Leslie Jordan: From Small Screen to Big Stage

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THERE WAS a full house in the Renberg Theater at Los Angeles’s Gay and Lesbian Center. It was opening night of Leslie Jordan’s one-person show, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, and his body microphone kept cutting out. After about five minutes, he said, “Y’all, I’m gonna stop for a minute. This mike is messed up. Was it me?” The flop sweat began; the lesbian technician came up on stage and practically undressed the star of the show. Then, like the pro that he is, Jordan picked up where he left off … and the mike still wasn’t fixed. So he unplugged and kept going. He was a huge hit and got a much deserved standing ovation.

Jordan’s one-person show and his new memoir of the same title tell the story of how he got to where he is. While not a leading man, he has been able to have a very successful career as an actor. One of the stories he tells in the show is about his rather unceremonious arrival in Hollywood: “I stepped off a Trailways bus at the corner of Vine and DeLongpre in 1982. I had $1200 sewn into my underpants—that was my mother’s idea.” From that inauspicious arrival in L.A. to winning an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal of the inimitable Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace, Jordan’s tale is one of reslience, survival, and self-exploration.

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