Vince Kelley as Blanche

‘The Golden Girls’ are back with brand-new laughs

RICH LOPEZ|  Staff writer

Adam Graber as Rose

Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sofia are back — and not in syndication. Thanks to producers at Murray and Peter Present, writer Robert Leleux and director Eric Swanson — not to mention a cast of four men in drag — The Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue puts everyone’s favorite ’80s ladies in a whole new light, starting on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St.

The show continues through Feb. 4 in Dallas.

Actor Vince Kelley plays Blanche, alongside Ryan Bernier as Dorothy, Adam Graber as Rose and Christopher Kamm as Sophia. Jason Bowen gets in on the fun as both Stanley and Burt.

Kelley had worked with the production team before, and when this project came to fruition, he helped curate the script. That also gave him an opportunity to call dibs on his character.

“I have always wanted to be Blanche,” he said. “And being with this project since inception, and given that I’m kind of in charge, I’m finally doing it.”

Kelley has clearly given this some thought. He has deconstructed Blanche with aplomb. And by the sound of it, he really isn’t far off.

Ryan Bernier as Dorothy

“First, she has the best costumes and gets to wear heels,” he said. “Blanche is so fun because she makes fun of herself, and that’s how I approach myself, really.

“Plus, I love the idea that in her mind, she is this beautifully tragic Tennessee Williams heroine — just like Vivian Leigh in Streetcar.”

The stage production is a total tribute to the show, but it also brings with it a whole lot of sass. In The Laughs Continue, Sophia is out of jail on bail after having been caught running a retirees drug ring.

Blanche and Rose are focused on CreakN, the new hookup app they created for seniors, and Dorothy — well, she’s just trying to keep it all together with the rest of the ladies and her sex-starved younger lover.

Or as Kelley described the production, “it’s as if Golden Girls never went off the air, but just switched from NBC to a streaming service.”

Christopher Kamm as Sophia

These Girls are more prone to R-rated language and not-so-subtle innuendos. Plus, there’s that whole drug ring business. And that hookup app is far less a Tinder-type and “a little more like GrindR than anything,” Kelley said.

So what is it with gays and the Goldens? Many a queer folk will cite them as favorites or throw out a random quote. Graphic tees depicting the four are popular in every gayborhood. The episodes are perpetually showing somewhere.

“We love our icons,  and they absolutely fall into that status,” Kelley explained. “Plus, I think everyone can relate to the show or at least one of the characters.

“I think in a queer space, they were trailblazers,” he continued. “The writing was smart, and, throughout the series, Rose had an HIV scare, Blanche’s brother is gay, Sophia’s son is a cross dresser. But they all approached them with the utmost respect.”

Jason Bowen as Stanley

He also pointed out that Golden Girls set up the blueprint for female-ensembles that followed. That four-person dynamic would later be seen in Sex and the City, Girls, Insecure and Desperate Housewives.

Essentially, these icons paved the way for other queer TV icons.

The irony is that Kelley has noticed something particular about audiences at The Laughs Continue: Murray and Peter Presents shows often feature many of the RuPaul’s Drag Race queens, so the audience is often full of gay men. They all figured the same for this Golden Girls run until ….

“It’s 40-50-year-old white women,” Kelley exclaimed. “That’s been our core audience, which has been a fun surprise but so amazing. And sometimes they bring their kids, so we have this multigenerational thing going.”

That’s great and all, but do they get the gay jokes laced into the script? “Well, they don’t know what poppers are. I think us gay men can get away saying things a little differently, but really, the Golden-verse is for everyone,” Kelley said.      

For tickets, visit