Saturday, June 13, 2009

Review - Del Shores The Storyteller (Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Gayfest NYC, Jason Dottley as Part of Gayfest NYC 2009)

Review by Byrne Harrison

It's a unique opportunity to have a chance to hear a playwright talk about the inspiration for his works. When that playwright is Del Shores, the creator of Daddy's Dyin' (Who's Got the Will?), Southern Baptist Sissies, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, and the wildly popular Sordid Lives (which has been a play, a film, and a TV series), you can be sure that there will be plenty of laughs. And while Shores admits that the stories he tells may be embellished just a little, that's okay, because they are hilarious and often very touching.

Part of a national tour, Del Shores The Storyteller played in New York on June 6th. As part of Gayfest NYC 2009, the two sold-out performances benefited the Harvey Milk High School.

Those who don't know Shores' work might have thought that they'd be left out of the jokes. Fortunately, Shores' one-man show is a delightful mix of show biz gossip (Want to know which celebrities have crossed Shores in his years in the business? He names names.), family anecdotes, and selections from his plays. In addition, Shores' partner, Jason Dottley (who plays Ty on "Sordid Lives: The Series") made a surprise appearance, as did the wonderful Caroline Rhea, who filled in for the ailing Rue McClanahan.

While the majority of the evening was light-hearted in nature, Shores scored a dramatic hit at the end of his show when he performed a monologue, originally part of Southern Baptist Sissies, about hypocrisy in the church. The piece was emotionally devastating and showed that his skills as a comic writer do not mean that he is a lightweight when it comes to serious topics.

Without a doubt, the high point of the evening was the presentation of the Gayfest NYC Community Service Award to Del Shores for his outstanding service to the LGBT community by celebrated actor and playwright Charles Busch, who also serves on the Advisory Board of Gayfest NYC.

The Del Shores The Storyteller national tour continues in DC and Philadelphia. Visit Del Shores' website for details.

Del Shores The Storyteller
Written and Performed by Del Shores
Produced by Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, Gayfest NYC, and Jason Dottley

Gayfest NYC Festival Staff
Producers: Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman
Festival Associate Producer: Marvin Kahan
Associate Producers: Robert A. Sherrill, Jeffrey Shulman, Jerry Wade
General Manager: Barbara Vaccaro
Business Manager: Michelle Rodriguez
Directors: Martin Casella, Tony Stevens
Production Stage Manager: Andrea Wales
House Manager: C. Colby Sachs
Festival Staff Assistant: Rebecca Silverman
Casting: Michael Cassara, CSA
Marketing: Hugh Hysell, HHC Marketin
Press Representative: O&M Co.
Art Director: Scott Fowler, Acting Out Design
Legal Counsel: Peter Panaro, Esq.

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