Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia Return on Stage in ‘Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue’

(Broadway in Chicago)(Broadway in Chicago)

A new stage edition of the classic sitcom “Golden Girls” has been making its way across the country, and soon they’ll be stopping at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place in “Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue.”

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“It’s not an old episode, it’s a brand new show,” said Vince Kelley, who plays Blanche. “Sophia is out on bail looking to make money. Rose and Blanche have started a new hookup app for seniors to meet. Through the app, Dorothy finds a younger man and experiences a new romance.”

The stage play begins where the series ends, and is equivalent to two half-hour TV episodes.

“From the start of the theme song, everyone sings along,” said Christopher Kamm, who plays Sophia. “Whether you watch it or not, everyone knows the song.”

Other actors include Ryan Bernier (Dorothy), Adam Graber (Rose) and Jason Bowen (Stanley/Burt).

When asked about pushback they might receive from superfans who might question the choice of men playing the famed women characters, they say “haters are their motivators.”

“You’re going to find that negativity anywhere,” Kelley said. “But here’s what we know, every actress on that show had strong ties to the LGBTQIA community. These women loved their gay fans and community. So we can stand in that.”

For Kamm, it’s a show he watched growing up with his mother and grandmother.

“This is a way to pay homage to a show that was integral to my growing up,” he said. “I’m just playing my grandmother on stage now.”

“We all watched it with our families growing up,” Kelley added. “We do meet-and-greets on stage on the set after the show. We hear so much ‘I got tickets for my mom, or my daughters’ so much, because the show offers that comforting nostalgia and can be a good way to remember a loved one.”

“The best is when people say, ‘I didn’t know you were men,’” Kamm said. “They’re the reluctant husband brought by his wife or daughter but clearly had a great time by the amount of tear stains on his face.”

“So we focus on that aspect,” Kelley continued. “It’s a beloved show. People might be upset with how we’ve produced it, and that means this isn’t for you and you can watch the original online. We come from a place of love and respect.”

“Golden Girls” aired on NBC from 1985 to 1992, and ran for seven seasons with a total of 180 episodes. A first of its kind, the show set the tone for sitcoms focused on four female leads.

“Did you watch ‘Sex and the City’ or ‘Girlfriends?’” Kelley said. “They wouldn’t even exist. There wouldn’t even be that four character type show without the ‘Golden Girls.’ They started it. It wrote the format for how you do a four women sitcom show. It’s fun to watch it now knowing about those other shows. You can see the storyline tropes and history repeating itself. So if you’re wanting to watch it, look at it like that, another generation’s version of those shows I already like.”

As for the dynamic of this new foursome, Kelley and Kamm say they’re just like their characters in the sense that they really love one another.

“We really are our characters,” Kelley said. “We really love trying to make each other laugh in the show.”

“The Golden Girls is really so much about chosen family, and that’s exactly how we are in this show.” Kamm said.

If you’re interested in seeing the show, but are more of a “Golden Girls” novice, the guys have offered a guide that’s sure to give you just enough backstory before seeing the girls reunite on stage.

What episodes to watch:

Christopher (Sophia): “The Way We Met” and “Sick and Tired,” Parts 1 and 2

Vince (Blanche): “Journey to the Center of Attention”

Adam (Rose): “A Piece of Cake”

Ryan (Dorothy): “Henny Penny Straight No Chaser”

What to listen to:

“Out on the Lanai: A Golden Girls Podcast.” They cover each episode of the show, the spinoff “The Golden Place” and other works by the cast.

What to read:

“Golden Girls Forever: An Unauthorized Look Behind the Lanai” by Jim Colucci.

“Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue” at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., runs Feb. 6-25.

Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3

Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.

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