The death of local drag icon Heklina won’t stop the Golden Girls from being a friend for your upcoming holiday season, as Miss Coco Peru has signed on to take Heklina’s traditional role of the garishly outfitted Dorothy Zbornak in this year’s production.

Is it too early to start thinking Christmas? Blanche, please… Of course it is. But there’s big news for cheesecake fans. After the sudden and stunning death of Heklina in early April, it seemed like it might be curtains for the annual Golden Girls Live! holiday stage show that every Christmas recreates the top-rated 1980s retiree sitcom that remains staggeringly popular among the gays.

Your favorite Miami vice will indeed return for its 18th year. The show has just announced that there will be a Golden Girls Live! for 2023, with Miss Coco Peru taking the Dorothy (Bea Arthur) role. Peru has previously been seen in the films To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Wigstock, and Trick, and the television series Will & Grace, and Arrested Development.

"Although her shoes can never be filled, I'm honored to step in for my good friend and drag sister, Heklina, in the role of Dorothy Zbornak,” Peru said in a press release. “I believe with all my heart that Heklina would give me her blessing, and then call me a ‘cunt!’”

As has been the case in recent years, the cast is rounded out by D’Arcy Drollinger (Rose), Matthew Martin (Blanche), and Holotta Tymes (Sophia). It is not yet known which episodes the girls will reprise this year, but do not expect it to be one of the actual Christmas episodes of NBC’s Golden Girls.

As Heklina explained to us in a 2016 SFist interview "Well, since there were only ever two actual Christmas episodes in the entire seven seasons of The Golden Girls, we've had to take actual episodes and Christmasify them."

"How we keep the act fresh is to update the material with our own slapstick and in-jokes,” she added. “Also, of course, we need to come up with freshly campy outfits every year. Making outfits for Dorothy is a challenge in itself, Bea Arthur had her outfits custom made for Golden Girls."

This year’s Golden Girls Live! performances will again be at the Victoria Theatre, November 30 – December 23, 2023, with performances on Thursdays through Sundays, and matinee shows some Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets for the ever-popular run go on sale sooner than you think: Tuesday, August 22.

You can expect a great show, but do not expect Heklina’s signature filthy humor.

"This is the only family-friendly show I do all year long, so bring your grandmother," Heklina told us in 2016. "We love seeing real Golden Girls in the audience."

Related: 'Golden Girls Live' Christmas Drag Show Returns to SF For 15th Year, Actually Live This Time [SFist]

Image: Golden Girls Live!