is a wisecracker and then you have the intellectual, too,” he says.
“And also, you don’t think about grandma having sex with some guy who is 72. Old women going through things that you’d thought they’d forgotten about — the comedy was just there.”

‘Thank You For Being a Friend: The Musical’
Through July 12
Sundays, 8 p.m.
The Kraine Theater
85 E. Fourth St.
$20, 212-352-3101

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