A Very Sordid Wedding in New Orleans

A Very Sordid Wedding

Sequel to Del Shores’ Hit Play, Movie & TV Series Sordid Lives Reunites

All-Star Cast of Iconic Characters Exploring Acceptance, Conflict and Bigotry in a Small Texas Town Following Supreme Court Marriage Equality Decision

Louisiana Premiere at Joy Theatre in New Orleans, Saturday, Sept. 2 at 2:00 p.m.,

Sordid Lives Creator Del Shores and Producer/Star Emerson Collins In-Person

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Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Rue McClanahan (portrait), Dale Dickey and Ann Walker

in Del Shores’ A Very Sordid Wedding. Photo credit: Steven K. Johnson.

Award-winning writer/director Del Shores (“Blues For Willadean,” “Southern Baptist Sissies,” “Queer A Folk”) brings his latest film, A Very Sordid Wedding, the outrageously funny sequel to his play, movie and TV series Sordid Lives, to New Orleans for the Louisiana Premiere at Joy Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 2 (Doors open 1:00 p.m., screening at 2:00 p.m.). Sordid Lives creator Del Shores and producer/star Emerson Collins will be in-person to introduce the film and will be doing a post-screening Q&A. For tickets, visit http://bit.ly/2x447ju. For more information on A Very Sordid Wedding, visit https://www.averysordidwedding.com/.

The film brings back an all-star ensemble cast of characters, rooted in the Southern Baptist world of Winters, Texas, in the weeks following the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage equality ruling where not everyone there is ready to accept it. Since the film’s World Premiere in March in Palm Springs, Calif., where it received the country’s highest per screen specialty box office average its opening weekend, A Very Sordid Wedding has expanded in limited release via The Film Collaborative enjoying an explosive audience response with sold-out premieres in 34 markets to date including Los Angeles, San Diego, Toronto, Dallas, Austin, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Kansas City, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Birmingham, Nashville, Lexington, Atlanta, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Provincetown and more. For further updates on the film’s release, visit http://www.averysordidwedding.com/.

The Huffington Post proclaims A Very Sordid Wedding as “much more than a wonderful movie, but a game-changer In LGBT politics,” Film Journal International raves, “If you liked the original, the overdue sequel to ‘Sordid Lives’ will both delight you and warm your ever-lovin’ heart” and The Hollywood Reporter says the film “offers some undeniably entertaining moments, and its talented ensemble, clearly encouraged to pull out all the stops, delivers their comic shtick with admirable gusto.”

The ensemble cast of 32 actors is led by Bonnie Bedelia (“Parenthood”), Caroline Rhea (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Dale Dickey (Independent Spirit Award winner “Winter’s Bone”), Leslie Jordan (Emmy winner “Will & Grace”) with cast members from the original Sordid Lives film Newell Alexander (“August: Osage County”), Rosemary Alexander, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley, Lorna Scott (“Wanted”) and Ann Walker.  New additions to the Sordid Lives world include Emerson Collins (“The People’s Couch”), Levi Kreis (Tony winner “Million Dollar Quartet”), Carole Cook (“Sixteen Candles”), Alec Mapa (“Ugly Betty”), Aleks Paunovic (“Van Helsing”), Katherine Bailess (“Hit The Floor”) and a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg.

Sordid Lives, Del Shores’ fourth play, opened in Los Angeles in 1996, and ran for 13 sold-out months. It received 13 “Critic’s Choice” honors and 14 Drama-Logue Theatre Awards. In 1999, Shores wrote and directed the film adaption of Sordid Lives starring Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant, along with most of the cast from the play. The movie became a cult phenomenon taking in nearly $2 million in its eight-theatre limited release. The movie won six Best Feature and 13 Audience Awards at film festivals. In 2002, Twentieth Century Fox released the DVD/Video, which has now sold over 300,000 units. The film was re-released by Wolfe Video in 2014. Sordid Lives: The Series, a 12-episode TV series prequel to the Sordid Lives film, premiered on MTV’s LOGO network in 2008.

“Not a day goes by where someone doesn’t write me asking me for more Sordid Lives. So many of my LGBTQ fans, of all ages, have come out to their folks by showing them Sordid Lives because the humor helped them share their own story,” explains writer, director and producer Del Shores. “I am excited to bring my characters up to July 2015 where they are hit with the reality of Texas having full equality. I wanted to contrast affirming churches and organizations like Faith In America with the hypocritical bigotry that is still being spewed from pulpits represented by the ‘Anti-Equality Rally’ in the film.”

“With the victory of marriage equality and the resulting backlash disguised as ‘religious freedom’ bills, our film exploring the impact of religious bigotry couldn’t come at a more timely moment in our history,” continues producer and star Emerson Collins. “Hard-fought LGBTQ rights won over the past eight years now hang in the balance with the new presidential administration and conservative state legislatures across the country preparing to target the LGBTQ community.”

As the original film dealt with coming out in a conservative Southern world, A Very Sordid Wedding explores the questions, bigotry and the fallout of what happens when gay marriage comes to communities and families that are not quite ready to accept it. Bigoted “religious freedom,” marriage equality and cultural acceptance are all explored with Del Shores’ trademark approach to using comedy and his much beloved Sordid Lives characters to deal with these important current social issues and the very real process of accepting your family for who they are instead of who you want them to be.

Synopsis: A VERY SORDID WEDDING

It’s 2015, seventeen years after Peggy tripped over G.W.’s wooden legs and died in Sordid Lives, and life has moved into the present for the residents of Winters, Texas. Sissy Hickey (Dale Dickey) is reading the Bible, cover to cover, trying to make some kind of sense out of what it really says about gay people. Her niece Latrelle Williamson (Bonnie Bedelia) has divorced her husband Wilson (Michael MacRae) who has taken up with a hot young gold digger. Latrelle’s now out and proud gay son Ty (Kirk Geiger) is on his way back to town with his black man and news of their own. Her sister LaVonda (Ann Walker) is still cussin’ and drankin’ and is being blackmailed to sit with the sick and afflicted. LaVonda’s best friend Noleta (Caroline Rhea) meets a hot younger man while visiting her awful mama in the hospital. G.W. (David Steen), sporting new fiberglass legs after Noleta burned his old ones, is still feeling guilty and mourning Peggy. Nearly incoherent barfly Juanita (Sarah Hunley) has moved from her obsession with Vacation Bible School roosters to the royal family while Wardell (Newell Alexander) and Odell (David Cowgill) still bicker at the bar. Tammy Wynette champion Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan) hasn’t been back to Winters since Peggy’s funeral, and he’s working at a tragic little gay bar in Longview, having added Loretta and Dolly to his new medley act “We Three Queens of Oper-y Are” till a chance meeting with a dangerous criminal forces him out on the run. As the sordid saga continues, an anniversary memorial service is being planned in honor of Peggy at Bubba’s Bar while the Southside Baptist Church is planning an “Anti-Equality Rally” to protest the advancement of same-sex marriage, spearheaded by Vera Lisso (Lorna Scott) and Mrs. Barnes (Sharon Garrison). Both events are to take place on the same night, so the cast of colorful characters are all on a collision course for shenanigans and fireworks, and a surprise wedding!

 

About DEL SHORES – Writer/Director/Producer

Shores has written, directed and produced for film, network and cable television, and theatre. His most recent film, a hybrid adaptation of his GLAAD Award-winning play Southern Baptist Sissies, won fifteen film festival awards including eight Audience Awards and is available on all platforms. His film, Blues For Willadean, is an adaptation of his NAACP Award-winning play The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife starring Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer. A film adaptation of his play Daddy’s Dyin’ (Who’s Got The Will?) was released by MGM and Propaganda Films. Shores wrote and directed the film version of his play Sordid Lives starring Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan and Beth Grant with many of the actors from the original stage cast. Sordid Lives: The Series, a television series prequel to the film, premiered on Viacom’s LOGO network in 2008, and Shores created, wrote, directed and executive produced all 12 episodes. Shores’ seven plays have run for over six years collectively in Los Angeles where they all premiered and won numerous awards from GLAAD, the NAACP, the LA Drama Critic’s Circle, LA Stage Alliance, LA Weekly and Backstage.

Credits

Beard Collins Shores Productions presents

A VERY SORDID WEDDING

In association with Buffalo Gal Pictures

Supporting sponsor: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Written and directed by Del Shores

Produced by Emerson Collins, Del Shores

Executive Producers: Louise H. Beard, Phyllis Laing, Jeff Beesley, Camelot Theatres, Rozene & Ric Supple

Co-Producers: Donna Mathewson, Anthony Gore, Stuart Howell Bell, Carl Foster Miller & Karl H. Christianson, Craig & Scott Caulfield-Seidner

Director of Photography: Paul Suderman

Production Designer: Chad Giesbrecht

Editor: Donna Matthewson

Costume Designer: Sandy Soke
Music by Joe Patrick Ward

Total running time: 109 minutes

 

Official Website: http://www.averysordidwedding.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/averysordidwedding/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sordidwedding

Southern Baptist Sissies Hits the Screen in New Orleans!

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Award winning Writer/Director Del Shores is set to take New Orleans by storm bringing his award winning film Southern Baptist Sissies to the  Zeitgeist Arts Center tonight at 7:30pm.  The film is the screen adaptation of Shores’ play first produced in 1999.  It’s the story of four gay boys who are growing up in the Southern Baptist Church, and how they each deal differently with the conflict between the teachings of the church and their budding sexuality.  Although written in 1999, the film and its themes about religion, sexuality, and self-acceptance are stronger than ever in today’s society of change.  This film—which stars Emerson Collins, William Belli, Luke Stratte-McClure, Matthew Scott Montgomery, Dale Dickey and Leslie Jordan—is a highly stylized, sharply produced  live production of the actual play.  Southern Baptist Sissies is a laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly provocative film and a must see.  VIP was lucky enough to catch up with both Del and Emerson this week while they are here promoting the film and here’s what they had to say:

Del, tell us why you wrote this play?

When Matthew Shepard was murdered, I really started wondering if the crime had been influenced by some of the teachings from the Church.  My dad was a Southern Baptist Preacher so I had a lifetime of experience with the rhetoric that happens to boys growing up that way.  This film is exactly about that.

You wrote the play back in 1999, how do you think the message resonates today?

It’s crazy because I feel like it is more relevant today.  When we made the film, I changed some the lines to reflect some of the pop and political figures of today, but because society is changing, those on the other side of equality are fighting back and just as hard as the gay community is so it makes this battle very relevant.

The relationship between the four boys is dynamic, was it difficult casting the roles?

The casting actually came together perfectly.   I had worked with many of the other actors before including Leslie Jordan from Sordid Lives so it wasn’t that difficult to figure out who needed to be in this film.  Both Emerson and I came up with the idea to cast William and when we were thinking about the role of Mark, it really just hit me that Emerson was Mark.  I originally met Emerson during a production of the play in Dallas, and he is an extraordinary talent as well as a partner in the production company, Beard Collins Shores Productions.  He was a perfect fit for the role.

As this is a limited engagement screening, why did you want to bring this film to New Orleans?

First of all, I love New Orleans.  It has just the right amount of fun and sin.  Also, since we own the film, we didn’t just want to give the film to anyone.  We wanted to put the film out in the markets where the experts have told us that our work is embraced and favorably received.  New Orleans is one of those places.  I have done my one man show here before and the audiences are great.  I love and respect the support that New Orleans has given me over the years and hope that everyone will come out to see this film also.

 

Thanks Del!   The film is awesome as are you! 

 

VIP also caught up with the amazing Emerson Collins who plays the lead character Mark in the film and he also wanted to share some thoughts with us. 

 

Emerson, can you tell us what drew you to the role of Mark in the film?

The range of Mark, that we see him from 8 years old to being an adult, is an incredibly exciting challenge to tackle.  It’s the most complicated role I’ve ever played, and growing as an actor is the best part of doing the work!  More importantly though, the role he serves as the central story line and tying all of the pieces together to share a truly important message about the relationship between so many in the LGBT community and certain kinds of religious people and organizations – that made it a great opportunity, and truly important for me to get it right.

 

You are amazing in the film and truly embody the character of Mark, are there any parallels between Emerson and Mark?
That’s very kind of you, and their certainly are some!  I relate to Mark’s ability to see injustice around him and his frustration with wanting to find a way for his voice to be heard.  Beyond that, I was raised in the South, in the Southern Baptist church, so I can relate to aspects of that journey to dealing with the pain caused by this subject.  Del just has Mark say it better than I ever could!

 

The cast of the film are all amazing actors, who were you most excited to work with?
It’s impossible to play favorites; the genius of the veteran actors was absolutely amazing to watch as they worked.  I’ve worked with most of them before.  I will say it was a special thing to work with Matthew, Luke and William.  As the four Sissies on this journey together, I felt very fortunate to be in the company of guys who are great actors and wonderful people.
In addition to being a talented actor, you are also a producer, which is more challenging for you?
They present distinctly different kinds of challenges, and both are incredibly difficult and rewarding in their different ways.  It’s kind of a left-brain/right-brain scenario.  The real challenge was attempting to play the lead of the film and produce it at the same time, and I was only able to do so because of the incredible crew and actors we had on this journey with us.

 

What is the message you want the audience to take away after seeing the film?
With the conflict that continues to surround the progress of LGBT equality, the specific message is to understand how damaging the words used by certain conservatives in the social argument are to impressionable LGBT youth.  There are kids still hearing in this conflict that they are less than, or unworthy, because of who they are.  The greater universal message is that we have all felt rejection, and we should continue to work toward that perfect world where all are loved and accepted for exactly who they are.

 

 We know you are currently filming Bravo’s The People’s Couch, but what do you hope to do next? 
Between releasing Sissies nationwide in theaters and the ridiculous fun we are having with Bravo, my plate is full for a bit.  In that, I’m excited to find new acting opportunities to continue to grow in and through other roles.  So if you know someone with a great part – let me know!

 

Thanks Emerson, you are the best!   VIP really believes in the both of you and this film.  I, EJ, as Publisher really appreciate the opportunity to meet and get to know you both a bit and look forwards to helping  support this film and your future projects as well. 

 

Both Del and Emerson will also be at the film on Friday April 4th, and Saturday April 5th for a Q&A after the film.  This is a Don’t Miss opportunity so Don’t Miss this!   7:30pm, 1618 Oretha Castle Hayley Blvd, Zeitgeist Arts Center.  There are no pre-sale tickets, so get there early!

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