Texas-Born Playwright Del Shores to Stream Benefit Reading of ‘Sordid Lives’ with Leslie Jordan

Leslie Jordan (Photo: Beard Collins Shores Productions)

Playwright Del Shores, executive director of the Del Shores Foundation, and the organization’s program director, Emerson Collins, are co-hosting a one-night only benefit reading of Shores’ play, “Sordid Lives” on May 31. The reading will feature much of the original cast including Leslie Jordan.

The free live stream reading and an accompanying auction of “Sordid Lives” memorabilia will benefit 23 live theater companies which are associated partners of the Del Shores Foundation whose mission is to “find and facilitate the development of new southern queer artistic voices . . .”

Shore’s play is described in a press release as “a black comedy about white trash as a gay actor struggles to come out to his eccentric, dysfunctional Texas family. When the family matriarch trips over the two wooden legs of her lover in a seedy motel room, her funeral brings three generations of the family back together.”

“Sordid Lives” was first produced in Los Angeles in 1996 and won 14 Drama-Logue Awards. The play has spawned a 1999 movie version, a 2008 television series on LOGO, and a marriage-equality film sequel, “A Very Sordid Wedding,” that made its Texas premier in San Antonio in 2017.

Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Rue McClanahan (portrait), Dale Dickey and Ann Walker in Del Shores’ movie “A Very Sordid Wedding.” (Photo: Steven K. Johnson)

Emmy Award winning actor Jordan has appeared as the character, Brother Boy, in all the “Sordid” iterations. Among his many acting credits are appearances on the television series “Will and Grace,” “American Horror Story,” and “The Cool Kids.” Most recently, he has become an internet sensation thanks to his daily Instagram videos.

In addition to Jordan, actors from the original “Sordid Lives” production will participate in the reading including Newell Alexander, Rosemary Alexander, Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Emerson Collins, David Cowgill, Dale Dickey, Beth Grant, Debby Holiday, Caroline Rhea and Ann Walker. Olivia Newton-John, who appeared in the film and television series, will deliver a special message.

Besides play writing, Shores, who was born in Winters, Texas, has been active as a film director and producer, television writer and producer and an actor.

Among Shores’ plays are the 1987 “Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will?” which was also made into a movie, the play and movie “Southern Baptist Sissies,” and the 2010 stage production, “Yellow,” which won Best Production of the Year and Best Original Play from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. In 2018, Shores performed his one-man play, “Six Characters in Search of a Play,” at the Public Theater of San Antonio.

Co-Host Emerson Collins is an actor, producer and director best known for four seasons on Bravo’s “The People’s Couch” and “Rent Live” on Fox. He produced and starred in the films “A Very Sordid Wedding” and “Southern Baptist Sissies,” winning Best Actor at the Red Dirt International Film Festival.

An auction of memorabilia and benefit reading of Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. (Central Time). The reading is free and reminders can be set for the live stream on YouTube: https://bit.ly/2Lu9VMz. A Facebook link will be announced seven days before the live stream.

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