Leslie Jordan and Del Shores have collaborated countless times over the years, but ironically they’ve never shared a stage in the ATL. That changes when the duo – both gay – appear together on Nov. 23 as part of “A Sordid Soiree,” benefiting AID Atlanta.
The Emmy Award winning actor (“Will and Grace”) met the playwright/director well over two decades ago, when Jordan came in to audition for Shores’ play “Cheating.” Shores remembers that the actor cracked him up at a line reading and they’ve been professional and personal colleagues since. The dynamics have changed over time, though – when they met Shores was engaged to a woman (Jordan would be his best man at the wedding) but later came out.
“When I told my therapist I was gay I was told to tell a friend I could trust – and the first person was Leslie,” recalls Shores. They also share similar backgrounds and family members similar in characteristics.
Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” of course, became a cult film, especially in the gay community, with Jordan starring as Brother Boy. Jordan was also in the “Sordid Lives” television series and most recently in Shores’ film adaptation of this play “Southern Baptist Sissies.”
As part of “Soiree,” Shores will tell stories for one hour and Jordan the next. Shores won’t really know what his material will be until closer in, although he has a funny Swinging Richards story he will tell for the first time.
Jordan, too, is known for having plenty to discuss. “At this point in my career, I can just get on stage and talk for 45 minutes,” he says. Shores spent some time in Atlanta recently premiering “Sissies” as part of Out On Film and then as a grand marshal for Atlanta Pride. It’s one of his favorite places – and behind Dallas, the second largest Shores fan base.
“People here really relate,” he says.
The two men stay in touch, although face to face meetings are getting rarer as they travel and perform throughout the year. Luckily, “Leslie has just discovered text messaging,” says Shores.
After “Soiree,” Shores will be getting “Sissies” ready for a theatrical release and planning a “Sordid” sequel reuniting some of the original cast members.
Besides his touring shows and film work, Jordan is in “American Horror Story: Coven.” He says it’s been a great experience, getting to work with actresses such as Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy.
“I looked on the set and there was also Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole,” he laughs. He gets his script daily so he’s still trying to make sense of it all, although he calls his character something of a warlock.
More in theater
A few years back, lesbian playwright Sarah Gubbins made a big splash with her lesbian-themed “Fair Use” at Actor’s Express. This weekend her “fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life” bows at the Alliance, the first project of the inaugural ArtsVibe Teen Ensemble, a group of teenagers working with the company all season. It involves a lesbian student, Jo, who becomes friends with another girl, straight Emma, and eventually gets bullied at her Catholic school. Gubbins wrote it last year for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.
“I wanted to write a show that dealt with bullying and take a look at why people did it, why they were so threatened by people being LGBT,” she says. Although she has spent some time in Atlanta and her native Chicago, Gubbins now calls Los Angeles her home.
The national tour of “Ghost” is also in town through this weekend, opening the 2013-2014 Broadway Across American season. Gay actor Brandon Curry is a part of the ensemble, playing a number of characters including The Shadow Ghost. Based on the Demi Moore-Patrick Swayze film, “Ghost” has familiar staples such as the psychic character of Oda Mae Brown and the pottery scene. Yet despite the similarities, the musical can stand on its own, says the actor. Curry, who grew up in North Carolina, is having fun with The Shadow Ghost, the character that the deceased Sam faces shortly after he is killed. It’s the performer’s first national tour and he is with “Ghost” until next fall.