A Q&A with the cast of ‘Cocktails with the Carringtons’

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Cocktails with the Carringtons

When I heard about the stage production, Cocktails with the Carringtons, featuring three sexy male actors 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 all the fuss is 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, pool fights with Alexis and Krystal. Dynasty began airing on ABC-TV in the fall of 1981 and ran for nine seasons to 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 that because I wore Blake Cologne for years. Have you?) .

Cocktails with the Carringtons will be held in the Los Angeles area April 15-18 at the Marriott Burbank Airport, 2500 N Hollywood Way, and The Roosevelt, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Tickets are available at http://www.cocktailswiththecarringtons.com/

So here is a real night soap ball. I ask everything you need to know about their new show and offer insight into what it was like to create some of the TV icon’s male characters, including the first late-night gay character. Grab a cocktail and enjoy….

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What inspired the creation of Cocktails with the Carringtons?

John James: I’m a fan of the early nightclub scene of the 50s and 60s. I always wanted to do a show like this, sing, tell a few jokes and interact with our audience. I really felt this show would be entertaining, nostalgic and also educational for our young audience. Things were very different in the 80s. It was cool.

Gordon Thomson: John James had the brilliant idea to create this show and it inspired Jack and me.

Jack Coleman: Several months ago, JJ called me and asked me what I thought about putting on a stage/cabaret show with Gordon. The three of us on stage telling war stories and singing a song or two. I liked the idea straight away, but I have to admit I wasn’t sure about the musical part. JJ was adamant that we were doing a show, not just talking about our brilliant careers like we just screened a movie. And he was right.

What will guests expect when they come to see Cocktails with the Carringtons?

Thomson: If the title intrigues them, they won’t be disappointed. Although alcohol is not consumed on stage.

James: I wish I could tell you, but I can’t.

Coleman: Anyway, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll go out humming the score. I’m just joking.

What’s your favorite part of Cocktails with the Carringtons?

Jacques: The music. This is very fun. And the questions/answers.

Coleman: My favorite part of the show is getting back together with those two jerks. We’re a good team, we’re having fun and it’s like no time has passed since we’ve all been on the Warner Hollywood lot [now The Lot] doing the show that exemplified the 80s more than any other.

What’s 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, it’s the only drink I need. Frosty-cold-blunt-trauma to the cerebral cortex.

What is your favorite project?

James: That’s it. It’s something we created and is evolving. Who knows where this may lead?

Thomson: “The Frog Prince” with Jim Henson and the Muppets, Toronto, 1971.

Coleman: I still have two favorite projects. The first would be Dynasty, because it gave me a career. The second would be Heroes, because it gave me a second career and a character that came out of nowhere to become one of the most central characters in the series. The first season of the show was magical. To be fair, I also have a deep love for State Senator Robert Lipton on The Office. Like Steven, a gay character, also with outrageous plots, but played entirely for laughs. It was a real privilege to be part of a small part of this iconic show.

What was your favorite Dynasty cliffhanger?

Jacques: Moldova

Thomas: Moldova. The sequel was the biggest disappointment.

Coleman: My favorite cliffhanger was, believe it or not, the Moldovan massacre. The cliffhanger itself was awesome. Mishandling its consequences was not.

Where do you think your characters are today?

James: Living in the mountains of Colorado in a huge log mansion, wondering why his early love life was so screwed up.

Thomas: Do you have an alcoholic executive barely able to cope with anything around him, and angrier than ever.

Coleman: I would like to think that Steven has returned to Princeton where he is nearing retirement. For the past 30 years, he has taught business ethics courses. (Princeton being my mother’s birthplace and ancestral home has nothing to do with this daydream.)

So Jack, what was it like playing Steven Carrington?

Playing the first gay character in a primetime drama was both daunting and rewarding. It was the early 80s and Standards and Practices was watching all the sexual shenanigans closely, so Steven went from being gay to trying to be straight, which was frustrating for a lot of 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 television. Representation matters, whether black, Latino, female, Asian, transgender or gay. Or all of 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: in Dynasty, Vampire Diaries, Scandal, and The Office. The last two characters didn’t start out gay but the writers decided to make it gay. So clearly there’s something about me that’s just irresistible to a writing team. Hey, what if he was having an affair with the chief of staff’s husband? What if he had an affair with Oscar? It’s a life.

A memory to share about the hanging in West Hollywood?

James: I lived in West Hollywood. I liked it. During the 80s, the best nightlife bars and clubs were in West Hollywood. I had a LOT of very late nights and we all ended up having an Oki dog at 3am.

Thomson: I loved Marix – I still love him!

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, for brunch at Mirabelle, with their large outdoor patio. When we walked in almost every head turned to look, and perhaps for the first time in her life, it wasn’t to look at her. It was then that she realized that this new relationship came with a different set of challenges.

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