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Southern Florida by John Lariviere


Deck Them Halls, Y'all

Also see John's coverage of The Colony Hotel's Royal Room Cabaret

Deck Them Halls Y'all
Leslie Jordan
Leslie Jordan plays "three generations of white trash celebrating Christmas" in his 90-minute, self-written, one-man holiday show Deck Them Halls Y'all. First there is Memaw, the middle-aged ex-stripper. "She has these theories about everything," says Jordan. Such as the story that nightclub owner Jack Ruby was a homosexual, and killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to shut him up about their gay affair. Jordan next changes into Memaw's daughter Theresa Louise ("Pony") who is a lesbian struggling with a long history of substance abuse and transgender issues. He finally takes on the role of 10-year-old Ronnie Lee Posey. Ronnie Lee is the son conceived by Pony as a result of a rape; and it would appear that he also has transgender issues. "I play all the characters. There's a lot of singing. Memaw does a whole strip," says Jordan.

The slightly bawdy nature of this show, and the maturity of some of the subject matter make it PG-13, but it is by no means offensive or filthy. Jordan's performance was a bit breathless at first, and he paced the stage in manner that seemed to be searching for focus. Some of Memaw's dialogue felt too much like Jordan was thinking it up as he went along. While his personality sells itself, his performance as Memaw needs an objective directorial eye to clean up his beats and staging. His performance as Pony was intriguing as we could see him stretch a bit as an actor as he handles the character's issues. Of the three characters, Pony is undoubtedly the least like Jordan, and it is always a pleasure to see an actor transform himself for the sake of the role—filling it out with a change of voice and physical mannerisms. The last character of Ronnie Lee is the least developed, but one cannot expect great depth from a 10-year-old. Because attention has been paid to tie together the characters and their references, the closing acting/singing moment needs to be stronger to bring the whole show to an organic end.

There is enormous talent packed into the 4' 11" Jordan, and he surely possesses the ability to tell a tall tale and hold the attention of an audience. Though Deck Them Halls Y'all needs a bit of polish, Leslie Jordan shines as a gifted comedian.

Comedic actor Leslie Jordan is probably best known for his recurring role as Beverly Leslie in the hit TV series "Will & Grace" for which he received an Emmy Award in 2006. Jordan is also an accomplished stage actor and playwright. In one of his best-known performances onstage, he played "Brother Boy" in the play Sordid Lives, which he later reprised for both screen in the film version and TV for the Logo spin-off "Sordid Lives: The Series." He wrote and starred in the autobiographical play Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel, which was also made into a motion picture. He has toured successfully with his one-man stage comedy Like a Dog on Linoleum, in which he shares stories of his struggles with substance abuse, his weakness for street hustlers, and the loss of his father at an early age. His autobiographical one-man show My Trip Down the Pink Carpet opened Off-Broadway at the Midtown Theater on April 19, 2010, after touring the nation for several months, and is scheduled to appear at London's Apollo Theatre.

This one-night only South Florida performance of Deck Them Halls, Y'all was on Sunday, December 5, 2010, in the Amaturo Theater of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District at 201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Presentations at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also contributed by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc.. The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Consortium is a cultural partnership between the Performing Arts Center Authority, Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and The Historic Stranahan House Museum. It is supported by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Visitors Bureau. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts houses the Au-Rene Theater, the Amaturo Theatre, and the Abdo New River Room, and has affiliated venues at the Parker Playhouse, the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center, the Miramar Cultural Center and the newly opened Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. For any of the offerings of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts you may contact them by phone at 954-462-0222 or online at www.browardcenter.org.

Cast:
Memaw/ Theresa Louise (Pony)/ Ronnie Lee: Leslie Jordan

Crew:
Costume Design: Craig Taggart


See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere



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