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Christmas in Miami…

Sounds like it would be warm and sunny, nothing but bright and hopeful skies on the horizon. But what would happen if tragedy suddenly struck and there might not be much reason for a celebration after all? Here in the latest installment of Hell In A Handbag’s Golden Girls series, we join Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia for another round of Christmas shenanigans!

Hell In A Handbag’s Christmas Miracle

The Golden Girls are gearing up for their annual holiday traditions. Dorothy and Blanche are getting tangled in the tree garland. Rose longs wistfully for Christmas herring. And Sophia begrudgingly lets herself feel a little joy. 

But soon trouble is afoot when Sophia’s friend, Nancy Drew (played by Robert-Eric West) comes to visit with some sad news. Her retirement home Shady Pines, the same one Sophia used to live in, is getting shut down since the government is pulling their funding. All the residents might be without a home for the holidays!

These plucky ladies decide to throw a party and invite local Councilman Hardin to try and convince him to save the home. It’s a festive occasion as we’re treated to a talent show featuring song stylings, stand-up comedy, as well as a little burlesque. 

Will it be enough to save the home and Christmas cheer?

Right on the Set

It feels like we’re right on the set of The Golden Girls as we step into the theater space at the Center on Halsted. A Christmas tree stands off to the right, lit up and stacks of presents beneath it. The iconic lanai and apartment kitchen are in the background. 

Before the show starts we even get to add to the atmosphere as host Lori Lee invites us all to sing the opening theme song, Thank You For Being A Friend. 

Throughout the show we fade to black in between scenes as the actors hold their poses and it feels like we’re cutting to commercial. The only thing we’re missing is the comedy laugh track in the background.

Playing Up The Tropes

Our cast finds those recognizable character traits to portray in their drag stylings of this unforgettable bunch.

Ed Jones playing the affable and naive Rose, looks wide eyed across the auditorium.  Jones as Rose regales us with holiday traditions of Minnesota.

Grant Drager as Blanche perches on the edge of the living room chair reminiscing over men of Christmas past, reading her 12 Lays of Christmas memory book. 

Ryan Oates plays Sophia with a permanently down turned mouth and grumbling quips shot at her daughter.

And what would this comedic quartet be without the deadpan humor and pointed looks coming from Dorothy played by David Cerda. He turns to the audience and frequently breaks the fourth wall to have us giggling as he makes fun of his friends.

Though the script is punctuated by one-liners and we follow the structure for an over the top sitcom parody, for this writer some of the moments felt sluggish as we waited for the next punchline or plot driving moment.

All in all, if you’re a fan of The Golden Girls and drag parodies, this would be a good fit for you!


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David Cerda* (Dorothy), Grant Drager* (Blanche), Ed Jones* (Rose), Lori Lee* (Host, Clara), Terry McCarthy* (Nurse Ursula) Michael Miller* (Councilman Hardin), Ryan Oates* (Sophia), Michael Rashid* (Esther Shapiro), Coco Sho-Nell (Wanda), Jamie Smith (Bob Hope) and Danne W. Taylor* (Nancy Drew)


Playwright: David Cerda
Director: Spenser Davis
Liz Cooper (Lighting Designer), DJ Douglass (Sound Designer), Devon Green (Props Designer),Sydney Genco* (Make-Up Design), Keith Ryan* (Wig Designer), John D’Aversa (Technical Director) and Veronica Kostka(Stage Manager).


Thru December 30, 2022

Thursday, Fridays and Saturday at 7:30 pm
Sundays at 3 pm


The Hoover Leppen Theater at the Center on Halsted
3656 N. Halsted St.



For more information and tickets visit the Hell in a Handbag website.

Photos: Rick Aguilar Studios

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

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Alexis Bugajski

About the Author: Alexis Bugajski

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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