Thank You for Being Funny
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | After suffering the month-long indignity of being bumped from the schedule in favor of running those horrendous, holiday-themed movies, “The Golden Girls” are back on Hallmark Channel — but the real return-to-form news is playing out live, on a stage near you. Not so hot on the heels of sold-out runs in 2009 and 2010, “Thank You For Being A Friend” makes the great leap from its former East Village digs (at The Kraine Theater) to within walking (or walker?) distance of Broadway.
Booked at West 42nd Street’s Laurie Beechman Theater through February 12, this musical parody suits up a cast of dudes in their best horrendous 80s fashions — “Dynasty”-style shoulder pads and all — for a breezy, bawdy romp as totally unauthorized versions of the 60+ Miami roommates.
Across-the-board-funny, each member of the faux foursome comes to the table with a loopy, exaggerated take on the icon they’re tasked with playing. Luke Jones is towering, brainy Dorothea, Chad Ryan is prolific vixen Blanchette and Nick Brennan (who wrote the book and also directs) is sweet but ditzy Roz. Joined by wisecracking elder Sophie (Adrian Rifat), the dead ringers — who get laughs simply by striking a pose — must negotiate a premise as thin as the set’s two-dimensional wicker furniture.
Emboldened, perhaps, by his recently announced divorce, next door neighbor Ricky Martin (John De Los Santos, funny throughout in multiple roles) is casting a pall over the girls’ cheesecake-scarfing gabfests with his noisy outdoor sex parties. A musical variety solution presents itself, in the form of the upcoming Shady Oaks Retirement Home Talent Show. If the women win, the parties stop — and if the gays take the crown, the girls become the party’s cleanup crew.
Before the climax’s inevitable happy ending, the absurd storyline (punctuated by clever shoestring budget production numbers) twists and turns its way through sex reassignment surgery, childhood flashbacks, betrayals, reconciliations and a relentless barrage of Me Decade references (many of which are just plain funny, even if you’re clueless about the context). High culture it ain’t, folks — but for lovers of the cult TV show who like a little good, clean, gay-friendly raunch, this one’s a Hump Day must.
THEATER | THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND:
A GOLDEN GIRLS MUSICAL PARODY
Wed. at 7pm, through Feb. 12
Fri., Feb. 14 & 28, March 14 & 28 at 10pm
At The Laurie Beechman Theater
407 W. 42nd St., at Ninth Ave.
$20, plus $15 food/drink minimum