The Five-What Would I Do If I Didn’t Do Theatre

Anthony R. Miller checks in with speculations of his life in an alternate universe.

Like many of us theatre nerds, we all have our “And that’s the day I knew I wanted to do Theatre” story. For me, I was 8 or so, and my mom took me to see West Side Story, and that was it. I was totally dazzled by every aspect and right there decided this was the life for me, But today, let’s speculate on what would have happened if I didn’t see a play that day. There are few possibilities, five to be exact.


Despite not being the most coordinated person in the world, or having much upper body strength, if it wasn’t for the allure of theatre, It’s entirely possible my childhood of doing elbow drops from the couch and giving DDT’s would have led me down this career path. I would have had a totally sweet name, like, Johnny Pain, black and silver spandex, and “Walk” by Pantera would have been my theme song. It was only later in life that I realized this wasn’t a far cry from the theatre (As I have discussed at length on this blog). Funny story: In the 7th grade there was this little cockbag named Mark who would harass me almost daily, he put dog shit in my backpack, throw my books into the street, and constantly challenge me to fight. So one day I finally fought him and after 3 minutes of sitting on his chest while he screamed at me to get off him so he could kick my ass, I decided to seal the deal with the ‘ol Boston Crab, because on TV it looked painful as fuck. (Spoiler Alert: It isn’t)

Radio DJ

While I acknowledge this is basically a profession on the verge of extinction, at one point, as far as I was concerned, there was no cooler job. This was at a time where DJ’s actually had sway over programming; they picked the songs they’d play. Johnny Fever in WKRP in Cincinnati was one of the coolest things ever in my 12 year old mind. So when I say, I wish I was a radio DJ, more specifically I wish I was a radio DJ in the late 70’s.


But not just any bartender, when I say Bartender, I mean Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. The bottle flippin, poetry reciting, lady lovin badass with big dreams. And while in reality, a career in theatre is no reason to not be a bartender (Often it is WHY one is a Bartender) turns out neither was nearly as glamorous as advertised. I should still learn the bottle flipping thing, if only to be ready for the inevitable stage adaptation.

Record Producer

Rick Rubin is one of my personal heroes, and has been since freshman year of High School. His approach of helping a band find the essence of their sound has resulted in some of the greatest records ever made. He’s worked with everyone; Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of A Down and FUCKIN’ SLAYER! In another world where Anthony didn’t fall in love with theatre, I would have a sweet bushy beard, be super eccentric and be a bona fide hitmaker. And I suppose being a Dramaturg and Theatre Producer is similar, but with way less drugs and women…significantly less.

Stand-Up Comic

To be honest, this is something I actually kind of pursued. I used to perform in front of folks and make them laugh all the time. I’ve been lucky enough to perform for crowds all over the country, being funny. But at a certain point, I started to prefer anonymity. When it’s me in front of people, I am accountable for everything I say. People assume that the person I am on stage is the person I am in real life, which could not have been further from the truth. You never get to be yourself, because when people talk to you and you aren’t exactly who they expect, they walk away muttering to their friend “I heard he’s a total dick in real life”. That actually happened to me, which sucked. It made no sense to me, I wasn’t actually a person to that guy, I was just a dancing bear who this guy basically decided I was obligated to be funny and crazy instead of just getting to be a normal person drinking coffee and reading. The beauty of writing plays is that people don’t necessarily know what I look like, the characters talk for me and can say whatever I want. I enjoy the anonymity. So here I am, a medium-small-time writer and producer with a day job, which isn’t nearly as glamorous as some of these other options, but not so different either.

Anthony R. Miller is a writer, director and producer. Keep up with his projects at

Cowan Palace: The Golden Girls Take Over San Francisco And Other Chats With Matthew Martin

On this day before Thanksgiving, Ashley thanks you for being a friend while chatting about the Golden Girls with Matthew Martin.

The Holidays are really here! And nothing says seasonal spirit like gorgeous San Francisco drag queens getting all dressed up as the legendary Golden Girls, am I right?

Yes, it’s true. For the past nine years, it’s become a local, celebrated way to enjoy the Christmas festivities. The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes are back and they’re more fabulous than ever.


Need to see more? Understandable. You can take a sneak peek thanks to YouTube! Still not enough? Lucky for you, I had the chance to interview Matthew Martin who has been with the production since 2007. Matthew is not only the director of the show but is also starring as everyone’s favorite Southern belle, Blanche Devereaux!


AC: Tell us about how you first got involved with this unique project. How has it developed over the years?

MM: We first did this production in 2007 at a friend’s Victorian here in San Francisco. It was a group of performer friends doing something fun together: 2 episodes verbatim with an intermission. I don’t’ think any of us foresaw the enormous popularity that would ensue. The audiences and shows grew and grew and GREW, going from various small venues to the grand old Victoria Theatre in 2011.

AC: What makes this year’s show different than past productions?

MM: This year’s show is different in that we’ve gone musical! Dorothy and Blanche are vying for attention at the Rusty Anchor, the local piano bar and break into song! We also have new sets. Of course, every year’s show is different, but the audiences are the same faithful crowds that have been growing with every season.

AC: What was the biggest challenge in rehearsing the show and getting it ready for opening night?

MM: Getting there, as with any show! There are always many variables and personalities involved with any theatrical production. Besides actors rehearsing, there are the departments of publicity, technical aspects, lights, sound, costuming, ticket sales. The costumes alone are a show within themselves! It’s a 1980s fashion show and another popular aspect of the production. Love the audience’s “what were they thinking?!” reaction to 1980s fashion sense!

AC: What was the biggest surprise you found when translating a script meant for TV to the stage?

MM: How rabid the fans are quoting chapter and verse of the original scripts and how well the comedy stands up 30 years later. Good writing remains good writing, always. A delightful surprise is the demographic appeal of the Golden Girls. EVERYONE loves them! Old, young, gay, straight, male, female. Love seeing the cross-section of people in every audience. That is the San Francisco I know and love and grew up with here.


AC: I love the idea of bringing in celebrity guests! How have those personalities helped to influence the show?

MM: It’s always fun to have some local celebrities make a cameo appearances with the Golden Girls, but the audiences are coming to see the Fabulous Foursome!

AC: Why do you think this production does so well in San Francisco? Do you think it would have the same impact in other cities?

MM: The power of syndication makes it very appealing to everyone, here in San Francisco, and around the world, literally! It is “Very San Francisco” for sure, having 4 guys in drag playing these iconic roles, and our audiences can’t wait to come. It’s an annual pilgrimage, a true holiday tradition for many people here.

AC: Have you always been a Golden Girls fan? If so, who was your favorite character?

MM: Who doesn’t like the Golden Girls?! They are ALL my favorite, for different reasons, and it’s the interplay between the decidedly different four of them that makes it so funny and relatable! Like family members! Every Girl gets a rousing round of applause just by walking on the stage. It’s the audience’s way of saying hello and we love each and every one of you!

AC: Bang, Kill, Marry, Share A Cocktail: Sophia, Rose, Blanche, Dorothy

MM: Oh Lord. It had to…..I’d bang Blanche (myself! Haha!), I’d kill Sophia (out of seniority! She’s had a good long life), marry Dorothy (a woman with sense and experience) and share a cocktail with Rose (or 3 and get her bombed!).

AC: What kind of research goes into directing this show and did it vary from the type of research that went into getting into character?

MM: The research is in the years of watching them on television! The Golden Girls are very familiar friends, that’s part of their enduring appeal. It’s very nostalgic and like a comfort food for our audiences. People have a true attachment to the series, so we, the performers, know them as well as the audience. After playing these parts for so many years now, the actors get into their respective characters very easily now.

AC: What do you think it is about the show that still resonates the most with modern audiences?

MM: The truth of the comedy resonates with everyone! Modern audiences relate to the comedy and drama, as times change, but people don’t! The issues that they would explore on the series are the same as today. Love, friendship, old age, health, mothers/daughters, divorce, ex-husbands, companionship, annoying roommates, and people just having to live together to learn from and tolerate one another. The writers didn’t shy away from serious subject matter either. Some of the episodes were groundbreaking for their time in addressing such social issues as abortion and drug addiction.

AC: What’s the one Golden Girlsfashion statement you hope makes a comeback in 2015?

MM: God, not sure anyone wants ANY of those fashion statements to make a comeback, or maybe in the Smithsonian, behind glass! I do love the flash and dash of some of the getups, and Blanche gets to wear some hilarious outfits, but again most of the wardrobe is in the category of “What were they thinking?!” in the 1980s.

AC: Where can we catch your next show? Any big plans for the new year?

MM: We just finished filming Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte which should be released next year. We are doing another run of D’Arcy Drollinger’s hit show “Shit and Champagne” at The Oasis, the new club D’Arcy and Heklina are opening South of Market! I will also be doing a version of my solo show All Singing, All Dancing, All Dead at the new club later in January.

AC: What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

MM: Being together with family and friends and reminded that the holiday season is a state of mind, not just a few weeks for love and laughter on the calendar. The holidays are a very tough time of year for many people, so performing in a show making people laugh and smile is a beautiful gift to give and receive!

AC: What food are you looking forward to indulging in this Thanksgiving?

MM: All of it! Of course my brother-in-law’s fabulous barbequed turkey, some sweet potato pie, and all the sides! Pecan pie, pumpkin pie…then I won’t eat for a week so I can fit into my costumes for opening night, December 4th!

AC: In ten words or less, why should we come see Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes?

MM: You will be HAPPY that you came to the show!

So with that my Theater Pub pals, I leave you with this: Thank you for being a friend.Travel down the road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.

Be sure to check out what’s sure to be a fun and festive way to enjoy the holidays with The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes 2014 and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Come see Matthew and The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes 2014, Dec. 4 – 21, 2014 – Thurs. Fri. & Sat. – 8:00 pm / Sun. – 7:00 pm at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco! Tickets are $25 and are available at