MAZ: What was the genesis of “The Golden Gays”? Who thought of doing it?
LQ: Everyone had thought of doing it, and many have tried. This one is the creation of John Patrick Trapper, a huge Golden Girls fan who actually took a vacation to come to Miami in the 90s to pay homage to the Golden Girls. What sets this show apart is that it is not only a spoof, but it’s a tribute. The public is loyal, and we have to be very careful how we touch our girls.
MAZ: What previous experience have you had?
LQ: I have had the pleasure of working in theatre for 25 years in almost every area possible. I’ve been a box office manager, costumer, make-up artist, backstage crew, president of the board and board member, publicist, set builder, casting director, stage manager, acting teacher, writer, performer and director. I have worked extensively with young actors from 5 years old to 14 years old. Whenever I finish directing a project I find I have the desire to act. And after performing a role I can’t wait to get back to directing. It’s a unique challenge that I embrace.
MAZ: Describe your role in taking this project from the page to the stage. Did you have any creative participation in the script?
LQ: I loved taking this from a written form to a living, breathing production. The witty characters that were portrayed on the TV series are brought to life by great actors and great writing. I found this to be true of John Trapper’s script since I was able to really believe and care about each character. Add performers that are completely dedicated to their individual character. From the very first rehearsal there was a chemistry that felt like family. So with a fun script and talented actors this has been a fantastic journey. You can’t really call it work.
John Trapper encouraged us to make suggestions to better the script. I was allowed to make changes but usually would talk it over with John to make sure we didn’t change the message or the thought he was trying to make.
MAZ: What were the greatest obstacles you had to surmount?
LQ: Schedules and rehearsal space. They are always a challenge. We all have day or night jobs in order to support our desires to be in theatre. Plus you hardly ever get the chance to rehearse in the exact space that you are going to perform in. My living room never seemed tiny until we went to rehearse on top of each other. It’s a good thing we all like each other. Something that could have been a big obstacle was minor due to working with fabulous people. The fact that the Dorothy character can cross the stage in two steps (6 feet long legs!) was hysterical to me. That was another fun challenge - teaching the male actor to walk like a female.
MAZ: How did you go about casting these very iconic parts?
LQ: John did the initial auditions. I was brought in for the call backs. Sometimes, if the right actor doesn’t audition, you choose the actor that can be directed in the audition but not exactly what you had in mind. We did the usual process of having the actors read but I knew within a moment of seeing them move and speak who was meant to be each of the girls. It was one of those magical moments that you hope for as a director. A couple of them insisted that they did not sing or dance. But they were wrong!!! I told them that I am not either a singer or dancer but as an actor I am a liar and I lie to the audience and make them believe I can. Guess what? They are all singers and actors. Quite good, I might add.
MAZ: Where was the world premiere? Describe opening night.
LQ: We opened in Silver Lake (a few miles from downtown Los Angeles) at Casita Del Campo’s Cavern Club to a sold-out crowd. What a great way to start the run of a show. We were all very excited to have an audience and I hoped that they would love these girls as much as I did. I cried during the standing ovation.
LQ: Doug East, the former Manager of the Weather Girls (who lives in Miami) called John and asked him if we were interested in coming. John reluctantly said yes and apparently began to make up the rest as our intention was just to do a little cabaret show. Doug was excited, John was excited and now we’re all excited.
MAZ: Have you ever been to South Beach before? What’s your impression of it from the L.A. perspective?
LQ: I was in South Beach a few years ago. It’s more humid. Ha, ha. Actually it’s like L.A. but has maybe a bit more of a party atmosphere. South Beach, being right on the ocean, feels more relaxed. Maybe there aren’t as many people working at being an actor and working another job or two. With that as your main focus, people seem to be a bit more serious. Even about their partying. I love it here. The ocean is beautiful!
THE GOLDEN GAYS will be at The Colony Theatre on Feb. 26 & 27 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. The Colony Theatre is located at 1040 Lincoln Road in South Beach. For tickets call 305-674-1040 or www.ticketmaster.com.