Joan Collins during her one-woman show at B.B. King Blues Club Grill in Times Square. Jeff Eason
Even the way Joan Collins explains how she thought up her one-woman show is itself a Joan Collins-y story.
"I was at a birthday party," she said. "I think Frank Sinatra's—why not drop another name?—and sitting next to Gregory Peck, who told me how much fun he was having doing his own one-man show."
Both those men are long dead, but Ms. Collins soldiers on., Joan returned to New York on the cusp of a new memoir, "Passion for Life," for an encore of a one-night-only performance she gave in 2010. Whereas that show was at the Loews Regency hotel on the Upper East Side, this one was at B.B. King's in Times Square. Although she didn't do the splits as she did back then, she did wear a pair of sparkling silver pants so tight they might have been by Sherwin Williams. SHW +2.48%
"She's just so strong," said a visibly smitten Alan Cumming (they have worked together and share the same facialist, he said). "She could embrace being self-mocking early on because she was so self-knowing from the start."
If there was any question of how much her 400 gathered fans adored her, it was settled by the standing ovation they gave her for walking on stage, her smoky eyes glittering even brighter than her diamond necklace and cuffs.
In her introduction, Scissor Sisters singer Ana Matronic called her "quite possibly the most glamorous woman of all time." (Ms. Matronic had been told that the only truly appropriate way to introduce Ms. Collins would be to throw a drink in her own face).
What followed was more than just a campy romp down memory lane. Ms. Collins is a rare bridge between today's world of Kardashian concoctions.
After posing nude in its pages in 1983 at the age of 49, Ms. Collins was told by a Playboy interviewer "You were called the poor man's Elizabeth Taylor." Her reply was classic and immortal: "I was called the poor man's everything. I was the poor man's Hedy Lamarr, the poor man's Ava Gardner, the poor man's Brigitte Bardot. The poor man didn't do too badly."
Reminded of that quip, Tina Louise, who played Ginger Grant on "Gilligan's Island," laughed. "For her, numbers don't exist," she said, herself a longtime friend of Ms. Collins. "You have to get older but you don't have to get old."
For better or worse, her public persona has been sealed since 1981, when she first appeared on "Dynasty," the iconic prime-time soap opera. At B.B. King's, the show's soundtrack served as her personal leitmotif.
Following an extensive Q&A with the audience, she feigned a call from Le Cirque reminding her of a dinner reservation and retired to her dressing room.
Backstage, a reporter asked her what advice she would've given her younger self before she stepped onto her roller-coaster career. "I wouldn't have dreamed of listening," she scoffed. "Because I already knew, darling: never give up, always be fabulous." With that, she donned a fur coat and left.