BWW Interview: How Being SORDID, Queer & SISSY Made Del Shores the Southern Gentleman He Is Today

BWW Interview: How Being SORDID, Queer & SISSY Made Del Shores the Southern Gentleman He Is Today

Most people know Del Shores as the creator/writer/director of the play and film SORDID LIVES, which morphed into the TV series Sordid Lives: The Series. Del also has utilized his producing and writing talents on Showtime's Queer As Folk and ABC's Dharma & Greg, among others. No stranger to being on stage, Del has been touring his various stand-up acts since 2009. Del's latest theatrical opus SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A PLAY finds the man himself onstage as various characters he brought life from his typewriter in his west coast premiere, beginning at the Celebration at the Lex on February 25, 2018.

Del was gracious enough to allow me to interview him again since crossing paths multiple times since the dawn of the 21st century.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Del! It's been years since I've interviewed you last.

What prompted you to decide to introduce SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A PLAY to your Los Angeles fans now in 2018?

Well, Gil, I only finished the play late 2017, so as I designed this tour, I knew I wanted to play what I call my hometown now, the city that has embraced my plays for so many years. In that, I wanted to premiere out-of-town and have some shows under my belt because L.A. scares the shit out of me... you know, industry, friends. I contacted The Celebration and Jay (Marcus), Shep (Michael A. Shepperd) and Michael (Kricfalusi) were so wonderful in welcoming me into the Celebration family, a family I've supported and loved for years, but never had the opportunity to work there.

SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A PLAY include characters you couldn't originally fit into your projects. Which projects did Yvonne, Sarah, Jimmy Ray, Loraine, Marsha and Aunt Bobby Sue almost make it in?
Well, I wouldn't say they wouldn't fit in. I'd say, I just haven't found that perfect place for them - yet! As I say in the play, "someday you're going to be watching something I've written and say, 'Oh my God! That Del Shores was telling the truth.' Well, my VERSION of the truth.

BWW Interview: How Being SORDID, Queer & SISSY Made Del Shores the Southern Gentleman He Is TodayAre a lot of your characters in all your scripts based on your Winters, Texas neighbors you grew up with?

It's a mixed bag. Sarah, the elderly actress, is based on my relationship with the actress that played "Juanita" in SORDID LIVES. Marsha, the monkey-hating lesbian with COPD, was a fan I met at a meet-and-greet in Houston. Loraine is based on the last two years of my mother's life (The Crazy Years). Jimmy was this redneck I met at a Kum & Go gas station in Mississippi on tour. Yvonne - a waitress in Dallas and Aunt Bobbie Sue, my former aunt, once married to my Uncle Humpty from Winters, Texas who hijacked my Aunt Sissy's memorial service.

When you first realized you wanted to be in show biz, were you thinking in front of the camera, onstage, or behind the camera/offstage?

On stage! In front of an audience. That's why this show is full circle for me! Everything else I've done is an extension of being an actor.

You've been complementing your writing/producing gigs with stand-up tours for the last eight years. As a writer on television shows and many gay classics, did you miss the immediate high of being under the spotlights, bathing in the audience love? Or are you just as satisfied sitting in the back of the theatre listening to the audience responding to your written words?

I have said many times, I'm never happier sitting in a theatre, directing my own plays. In that, I love being back onstage. Doing stand-up was truly me having to redefine my career after a legal battle over my series - Sordid Lives: The Series - for two years. So, I was unable to work in TV until the lawsuit was settled. So, I had to figure out a way to make a living. Thankfully, I had a lot of fans out there who showed up. That lawsuit ultimately was such a gift, because I love to perform. I've said it before, it doesn't suck to make people laugh and be adored.

You came on board Showtime's ground-breaking Queer As Folk in 2003. QAF was pretty racy even for cable in 2003. Do you think the envelope would be pushed even more if QAF was being produced today?

Lord, I don't know how we could push the envelope more. QAF was real and sexy. We crossed boundaries first, went to places nobody had. I'm so proud of my work on that show. I feel that we finally showed that gay people have lives, problems - just like everybody else - and sex!

BWW Interview: How Being SORDID, Queer & SISSY Made Del Shores the Southern Gentleman He Is TodayWhat else would there be to show a TV audience?

More full frontal, maybe? I don't know, honestly. Showtime never censored us and I felt we told the truth and didn't shy away from reality.

I have seen you out and about Los Angeles supporting your SORDID LIVES/SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES casts in their individual projects. How great to have a close-knit bond amongst you. Any secret to having this enviable, not-that-common camaraderie years after a projects completed?

Well, one or two have dropped out because of one reason or the other. But mostly, I have a loyal, grateful group of very talented actors I consider my family who have worked with me for decades. They make my life and career better. I think maybe the secret to us staying together so long is, well, besides being great actors, they are just good people, amazing humans. And most are from the South, so we bond over our heritage. We speak the same language! Are from the same dirt. And we honestly LOVE each other.

Can your devoted fans expect another edition of SORDID LIVES or SOUTHERN BAPTIST SISSIES?

No, sir. Those two projects have been completed in my mind. I felt A Very Sordid Wedding was a perfect ending to the SORDID franchise and SISSIES stood alone.

What's in the near future for Del Shores?

This tour, a new play called THIS SIDE OF CRAZY, and a new TV show that is in serious development, that again celebrates small-town life.

Thanks again, Del! I look forward to meeting your latest misfit characters searching for a play!

I've enjoyed this. Thanks so much!

For ticket availability and show schedule at the Celebration at the Lex through March 25, 2018, log onto For other SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A PLAY tour dates, log onto

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From This Author Gil Kaan