When I heard of the stage production, Cocktails with the Carringtons, featuring three sexy male cast members from the 80s show Dynasty, John James (aka Jeff Colby), Jack Coleman (aka Steven Carrington), and Gordon Thomson (aka Adam Carrington), I jumped at the chance to find out what the show is all about and what these three men are up to today.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love an Aaron Spelling show. And my love for the 80s nighttime soap opera, Dynasty, was no different. Dynasty was the time capsule show of the rich in the 80s. The show had wealth, fashion, scandals, sex and of course, the pool fights with Alexis and Krystal. Dynasty began its run-on ABC-TV in the fall of 1981 and ran for nine seasons with huge ratings. The show featured the most amazing gay-loving iconic characters Fallon Carrington, Sammy Jo, Krystle Carrington, Dominique but of course Alexis Coby (There was Krystal and Blake cologne–I only mention it because I wore Blake cologne for years. Did you?).
Cocktails with the Carringtons will be playing in Los Angeles area on April 15-18 at the Marriott Burbank Airport, at 2500 N Hollywood Way, and The Roosevelt, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Tickets are available at http://www.cocktailswiththecarringtons.com/
So, here is a true nighttime soap scoop. I ask all you need to know about their new stage show and offer a look inside what it was like creating some of TV icon male characters, including the first nighttime gay character. Grab a cocktail and enjoy….
What inspired the creation of Cocktails with the Carringtons?
John James: I am a fan of the early nightclub scene of the 50’s and sixties. I have always wanted to do a show like this, sing, tell a few jokes, and interact with our audience. I really felt that this show would be entertaining, nostalgic, and also enlightening to our younger audience. Things were very different in the 80s. It was cool.
Gordon Thomson: John James had the inspired idea of creating this show and he inspired Jack and me.
Jack Coleman: Several months back, JJ called me and asked what I thought about putting together a stage show/cabaret act with Gordon. The three of us onstage telling war stories and singing a song or two. I liked the idea immediately, but I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about the musical part. JJ was adamant that we put on a show, not just talk about our brilliant careers as if we had just screened a movie. And he was right.
What will guests expect with coming to see Cocktails with the Carringtons?
Thomson: If the title intrigues them, they will not be disappointed. Although alcohol is not consumed on the stage.
James: I wish I could tell you, but I can’t.
Coleman: In short, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll walk out humming the score. I’m only sort of joking.
What is your favorite part of Cocktails with the Carringtons?
James: The music. It’s a lot of fun. And the Q&A.
Coleman: My absolute favorite part of the show is just getting back together with these two knuckleheads. We are a good team, we crack each other up, and it’s as if no time has passed since we were all on the Warner Hollywood lot [now The Lot] making the show that exemplified the 80s more than any other.
What is your favorite cocktail?
James: Bourbon and soda
Thomson: A very dry vodka martini.
Coleman: In terms of cocktails, I’m pretty much a one trick pony. I make a world class vodka martini, but that’s the end of my repertoire. Fortunately, that’s the only drink I need. Frosty-cold-blunt-force-trauma to the cerebral cortex.
What is your favorite project ever?
James: This is it. It’s something that we created, and it is evolving. Who knows where this may go?
Thomson: “The Frog Prince” with Jim Henson and the Muppets, Toronto, 1971.
Coleman: I have two favorite projects ever–first would be Dynasty, as it gave me a career. Second would be Heroes, as it gave me a second career and a character that came out of nowhere to become one of the most central characters on the series. The first season of the show was magical. In fairness, I also have a deep love for State Senator Robert Lipton on the The Office, as well. Like Steven, a gay character, also with outrageous storylines, but played entirely for laughs. It was a real privilege to be a small part of that iconic show.
What was your favorite Dynasty cliffhanger?
Thomson: Moldavia. The aftermath was the worst let-down.
Coleman: My favorite cliffhanger was, believe it or not, the Moldavian Massacre. The cliffhanger itself was genius. The mishandling of its aftermath was not.
Where do you think your characters are today?
James: Living in the mountains of Colorado in a huge log cabin mansion, wondering why his early love life was so screwed up.
Thomson: Do you have an alcoholic executive barely able to cope with anything around him, and angrier than ever.
Coleman: I’d like to think that Steven has gone back to Princeton where he is approaching retirement. For the last 30 years he has taught classes in business ethics. (Princeton being my mother’s birthplace and ancestral home has nothing to do with this daydream. )
So Jack how was it taking on role of Steven Carrington?
Playing the first gay character on a prime-time drama was both daunting and gratifying. It was the early 80s and Standards and Practices kept a close eye on any sexual shenanigans, so Steven bounced around from gay to trying to be straight, which was frustrating for many gay viewers, I know. But it was groundbreaking nonetheless, and hugely important to so many people. To this day, people will tell me how much it meant to them to see a gay character on tv. Representation matters, whether it’s Black, Latino, female, Asian, trans or gay. Or all the above. If you don’t see yourself reflected in popular culture, you get the message that you don’t exist or aren’t important. Steven was an important character.
Interestingly, I’ve played a gay character four times: on Dynasty, Vampire Diaries, Scandal, and The Office. The last two characters didn’t start out gay but the writers decided to make him gay. So, clearly, there’s something about me that’s just irresistible to a writing staff. Hey, what if he had an affair with the Chief of Staff’s husband? Hey, what if he had an affair with Oscar? It’s a living.
A memory to share about hanging in West Hollywood?
James: I lived in West Hollywood. I loved it. During the eighties the best bars and after-hours clubs were in West Hollywood. I had MANY very late nights, and we all ended up having an Oki dog at 3 AM.
Thomson: I used to love Marix – still do!
Coleman: One indelible memory I have of West Hollywood was in the early 90s, going with my new girlfriend, Beth, now my wife of 26 years, to brunch at Mirabelle’s, with their great outdoor patio. When we walked in, almost every head turned to look, and for maybe the first time in her life, it wasn’t to look at her. That’s when she realized that this new relationship came with a different set of challenges.
Did you tell Gordon Thompson that Marix has not reopened?
I would not have recognized any of them, if they passed me on the street.