Bruce Robert Harris, Jack W. Batman and Julian Stoneman
My Trip Down the Pink Carpet
The Groucho Club
November 10, 2010
A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!
We reached the door of Soho’s Groucho Club just as wind and rain threatened to turn my folding umbrella into wilted origami. A glass of pink champagne offered by a waitress at the door of the pink themed party upstairs softened things…After all, we were there to welcome Leslie Jordan of TV’s Will and Grace and Hollywood fame to London. At four foot eleven Jordan puts one in mind of a camp George Burns and/or an American, bespectacled Ronnie Corbett. But there any similarities end. Jordan, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, is very much his own person, joking about former drug problems and other aspects of his life, past and present, with candour, and dare I say it? Good grace.
Nearly tripping over the tripods I found myself before a small stage, if you could call a large pink cloth covered box a stage. The banner behind it ironically advertised ‘Leslie Jordan – My Trip Down the Pink Carpet,’ the hit show the star wowed them in back in the Big Apple. The plan now is to bring Jordan’s one man show to London and there was a distinct air of anticipation as press and invited guests sipped pink champagne or grenadine tinted mocktails. We intentionally let trays of mini bagels and lox, their pink salmon glistening, pass us, as did other veggies in the house. Oh for some Philadelphia Cream Cheese!
Jordan was finally introduced by special guest Paul O’ Grady, whose show Jordan was appearing on the following evening (Fri. Nov. 12th). The ever droll O’Grady stepped up to the mike in brown slacks and rust coloured v neck sweater, quipping that he was ‘dressed that way cause he’d just left a student riot,’ before launching into one of those ‘back then’ monologues with ‘you call that a riot?’ Whatever O’Grady said during the course of his rapid fire, seemingly spontaneous tirade, was said with such good humour and clear observation and wit, you just had to laugh. Jordan had a tough act to follow. But follow he did.
Photo by John Couzens
Stepping up on the pink box, Jordan was at once all bubbly charm and enthusiasm, playing to his fans down front as any good actor/comedian would, enacting his famous Will and Grace line to Karen, (co-star Megan Mullally) ‘I thought I smelled gin and regret,’ in a tongue in cheek, Truman Capote drawl, going on to tell of his first trip to Hollywood via a Trailways bus, (‘not even Greyhound’)in 1982, with $1,200.00 sewn into his underpants. Not to mention the fact that his reoccurring guest role as Beverly Leslie in Will and Grace had originally been written for Joan Collins, who’d refused to do a scene in which her wig would be torn off by her co-star. By the time Jordan finished his brief but animated discourse, we were all convinced his show should be staged in London ASAP, if abundant laughs and applause are any indication. Which is great, as Jordan assured us that his show appeals to anyone who has ever had any kind of problem (weight, drugs, gender issues, etc), as evidenced by the many fans who’ve told him they not only identified with his show, but were cheered and comforted by it.
After posing for countless photos, including one with yours truly, in which Jordan held up the EXTRA! EXTRA! card we’d given him, we chatted about his recent trip to my old stomping ground, Philadelphia aka Philly, where, it seems he’d ordered a cheese steak sandwich from some Rocky-esque Italian American guys in South Philly, who stopped in their tracks when they found out he was on TV, only to laughingly add, ‘We don’t watch that one,’ when they found out the name of the show. Having mutually lamented the lack of a decent glass of our old standby drink, (non-alcoholic) iced tea in London, we said bye till Press Night as Jordan cajoled a young waiter carrying a tray of mini pink frosted cupcakes into posing for photos with him. I just had to laugh.
In addition to his Emmy Award winning stint on Will and Grace (for Best Guest Actor – 2006), Jordan has an impressive range of acting credentials ranging from well known commercials in the States, through countless TV shows, among them offbeat hit Ugly Betty, theatrical productions and films, including his playing of Brother Boy in Del Shores’ play Sordid Lives which went from stage to film and cable TV show. In addition, Jordan won the Ovation Award, The Garland Award and The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of Preston Leroy, an aging barfly in Del Shores hit play Southern Baptist Sissies and has also enjoyed considerable success as the author of the memoires his 90 minute hit show draws its' name from.
But despite all the accolades, the real news is that Leslie Jordan - My Trip Down the Pink Carpet is set to open in London at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue, this February 2011 – exact date to be confirmed...Stay tuned!
Photo by John Couzens
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