By Beth Wasson
WICHITA - If you remember sitting in front of the television every Saturday night and watching The Golden Girls, then you’ll want to make it to Roxy’s Uptown and see the live version with four local actors portraying the roommates. This is the third season in a row that Roxy’s has produced an uproariously funny, all-male version of the show.
The TV show featured Rue McClanahan as Blanche, Betty White as Rose, Bea Arthur as Dorothy, and Estelle Getty as Sophia. In the live version, Scott Noah is the flirty southern belle Blanche, Kyle Vespestad is the simple and naïve Rose, Monte Wheeler is the no-nonsense Dorothy, and Tom Frye is the wise-mouthed Sophia.
Entering the theatre, you see the stage is set as the living room of the famous house. The script comes from the actual television show through an arrangement with a national parody theatre company. Although this is the third year Roxy’s has done the show, the script is new, and seats are selling fast.
“The first year sold like gangbusters and they had to turn people away,” says Frye. “I think the Saturday shows are already sold out and the shows on Fridays and Sundays are filling up.”
Frye says he enjoys working with the cast and he’s performed with each member many times, but this is the first time all four are together in the same show. Frye plays Sophia, the eldest member of the household and Dorothy’s mother.
He delights in playing the wise-mouthed Sophia noting, “All the characters are iconic and have their little peccadilloes. But, Sophia’s dealing with old age and it happens to all of us. She loves living with the girls, but misses her independence.”
Frye is well known in the area as an actor, writer, and director and even did stints as a high school drama teacher and instructor at Wichita State University. He’s also a frequent contributor at Mosley Street Melodrama and in fact, wrote and directed the current show, To Have and Have Not.
Frye shared the directing duties with one of the Mosley actors since he’s unable to be in two theatres at once. He has yet to see a full run of his show. “I only saw the dress rehearsal and would like to see the show if I can,” Frye said.
In his few moments of spare time, Frye has written some scripts for the Kansas Radio Theatre which airs on several radio stations throughout the state. “The show runs on Saturday mornings at eight and Sundays at noon on 92.3 FM. I’ve done four scripts and I have two more coming. The show’s been running for seven or eight months,” Frye explained. The theatre features music and comedy skits in the style of old-time radio shows.
The Golden Girls runs through Mar. 26, with shows Thursday-Saturday and a Sunday matinee at 2pm. Tickets are still available for any night but Saturday and range from $20-$30. A catered meal is also available before the show for an additional $15. Reserve tickets at 316-265-4400. l