Meet 'California Dreams' Cast 24 Years After the Fan Famous Sitcom Ended
Can you believe it's been over 25 years since The Dreams were rocking together on stage? The creators, Brett Dewey and Ronald B. Solomon (the creators of Saved By the Bell) took a group of the coolest teenagers and brought them together to give us such a nostalgic 90s moment. Let's see what the gang is doing now!
Brent Gore played the role of Matt Garrison for 31 episodes. His character was the original leader of the group after he and his sister Jenny, played Heidi Noelle Lenhart, started the band. So for the earlier seasons, most of the episodes surrounded the daily lives of the two siblings handling their music career and their family life.
The show was originally going to center around the Garrison family until the creators decided to switch up the storylines to focus more on the group of friends, rather than the domestic drama. After his departure in 1994, Gore starred in several movies and TV shows but he mostly stuck to his roots as a singer-songwriter!
AS A SINGER-SONGWRITER
You can catch up with the singer on YouTube performing original songs and some covers. His first post was a cover of The Beatle's song "Blackbird" which was posted 9 years ago. Most of his music was posted 9 years ago: a cover of The Beatle's "Blackbird", some acoustic performances, and a lyric video for his song "Despite All That's Happened."
Ryan O'Neill starred in the first season of California Dreams as Dennis Garrison, the youngest of the Garrison siblings. He was usually dragged into the antics and schemes of his older siblings. Remember in the episode "It's a Guy Thing" when he teamed up with Matt and Richard to "fix" things around the house to prove their masculinity?
His last appearance was in the season finale "Where's Dennis?" which aired on December 5, 1992. After his departure, O'Neill was featured in the 1994 episode "A Wing and a Prayer" in Northern Exposure. It's hard to find the right social profiles because he’s often confused with Ryan O’Neal. It’s safe to say he’s living life away from the limelight.
Gail Ramsey's last screen appearance was in her role as Melody, the mother of the Garrison kids. She starred in the series from 1992-1993 while the family was still the show's main focus and hasn't been featured in any other projects.
Before she was the matriarch figure, Ramsey starred in General Hospital as Susan Moore for 8 episodes between 1978 and 1982. Susan was involved in a number of different relationships and legal troubles across several seasons after she gave birth to twins, Jason and Drew. Unfortunately, her character suffered an untimely death at the hands of the one man she trusted.
HEIDI NOELLE LENHART
Jenny, the only sister of the Garrisons, was played by Heidi Noelle Lenhart. While in The Dreams she was the pianist/vocalist for the group. The first season focused a lot on her issues dealing with young love and trying to balance family time with her passion for music.
After her departure from California Dreams, Lenhart went on to appear as a guest for several TV series in the 90s and early 2000s including El Hazard: Wanderers, Fame L.A., and Beverly Hills, 90210. She also was the voice behind Kelly Jenar in the animated series "Eagle Riders" which had 64 episodes and ran for one season.
Before she was Tiffani Smith, Packard was paving her way into the acting realm with small roles in other popular TV shows including The Wonder Years, Blossom, and Boy Meets World. She is one of the original cast members that made it through the season 3 cut who actually becomes one of the main characters of the show.
A year after California Dreams ended in 1996, Packard starred in the 1997 movie Little Bigfoot and made a guest appearance on USA High. The character was definitely a call-out to her days as Tiffani Smith. Tiffany Gleason was the main character of Jackson's childhood friend who became a major TV star years later.
Packard went back to her California days with her appearances on Baywatch. Packard actually played four different characters but she's most remembered as April Giminski. Her first appearance on the show was as Joanie in the 2-part episode "The Trophy". It took about 6 episodes for them to bring Packard on as a regular for the 8th and 9th season.
Her most recent movie appearance was as Lisa in Family Vanished (2018). The thriller follows a family who has to fight for their lives and their family home after they return from a vacation trip. Packard has been married to Darrin Privett since 1997 and is now a glamourous stay-at-home mom for her four children.
Jennie Kwan has kept busy since her role as Sam Woo. She’s had a versatile career on screen, on stage, and behind the mic! She played the young vocalist from the second season all the way to the show’s ending in 1996.
She's had quite a few projects on stage. In 2004, she took a role as Princess Jasmine at Disney's California Adventure for a stage production of Aladdin. Jennie Kwan was an understudy and had a swing role for the U.S. tour of the Tony award-winning musical comedy "Avenue Q".
SUCCESS AS A VOICE ACTOR
If you're an anime fan, she's become quite a prominent voice actor for the genre. Her role as Suki in Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005) was originally supposed to be for one episode, but everyone loved the character so much, the writers just had to bring her back!
In 2017, she was a part of the cast of .hack//G.U. Last Recode which was nominated for the Behind the Voice Actors Awards for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game. She most recently guest-starred in the Madoka Magica anime and Scissor Seven as Thirteen. You can stay up-to-date with her on Instagram!
Fans know him as Sly, but his real name is Sylvester. While he wasn't on stage with the band, he had the very important job of managing all of The Dreams' affairs. Sly is the second member on the list who stayed for the show's entire run.
After California Dreams, Cade went on to make a guest appearance in 3 episodes of Something So Right. He went on to star in several shorts for half a decade. Since 2010, he’s continued his acting career (California living!) and is in post-production for The Trouble and Toby’s Big Adventure.
WILLIAM JAMES JONES
When the Garrison's moved away, it gave The Dreams a chance to get new members which included Tony Wicks, the drummer. However, the young actor moved away from the spotlight and into the classroom to learn how to help people with mental health struggles. Dr. Jones graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute with a Ph. D in Clinical Psychology.
JAY ANTHONY FRANKE
Jake Sommers joined the band in the season 2 premiere "Jake's Song" and stayed on the show until The Last Gig. He became the voice behind Special Agent J.C. Denton in the cyberpunk video game franchise Deus Ex in 2000. Just recently, he was selling autographed photos of Jay Sommers on his official Facebook page!
Diana Uribe played Lorena Costa for the last three seasons of the show. In 1997, Uribe had a small role as Anita Lopez in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997) starring Pam Grier, Robert De Niro, and Samuel L. Jackson. She later made guest appearances in Nash Bridges and Strong Medicine, but since 2001, she hasn't had any other screen appearances.
About a year ago, Mark Winkle joined co-star Michael Cade on Good Morning Lala Land where they talked about the cast is still so close with each other even after all these years. When asked what the moral of the story was for the show, Jackson replied, "For me, it was just kindness, loving one another, respecting each other."
With the recent surge of revival shows from the 80s and 90s, fans were waiting for the day that the band would get back together, even for just one performance. Although they came together for "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" in 2010, it just kept fans wanting more.
Who would have thought that over 20 years later, the gang would reunite with Ryan Cabrera as their frontman! Check out Cabrera rocking a black tank with the classic California Dreams logo. While he wasn't on the show, Cabrera is best known for his song "On The Way Down" from 2009.
We can thank Jennie Kwan and Kelly Packard for getting everybody back together! Packard, who we all remember as the bass player Tiffani Smith said the show was their "love project." The reunion concert brought together Mark, Sly Winkle, Mark, and Tony Wicks. If there's enough buzz, maybe fans can get the band to do a California tour!