Rockefeller Productions of New York City takes a fresh look at one of America’s most popular sitcoms of the 1980s.
Columbus Association of the Performing Arts will present “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St. in Columbus.
Tickets are $41 and $51 and may be purchased in person at the CBUSArts Ticket Center, 39 E. State St., online at capa.com or by phone at 614-469-0939.
Samantha Lee Mason plays the role of Rose Nylund, often portrayed as innocent and naïve, played by the late Betty White, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday Jan. 17.
“I have an impression of her I do during the show,” Mason said. “She’s very hard to do a vocal impression of, which I did not anticipate, but it’s a good challenge.
“Playing Rose meant a lot to me,” she said. “She’s a very earnest character. Her optimism is an inspiration to me.”
Members of the acting troupe basically hold the puppets upright, maneuvering as they would during the show and doing voiceovers of each character.
The cast also includes Miranda Cooper as Sophia Petrillo (played on television by Estelle Getty), Dylan Glick as Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) and Lu Zielinski as Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan), with swing support from Nate Rocke.
“I think that the puppets bring different elements to the show,” Mason said. “It brings a lot of comedy on stage. What we wanted for our audience is to be able to experience what it’s like to be part of a live studio audience.”
They will perform three entire sitcoms during the Columbus shows.
White’s death Dec. 31 was felt worldwide and certainly by members of the company, Mason said. Yet it also has sparked a renewed interest in her work, she said.
“I think a lot of people, since her death, have been seeking out new ways to consume her material, to experience her as a performer and her art,” she said.
Directed by Michael Hull and written by Doug Kmiotek, “That Golden Girls Show! A Puppet Parody” was started an off-Broadway production in 2016 and gained momentum over the years, but the show was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mason said.
It regrouped in October and will conclude its season in April, she said.
The puppetry definitely is a new way for the audience to connect with the show, which was set in Miami, Mason said.
“There’s actually a lot of action in the show,” said Mason, likening the puppetry to "Avenue Q" and "The Muppets."
“It’s very fun getting to bring an intimate object to life,” she said. “We never lose our childlike sense of play. We want their eyes to be on the puppet but a mixture of looking at my face but more on the puppet.”
"CAPA is thrilled to bring the show to Columbus,” said Rolanda Copley, the organization’s publicist. “This new twist on one of the most beloved television shows of all time will remind us all why those four characters were so near and dear to our hearts.”
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Columbus' Lincoln Theatre: 'Golden Girls' parody brings sitcom to life with puppets