Emily C. Roush
The Ashland Beacon
A fresh take on a classic television series will arrive at the Paramount Arts Center later this month. That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody will take place on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. During the performance, actors and puppeteers will portray the four main characters of the widely popular sitcom centered on women of a certain age: Dorothy Zbornak, Sophia Petrillo, Rose Nylund, and Blanche Devereaux. The television show ran for seven season from 1985 to 1992 and is still on the air in syndication and on streaming platforms like Hulu. Although The Golden Girls has continually aired for more than 30 years, the series has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity with websites and retail stores selling a plethora of themed merchandise.
One goal of That Golden Girls Show! is to pay tribute to the sitcom in an innovative format. While the puppets will recreate true-to-source scenes from the television series, there is still room for additional interpretation. According to show creator Jonathan Rockefeller, “Puppets provide a heightened sense of reality and encourage the imagination of the audience. [They] also allow us to exaggerate the traits and nuances of the characters.” This is the second year That Golden Girls Show! is touring across the country and the first time it will be at the Paramount Arts Center.
David Miller, the Paramount’s Marketing & Community Engagement Coordinator, said that the response since the announcement of the show has been astounding. “Part of the fun of booking a show like this has been watching people react so positively. They go from not knowing a Golden Girls Puppet Show exists to tagging all their friends on Facebook in a matter of seconds. Every time we give an update or post about this show, the level of engagement has been tremendous. People in our area tend to be last-minute ticket buyers, but it’s clear that people are excited for the show and we’ve sold hundreds of tickets already.”
Miller also feels confident that anyone, not just avid fans of the original sitcom, will enjoy the performance. He remarked, “I think the characters are so iconic because they’re so relatable. You don’t have to be an older woman to get the jokes or feel connected or a kinship to a character. Shows like this last because they continue to resonate across generations. This show would be a blast for absolutely anyone.” Cross generational appeal was one of the reasons Jonathan Rockefeller created the puppet parody. “Our show is a parody, and while we want to bring laughs-lots of laughs-underneath it all, this show is the kind of show that brings people together. The Golden Girls embodies friendship and working through life’s problems together,” he noted.
The addition of a performance like That Golden Girls Show! is indicative of the Paramount’s efforts to reach out to different demographics that may have felt underrepresented in the past. “The Paramount holds great memories for just about everyone in our area. Often, children are first exposed to live theater through our Youth Education Series, and we have very supportive older adults who come just about every time the doors are open. This kind of support keeps us going and able to do what we do, but we realize that a lot of late teens and young adults simply feel left out of the equation… We’re trying to make sure no one falls through the cracks of our programming anymore.” He continued, “It’s a balancing act, for sure, but we take every suggestion, trend, and idea seriously. A show like That Golden Girls Show! feels like a particularly special opportunity to bring together multiple generations of people who continue to love the iconic show. In a way, it was the perfect fit for what we’re trying to focus on now.”
For more information about the That Golden Girls Show! and to purchase tickets, visit www.paramountartscenter.com.