NLT presents ‘Sordid Lives’

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good morning Natchez and the Miss-Lou! Natchez Little Theatre’s fifth production of its 64th season is a black comedy about white trash.

“Sordid Lives” was nominated for more than 30 awards during its long run in Los Angeles. The show was originally produced by the author, Del Shores, for theatre in Hollywood on 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.

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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.

To tell you more about the plot is not printable in this newspaper. This show contains strong adult language and situations and pistols that will be firing blanks. Viewer discretion is advised.

Don Vesterse, the director and set designer, for “Sordid Lives” has assembled 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 are guaranteed to make “Sordid Lives” something this community will be talking about for years to come.

The outstandingly talented cast includes Lou Ellen Stout as Bitsy Mae Harling, fresh from the penitentiary, who sings the country songs that start each act; Dwight Williams as Ty Williamson, the actor/son of Latrelle Williamson, who has fled his east Texas roots to find life in the Big Apple; Debbie Boykin as Sissy Hickey, Latrelle’s over-the-top aunt who has just quit smoking; Morgan Mizell as Noleta Nethercott, who’s no-good two-timing husband G.W. has caused insurmountable grief in this close-knit community of Winters; Corky Vess as Latrelle Williamson, a pious lady who’s interpretation of the Bible is most unique; Yvonne Murray as Lavonda Dupree, Latrelle’s sister, who isn’t pious at all; Moe LeBlanc as G.W. Nethercott, whose wife Noleta helps him and his wooden legs discover his feminine side; Wade Heatherly as Wardell “Bubba” Owens, a bar-owner who is haunted by his past indiscretions; Stacey Carden as Odell Owens, Wardell’s idiot brother who has a gift with string; Julie Emerick as 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; Rusty Jenkins as 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 as Peggy Sue Ingram, who Jesus called and she answered; and Charlie Vess as Reverend Barnes, the Baptist minister who oversees a most unprecedented funeral.

That description alone should have you making reservations to see this hysterical comedy that starts at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday evenings and at 2 p.m. Sunday. All tickets are $15 for non-members of Natchez Little Theatre.

There will be a benefit/preview performance for the Watkins Street Cemetery Fund at 7 p.m. Wednesday with all proceeds going to that non-profit organization.

Make your reservations now as once the buzz starts we are hoping all shows will sell out, and if we can tell in advance that it will sell out, we will gladly extend the run of what is sure to be a most popular hit! But we can’t extend a show at the last minute.

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 online at NLT’s website:

Bo Allen is the assistant director with Pj Forrest and Michael Ware as stage managers. Rose Temple is the sound technician, and I’ll be running the lights. Natchez Little Theatre is partially funded by the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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


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