Archived Story

‘Sordid Lives’ makes stage return

Published 12:01am Monday, September 24, 2012

Good morning Natchez and the Miss-Lou! Natchez Little Theatre’s Fall Pilgrimage production of its 65th season is a revival of NLT’s 64th season hit adult comedy about white trash, “Sordid Lives.”

NLT’s sold-out January production received 12 Standing Ovation Award nominations and won eight, including best play; best director; best sets; best actress; best supporting actor and supporting actress and best cameo actor and cameo actress.

The show was originally produced by the author, Del Shores, for theatre in Hollywood, May 11, 1996.

In 2000, the movie adaptation of “Sordid Lives” was released by Regent Entertainment and has become a cult phenomenon. Mr. Shores wrote and directed the film, which starred Beau Bridges, Olivia Newton-John and Delta Burke. “Sordid Lives” then went on to become a popular American television series on Logo in 2008, with many of the original film cast plus Rue McClanahan of “Golden Girls” fame.

When Peggy, a good Christian woman, hits her head on the sink and bleeds to death after tripping over her lover’s wooden legs in a motel room, chaos erupts in Winters, Texas. Dysfunctional is not sufficient to describe the characters of this comedy about white trash that inhabit east Texas. These folks have lots of baggage that they don’t mind opening up for the world to see and underneath all the squabbling, love and acceptance rules the day! This show contains strong adult language and situations and pistols that will be firing blanks.

Don Vesterse, the award-winning director and set designer, for “Sordid Lives” has reassembled one of the finest ensemble casts in the history of Natchez Little Theatre, Mississippi’s oldest community theatre, celebrating 80 years of entertainment. His casting, direction and the sets made “Sordid Lives” a sold-out hit in January and something this community is still talking about.

The outstandingly talented cast includes Lou Ellen Stout back as Bitsy Mae Harling, fresh from the penitentiary, who sings the country songs that start each act, with Mary Jane Richards sharing the role.

Dwight Adams is again playing Ty Williamson, the actor/son of Latrelle Williamson, who has fled his east Texas roots to find life in the Big Apple; Debbie Boykin, best actress winner, is Sissy Hickey, Lavonda and Latrelle’s over-the-top aunt who has just quit smoking; Morgan Mizell, best supporting actress winner, returns as Noleta Nethercott, who’s no-good two-timing husband G.W. has caused insurmountable grief in this close-knit community of Winters, Texas.

Corky Vess is back as Latrelle Williamson, a pious lady who’s interpretation of the Bible is most unique; Yvonne Murray again plays Lavonda Dupree, Latrelle’s sister, who isn’t pious at all; Chris Cavette joins the cast as G.W. Nethercott, whose wife Noleta helps him and his wooden legs discover his feminine side; Wade Heatherly, best supporting actor winner, returns as Wardell “Bubba” Owens, a bar-owner who is haunted by his past indiscretions and shares the role with Lee Dellinger.

Stacey Carden is back as Odell Owens, Wardell’s idiot brother who has a gift with string; Julie Emerick, best cameo actress winner, is Juanita, a bar-fly with a flare for make-up; Leigh Anne Mason as Dr. Eve Bolinger, the state mental hospital’s psychiatrist who dreams of being Dr. Phil but actually needs therapy herself shares the role with Pj Forrest; Rusty Jenkins, best cameo actor winner, is back as the over-the top, Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram, the institutionalized brother of Latrelle and Lavonda who fancies himself as Tammy Wynnette and if you squint your eyes and stand far enough back he could pass; Pj Forrest and Rose Temple play Peggy Sue Ingram, who Jesus called and she answered in a seedy motel bathroom; and Charlie Vess returns as Reverend Barnes, the Baptist minister who oversees a most unprecedented funeral and shares the role with Bo Allen, the show’s assistant director.

The description alone should have you making reservations to see this hysterical comedy that runs every Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday evening, throughout the Natchez Fall Pilgrimage, Sept. 28 – Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. All tickets are $15 for non-members of Natchez Little Theatre.

There will be a benefit/preview performance for the Mayweather Hall Restoration Fund at 7 p.m. Thursday with all proceeds going to that project.

Make your reservations now as busloads of white trash partiers are descending on Natchez Little Theatre to see this most popular hit comedy! Don’t miss the show by procrastinating!

For reservations, call Natchez Little Theatre at 319 Linton Ave. at 601-442-2233 or 1-877-440-2233 or to guarantee your reservations, purchase them on-line at NLT’s website: wwwnatcheztheatre.org.

I hope to see you and your sides splitting at “Sordid Lives!”

 

Layne Taylor is the artistic and executive director of the Natchez Little Theatre.