'A Very Sordid Wedding' a surprise hit at the Belcourt

Award-winning writer/director Del Shores has brought his latest film, A Very Sordid Wedding, the sequel to his play, movie and TV series Sordid Lives, to Nashville’s Belcourt Theatre for what turned out to be an extended run, from June 16–29, 2017.

Initially Nashville wasn’t going to run that long, but the first show sold out, and then another, so the Belcourt signed on to run it for a week. But the opening weekend was so successful that the Belcourt has extended the film’s run by another week.

Shores, along with producer/co-star Emerson Collins (Bravo’s The People’s Couch) hosted a pre-party at Canvas Lounge on Thursday before the show’s run began, featuring drag performances by Veronika Electronika. On Friday, June 16, they held a Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. screening, as well as an after party, again at Canvas, joined this time by Levi Kreis.

“Nashville was off the hook last weekend with response to film and sold out crowds,” Shores said in response to the glowing reception he and the film received. “We felt the Sordid love. So grateful to the audiences for supporting the film and big thanks to the Belcourt for extending us for another week.”

The sequel was a long time coming, and the fans have long been hungry for more. A string of sold-out openings and successful runs like Nashville’s are proof of that.

“Not a day goes by,” Shores said, “where someone doesn’t write me asking me for more Sordid Lives. So many of my LGBTQ fans, of all ages, have come out to their folks by showing them Sordid Lives because the humor helped them share their own story… I am excited to bring my characters up to July 2015 where they are hit with the reality of Texas having full equality. I wanted to contrast affirming churches and organizations like Faith In America with the hypocritical bigotry that is still being spewed from pulpits represented by the ‘Anti-Equality Rally’ in the film.”

“With the victory of marriage equality and the resulting backlash disguised as ‘religious freedom’ bills, our film exploring the impact of religious bigotry couldn’t come at a more timely moment in our history,” added producer and star Emerson Collins. “Hard-fought LGBTQ rights won over the past eight years now hang in the balance with the new presidential administration and conservative state legislatures across the country preparing to target the LGBTQ community.”

As the original film dealt with coming out in a conservative Southern world, A Very Sordid Wedding explores the questions, bigotry and the fallout of what happens when gay marriage comes to communities and families that are not quite ready to accept it. But when exploring questions like this in the Southern Baptist world of Winters, Texas, through the lens of Del Shores, be prepared for serious questions to yield comedy gold.

That comedy gold was ably delivered by an all-star ensemble cast of characters, led by Bonnie Bedelia (Parenthood), Caroline Rhea (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch), Dale Dickey, and Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace), and including other cast members from the original Sordid Lives film, such as Newell Alexander, Rosemary Alexander, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley, Lorna Scott, and Ann Walker. New to the Sordid Lives world are Emerson Collins, Tony winner Levi Kreis, and Whoopi Goldberg, with a special cameo, among many others.

The film’s World Premiere was in March in Palm Springs, California, where it received the country’s highest per screen specialty box office average its opening weekend. “We had an exclusive deal with Camelot Theaters, where the original movie ran for 96 weeks—they actually put some money into the film for that privilege.

Since then, A Very Sordid Wedding has enjoyed in its limited release, sold-out premieres in over a dozen markets. “After Palm Springs we went to Texas. We went to San Antonio, Austin, Waco, which was crazy for Emerson and me because we are both Baylor grads and on a Monday night we sold out! We are about to play San Diego: we’re the opening night of the LGBT Film Festival there and we are sold out.”

Film Journal International raves, “If you liked the original, the overdue sequel to Sordid Lives will both delight you and warm your ever-lovin’ heart” and The Hollywood Reporter says the film “offers some undeniably entertaining moments, and its talented ensemble, clearly encouraged to pull out all the stops, delivers their comic shtick with admirable gusto.”

Overall the reviews have been rave, but Shores added, “We did get one negative review, but I always go by what Steve Martin once said to Johnny Carson when Johnny brought on a bunch of reviews for Pennies From Heaven. Johnny was reading all these raves but added that he had read some that weren’t so flattering, to which Steve responded, ‘Well, those were the incorrect ones!’”

For more on the movie, check out its website, averysordidwedding.com, and if you can’t catch it in theaters, look for a DVD release as early as October 2017!

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