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Thank You For Being a Friend

This irreverent and slightly vulgar send-up of The Golden Girls proves to be an evening of hilarious fun.

Susan Campanaro, Jason B. Schmidt, Jake Lemmenes,
and Mimi Imfurst in Thank You For Being a Friend
(© Max Ruby)
If you can stomach some light-hearted vulgarity, then you're sure to find Thank You For Being a Friend, now back for its second summer of Sunday evening performances at The Kraine Theater, to be a downright hilarious evening of theatrical fun. This highly irreverent yet loving send-up of TV's The Golden Girls proves to be simultaneously evocative of the greatest moments from the original sitcom and a show with a voice all its own.

It's just another day in Miami for those cheesecake-loving gals; that is until former N*SYNCer Lance Bass (Joey Army) moves in next door and his rowdy all-night gay sex parties end up disrupting the girls' beauty sleep. When Dorthea (Jason B. Schmidt) demands that Bass cut it out, he challenges her to a bet: if the girls win the top prize in the Shady Oaks retirement home talent contest, he'll stop the parties, but if he wins the girls become his personal cleanup crew. What follows is a singing, dancing farce that could only derive from such an improbable situation.

Most of Jeff Thomson's score seems to be directly lifted from other musicals -- especially Dreamgirls -- which isn't all that bad in light of Luke Jones and Cisco Cardenas' outrageously crude lyrics. The evening's showstopper is the 1980s dance-fashion anthem "Fab Fab Shoulder Pads," which features a runway show of the girls' most bedazzled attire.

Writer-director Nick Brennan wisely chooses to open the show with a welcome from impish octogenarian Sophie, portrayed brilliantly by Susan Campanaro. She is the stand-out mimic of the show, and her voice is a dead ringer for the late Estelle Getty. Schmidt has perfect comic timing, which is good news, because Dorthea has all the best lines; Mimi Imfurst is positively terrifying as Roz; and Army portrays the glittering, over-the-top Bass with mucho gusto.

Make no mistake, between the bizarre transploitation B-plot and the obligatory Mommie Dearest sequence, this show is a perfect way for gay audiences to end this upcoming Pride weekend. But anyone who enjoys a little bad taste with their laughter will find this a most enjoyable way to spend 100 minutes.