Meet Sissy from ‘Sordid Lives’: Lori Lee

Beth Grant (left) and Lori Lee as Sissy in Sordid Lives.

Proud Mary Theatre Company’s Sordid Lives, the Southern cult comedy play by Del Shores, will now be virtual and streaming August 14-16.

Lori Lee plays Sissy, who is trying to quit smoking. Favorite shows and roles include Mamma Mia, Almost Maine and The Last Night of Ballyhoo at Tryon Little Theater; Vernadette in The Dixie Swim Club, Angela in Honky Tonk Angels, Cathy in The Last Five Years, Louise in Always Patsy Cline, Mrs. Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, Martha in The Secret Garden, Dearly Departed as Suzanne, Mrs. Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables and many others. Lori is a graduate of North Greenville University, and Converse College. She has also had the opportunity to join several traveling troupes and choirs allowing her to use her talents in, England, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Canada, Maine, Florida, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, and across South Carolina. Lori works for Security Finance and is a member of the chancel choir at Trinity United Methodist Church in Spartanburg.

In this beloved play, a colorful family from a small Texas town must come to grips with the accidental death of the elderly family matriarch during a clandestine meeting in a seedy motel room with her much younger, married neighbor. The woman’s family must deal with their own demons while preparing for what could be an embarrassing funeral.

Streaming begins Friday, August 14 at 8 pm and ends at 8 pm on Sunday, August 16. Rated PG-13. Unlimited viewing all weekend for a donation of any amount on our website at proudmarytheatre.com. Pay What You Can and help Proud Mary Theatre continue our mission of providing quality LGBTQ+ theatrical programming. For more information, visit proudmarytheatre.com.

Artistic Director Sandy Staggs will direct Sordid Lives and the production will include musical performances by Bitsy Mae Harling (Leslie Hendon) and Brother Boy (Scott Waddell) and a whole lotta shenanigans.

Co-starring Lori Guthrie, Jada Lashay Bell, Lori Lee, Samona McMillan, Caitlyn Keefer, Joel Perkin, J.R. Bloomer, Jenn Alynn-Perri, Ken Snart. Brock Davis, and Sun Schwalm.

Meet Lavonda from Sordid Lives: Lori Bell Guthrie

Ann Walker (left) from the film and Lori Bell Guthrie in our production as LaVonda.

Proud Mary Theatre Company’s Sordid Lives, the Southern cult comedy play by Del Shores, will now be virtual and streaming August 14-16.

Lori Bell Guthrie is excited to be a part of her first PROUD MARY production. Recent acting highlights include AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (Emily Brent); CALENDAR GIRLS (Celia); STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Truvy); LEGALLY BLONDE (Paulette); RING OF FIRE; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Mrs. Potts); MEMPHIS (Mama); MUSIC MAN (Mrs. Paroo). Can’t wait to be a part of such a fun ensemble for such an outrageous show.

In this beloved play, a colorful family from a small Texas town must come to grips with the accidental death of the elderly family matriarch during a clandestine meeting in a seedy motel room with her much younger, married neighbor. The woman’s family must deal with their own demons while preparing for what could be an embarrassing funeral.

Streaming begins Friday, August 14 at 8 pm and ends at 8 pm on Sunday, August 16. Rated PG-13. Unlimited viewing all weekend for a donation of any amount on our website at proudmarytheatre.com. Pay What You Can and help Proud Mary Theatre continue our mission of providing quality LGBTQ+ theatrical programming. For more information, visit proudmarytheatre.com.

Artistic Director Sandy Staggs will direct Sordid Lives and the production will include musical performances by Bitsy Mae Harling (Leslie Hendon) and Brother Boy (Scott Waddell) and a whole lotta shenanigans.

Co-starring Lori Guthrie, Jada Lashay Bell, Lori Lee, Samona McMillan, Caitlyn Keefer, Joel Perkin, J.R. Bloomer, Jenn Alynn-Perri, Ken Snart. Brock Davis, and Sun Schwalm.

Michel Colletti to Direct ‘Rachels’ in ‘The P Grabber Plays’

Proud Mary Theatre Company is supporting our sisters in the #MeToo movement with our virtual production and South Carolina premiere of The Pussy Grabber Plays (Stories Inspired by the Women Who Came Forward), a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood streaming on August 27 just as the Assaulter-in-Chief accepts the GOP nomination for president.

Before the 2016 election, 19 brave women came forward to speak out about their encounters with Donald Trump. Their courage inspired the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, but their stories have been too easily dismissed, forgotten and reduced to a statistic.

The Pussy Grabber Plays is a series of eight short plays created by some of the most highly acclaimed women writing for theater today. Based on interviews with seven of the women who have spoken out, the plays offer insights into each woman’s life, her decision to stand up, and the fallout she’s faced. Laced with humor, fear, heartbreak and anger, The Pussy Grabber Plays is political theater at its best: telling the untold stories about women who have risked everything to speak truth to power.

Michel Colletti will direct Rachels, based on the bravery of Rachel Crooks and written by Halley Feiffer. Three actors portray Rachel at different ages and the play is the only one to include a male role, simply called Loving Boyfriend.

Michele and her husband relocated to Greenville in 2016 and she was eager to start performing again after a hiatus raising her 3 children and enjoying a successful 25 year career in nonprofit education, including one she founded in 2003, Footlights Center for Performing Arts now in its 17th year at the YMCA in Hartford, CT. You have seen her at Centre Stage in Sister Act, Mamma Mia and Good People, among others and has recently directed Sean Grennan’s virtual play “Couples for Centre Stage and Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre.

Tickets for The Pussy Grabber Plays go on sale Monday, August 17. The Pussy Grabber Plays will stream Thursday, August 27 @ 8 pm -Sunday, August 30 @ midnight.

Caroline Jane Davis to Direct ‘Five Beauty Queens Walk Into a Bar’

Caroline Jane Davis

Proud Mary Theatre Company is supporting our sisters in the #MeToo movement with our virtual production and South Carolina premiere of The Pussy Grabber Plays (Stories Inspired by the Women Who Came Forward), a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood streaming on August 27 just as the Assaulter-in-Chief accepts the GOP nomination for president.


Before the 2016 election, 19 brave women came forward to speak out about their encounters with Donald Trump. Their courage inspired the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement, but their stories have been too easily dismissed, forgotten and reduced to a statistic.

The Pussy Grabber Plays is a series of eight short plays created by some of the most highly acclaimed women writing for theater today. Based on interviews with seven of the women who have spoken out, the plays offer insights into each woman’s life, her decision to stand up, and the fallout she’s faced. Laced with humor, fear, heartbreak and anger, The Pussy Grabber Plays is political theater at its best: telling the untold stories about women who have risked everything to speak truth to power.

Caroline Davis will direct Five Beauty Queens Walk Into a Bar, based on the bravery of Tasha Dixon and written by Julia Brownell. The play features a diverse cast playing Miss South Carolina, Miss Texas, Miss Arizona, Miss Michigan, and Miss Maine.

Caroline Jane Davis holds an MFA in Performance and Pedagogy from Texas Tech University. She is now a Visiting Lecturer of Theatre Arts and the Accessibility Coordinator at Furman University, where most recently she directed The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe. Favorite projects include Detroit (Sharon) at Centre Stage, Mr. Burns: a post-electric play (director) at Texas Tech University, and John Proctor is the Villain (dramaturg) at Furman University.

Tickets for The Pussy Grabber Plays go in sale Monday, August 17. The Pussy Grabber Plays will stream Thursday, August 27 @ 8 pm -Sunday, August 30 @ midnight.

Clark E. Nesbitt to Direct Proud Mary Theatre’s ‘Choir Boy’

Clark E. Nesbitt

Clark E. Nesbitt will make his Proud Mary Theatre directing debut with Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Tony-nominee and Oscar®-winning screenwriter of Moonlight.

Choir Boy is scheduled for December 2020, but will likely be postponed to 2021 with Nesbitt at the helm, and hopefully the A-List actors attached to the project.

Choir Boy is set at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?

“I am excited about directing Choir Boy because of the complexities of the subject matter. A subject matter that tackles bigotry, faith, ethics, loyalty; particularly with black men and within the Black Church,: said Nesbitt.

” I love the infusion of traditional spirituals, hymns and dance used to underscore the story as a part of black culture and heritage. It is a story of bigotry, faith, ethics, hinging on the debate between morality and righteousness. I feel deeply that this is a piece of theatre that continues to challenge us a people in achieving equality for all.”

His other directing credits include: “A Raisin In The Sun”, Greenwood Community Theatre. “Young Negress Stepping Out of the River at Dawn” marked Clark’s directing debut at Centre Stage. He also directed and performed in “Through the Night” and “Memories of The Game” at Centre Stage. Directed “God’s Trombones”, excerpts from “Porgy and Bess”, “I Too, Am America”, “I’ve Known Rivers” at Anderson University. Director and choreographer for “God’s Trombones”, “If Anybody Ask You Who I Am”, “The Story of Christmas”, “A Christmas of Compassion” at Maple Creek Baptist Church, Greer, SC and “God’s Trombones” The Pilgrim Baptist Church, Newark, Delaware. Clark is also the Director and Choreographer for the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sororities “Fashionetta” in Anderson and Greer, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s “Jabberwock” in Anderson and The Jack and Jill “Beautillion”, Greenville. Clark has also developed and performed his one man show “I Too Am America”.

Some of his past theatrical roles include “Driving Miss Daisy” (Hoke) at Walhalla Civic Center Theatre, “Driving Miss Daisy” (Hoke) at Centre Stage, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Aide Turkle), To Kill A Mocking Bird (Reverend Sykes) The Mill Town Players, “Driving Miss Daisy” (Hoke), Greenwood Community Theatre, “Memories of The Game” (Kenneth McIntosh), “Jekyll and Hyde” (Sir Danvers Carew) “Through the Night” (Mr. Rogers): “A Time To Kill” (Ozzie Walls), “Sleeping Indoors” (Dwain), “A Few Good Men” (CAPT. Julius Randolph), “Guided Tour” (Joe Bell), “Driving Miss Daisy” (Hoke) at Centre Stage. Other Theatres: “Have We Lost The Feeling” (Devil), “Southside” (Rufus Jones), “Metamorphosis II”; BONT Cultural Theatre. “Let The People Rejoice” (Dr. King); Florida Mass Choir Tour. “A Lesson Before Dying” (Rev. Moses Ambrose) Warehouse Theatre. Clark also appeared as Julius Caesar in the Upstate Shakespeare Festival Production of “Julius Caesar”.

Clark received his BA in English from Benedict College, Columbia, SC where he studied acting under Grace Palmer, John Grace and Elizabeth J. Hart. In addition, Clark studied voice under Lucille Smith and Leonard Mansfield Johnson.

For the latest updates on our Virtual play series or season announcements, visit our website at http://proudmarytheatre.com or Facebook Page.

Proud Mary Theatre Company Announces Cast of Virtual Sordid Lives

Proud Mary Theatre Company is pleased to announce that the show will go on – virtual style.

Sordid Lives, the Southern coming-out comedy by Del Shores originally scheduled live for this month will now be delayed until Augusts 2021 due to corona virus. But the cast will make their official debut in the company’s virtual edition streaming August 14-16. 2020 on our new Virtual Vimeo PlayHouse Channel

Sandy Staggs will direct this cult classic starring:

Bitsy Mae – Leslie Hendon
Brother Boy – Scott Waddell
LaVonda – Lori Bell Guthrie
Noleta – Jada Lashay Bell
Sissy – Lori Lee
Latrelle – Samona McMillan
Juanita – Caitlyn Keefer
G.W. – Joel Perkin
Ty – J.R. Bloomer
Dr. Eve – Jenn Alynn-Perri
Wardell – Ken Snart
Odell – Brock Davis
Reader – Sun Schwalm

Sordid Lives will be as much of a full production as possible in this medium with costumes, makeup, props, musical and drag performances, and lots of fun. Streaming begins August 14 at 8 pm and ends at 8 pm on Sunday, August 16. Rated PG13. Unlimited viewing all weekend for as little as a $5 donation. Pay What You Can as Proud Mary Theatre continues our mission of providing quality LGBTQ+ theatrical programming. For more information, visit proudmarytheatre.com.

Proud Mary Theatre Seeks Women Actors, Singers Directors for Virtual ‘The Pussy Grabber Plays’

Proud Mary Theatre Company Seeks Brave Women Actors, Singers, Directors now for our virtual production and fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, The Pussy Grabber Plays (Stories Inspired by the Women Who Came Forward.

This bold and powerful all-woman production will stream on August 27 just as the Assaulter-in-Chief accepts the GOP nomination for president.

Women or Women-Identifying actors,singers, directors, directors needed ASAP. Women of color encouraged to apply. Color Conscious Casting!!!

This is 100% volunteer and 100% of proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of South Carolina.

PLAYS AND ROLES ARE BELOW

Submit your bio/resume, headshot and role you are interested to Sandy Staggs at sandy@proudmarytheatre.com. For Five Beauty Queens Walk Into a Bar, please email Director Caroline Davis at carolinejdavis2130@gmail.com.

For the latest updates on our Virtual play series or season announcements, visit our website at http://proudmarytheatre.com or Facebook Page.

ABOUT THE PLAY
Before the 2016 election, 19 brave women came forward to speak out about their encounters with Donald Trump. Their courage inspired the Women’s March and the #metoo movement, but their stories have been too easily dismissed, forgotten and reduced to a statistic.

The Pussy Grabber Plays is a series of short plays created by some of the most highly acclaimed women writing for theater today. Based on interviews with seven of the women who have spoken out, the plays offer insights into each woman’s life, her decision to stand up, and the fallout she’s faced. Laced with humor, fear, heartbreak and anger, The Pussy Grabber Plays is political theater at its best: telling the untold stories about women who have risked everything to speak truth to power.

The Pussy Grabber Plays premiered at Joe’s Pub at New York’s Public Theater on January 14, 2019. Over 75 volunteers came together to create, direct, produce, act, design and support the show. Six of the seven women whose bravery inspired the plays were able to attend, and joined the casts onstage for a standing ovation from a sold-­‐out house at the end of the night.

PLAYS & ROLES AVAILABLE

Troublemaker
Based on the bravery of Jill Harth 
By Sharyn Rothstein 
JILL HARTH is in her 50s, but looks much younger. She’s funny, charming, vivacious. She has had a truly painful year, and that also shows, just underneath. Jill is an incredibly dynamic storyteller, and she should take on the role of the people she talks about onstage (ie stepping into her version of Trump when talking about him).

LUANNE is also in her 50s. She’s smart, impenetrable. She represents a number of women, some of whom have been working for Trump for decades. Just imagine..

Five Beauty Queens Walk Into a Bar
Based on the bravery of Tasha Dixon
By Julia Brownell
Directed by Caroline Davis
SOME ROLES ARE AVAILABLE
Miss South Carolina: blonde, smart
Miss Texas: an entitled beauty queen
Miss Arizona, thoughtful, Cuban-American
Miss Michigan: African American, works at a non-profit 
Miss Maine: magnetic

Sat Nam
Based on the bravery of Karena Virginia
By Anna Ziegler
M: A woman in her 70s, posh, British accent
K: An American in her 30s-40s, graceful and elegant—but timid

Jessica
Based on the bravery of Jessica Leeds
By Bess Wohl
Jessica: 70s, silver-haired, centered and definitely real 
Megyn Kelly: 40s, blonde, killer, and possibly imaginary

Rachels
Based on the bravery of Rachel Crooks
By Halley Feiffer
Directed by Michele Colletti 
ALL ROLES CAST

MISS USA (A One-Song Musical)
Based on the bravery of Sam Holvey
Music & Lyrics by Sharon Kenny
Book by Sharyn Rothstein 
Sam: 30, strong and athletic, but recently very ill (sings) 
Maureen: 30s-60s, a nurse, funny and wise (sings)

Credible Women
Inspired by the women who haven’t come forward
Seeking Director and Cast of color
By Sam Chase
Han: woman of color, 30s-40s, unfussy, unprecious, matter of fact, breezily precise Someone: woman of color, 30s, perhaps same race as Han, comic ability

THE INTERVIEW (A One-Song Musical)
Based on the bravery of Natasha Stoynoff
Lyrics and Book by Natasha Stoynoff 
Music and Additional Lyrics by Melissa Li
Natasha: witty, rueful, and pissed off (sings, ideally a high C

Proud Mary Theatre Company Announces Cast of Virtual ‘Laramie Project’

Proud Mary Theatre Company is pleased to announce that the show will go on – virtual style.

Due to the corona virus pandemic, our 2020-21 season opener The Laramie Project 2oth Anbiversary production will be presented as a virtual multimedia production and available for streaming beginning October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the fatal attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming.

Ben Dawkins will direct The Laramie Project and Ashley Zimmerman will stage manage.

And check out our incredible ensemble cast of A-List actors in the Upstate that will take on some 60 roles.

Ryan Barry
Michele Colletti
Ava Davis
Jonathan Davis
Kelly Davis
Doug Egge
Samantha Eyler
Darryl Harmon
Jim Huber
Dave LaPage
Rebecca Schledwitz
Tyler Smith
Audrey Waldrop
Chase Wolfe

Dawkins said he was thrilled with the turnout for the virtual auditions.

“With the people who had signed up, I had my hopes set high, and they did not disappoint.  I saw how much passion and honesty they brought to the text, and I was continually inspired,” he added.

“I believe this story will be excellent, and we will work hard to find interesting and engaging ways to tell it during this pandemic season.”

For the latest updates on our Virtual play series or season announcements, visit our website at http://proudmarytheatre.com or Facebook Page.

Proud Mary Theatre is Blazing Trail with All Virtual 2020 Season

Proud Mary Theatre Company, South Carolina’s only LGTBQ+ theatre troupe, has been busting down barriers in the arts scene in the Upstate for three years. And now the small company has again taken the road less traveled to confront the Covid-19 crisis head-on.

While all theatres are shuttered, many are producing weekly virtual offerings – such as Spartanburg Little Theatre’s concert series and “5 Til Places” interviews and Glow Lyric Theatre’s “Couch Concert Series,” or conducting summer youth camps. Others like Centre Stage and South Carolina Children’s Theatre are holding limited live outdoor performances,

Proud Mary Theatre Company, on the other hand, has gone full frontal with masks adorned with unprecedented virtual play programming.

Since early May, Proud Mary Theatre has produced nine virtual play readings of new works, many by local playwrights in its Brand Spanking New Play Series. And this week, the theatre produced its first published play, The Boys in the Band sequel as a pay-to-view special with the original 2018 cast back for The Men From the Boys.

“Proud Mary Theatre is a young company so we cannot rely on a 40, 75, or 90 year history of donors and subscribers as other established theatres,” said Artistic Director Sandy Staggs.

“Conversely, we do not have paid staff and rent on 300-500 seat theatres to pay every month irregardless of whether they sit empty or not. That has been our saving grace.”

Like many American businesses and nonprofits, Proud Mary employs the Zoom app to conduct board meetings, auditions, rehearsals, and to record plays.
“We gave up on the ‘live’ concept early on due to so many unknown variables such as unreliable Internet service or sound quality issues. Now we record and then edit out the hiccups.“

“Obviously, this is not the same as live theatre. The actors are reading from scripts, and there is no live audience to respond.,” Staggs said. “Admittedly, our earliest plays were not as polished due to the learning curve for all involved.”

The Men From the Boys been such a success, he said, that the company has shifted to an all-virtual season for 2020, including the upcoming Sordid Lives by Del Shores on August 14, The Pussy Grabber Plays on August 27, and The Laramie Project on October 6.

“And even with Boys we had internet service problems, and other factors and limitations, but we do the best with the technology we have.”

Staggs said, “We try to elevate our readings to ‘performances’ with the addition of props, costumes, sound effects, music and graphics whenever possible.”

“Actors and directors are unemployed right now and very starved for an outlet to hone their craft.”

“To be honest, we never would have gotten the Boys back together if it wasn’t for the Covid-19 virus, since some have moved to Atlanta since 2018. A silver lining? Yes.”

“And look at our cast for The Laramie Project. Under normal circumstances, these actors would be employed in professional gigs or committed to much grander productions at the larger theatres in Spartanburg and Greenville. Tehy would never have been available.”

Sordid Virtual Lives directed by Sandy Staggs will stream all weekend August 14-16 2020 on our new Virtual Vimeo PlayHouse Channel and will feature our original all-star cast members who have been waiting patiently for six months to perform this Del Shores comedy classic for you.

The Pussy Grabber Plays, our all-woman production based on the stories of Donald trump’s accusers, will premiere on Thursday, August 27 @ 8 pm just as the assaulter-in-chief accepts the GOP nomination for president.

The Laramie Project 20th Anniversary Production directed by Ben Dawkins will proceed as a video documentary and begin streaming October 6, 2020 on the 22nd anniversary of the fatal attack of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Our cast has been announced.

For the latest updates on our Virtual play series or season announcements, visit our website at http://proudmarytheatre.com or Facebook Page.

Meet The New Boy in the Band: Adam Jones

Adam Jones plays the nurse Rick.

NOW STREAMING! Proud Mary Theatre Company’s The Boys from The Boys in the Band, re-unite once again for the sequel by Mart Crowley, The Boys From The Men. in a special virtual reunion production STREAMING NOW through Thursday, July 30 @ 6 p.m. on our Vimeo Virtual Channel. Free with any donation now at proudmarytheatre.com.

Our original actors and creative team are back at the same New York apartment 35 years later after a funeral for Larry, who has died at of pancreatic cancer.

Adam Jones (Rick) is a young ambitious actor who has recently made his appearance in the local theater scene. He started in high school, from there he stared in a few Greenville tech shows, and then stared as Romeo in a production of Romeo and Juliet for the Upstate Shakespeare Festival. He went on to star as Ariel in the Tempest, Anthony Marston in And Then There Were None, and now Rick in The Men From The Boys. He is grateful for the opportunity to be apart of a great project. 

Director John Fagan returns to rein in this rowdy, lovable cast, as does stage manager Katherine Rausch (narrator/reader) and producer Sandy Staggs as producer/technical director.

Reprising their original roles for the sequel are Brady Coyle-Smith as Michael, Jon Kilpatrick as Harold, K. Ray Jones as Bernard, Brandon Mimnaugh as Emory, Benjamin Abrams as Hank, and Charlie Hyatt as Donald, the only remaining alcoholic.

Original cast members Holt McCarley (Larry, who is dead!) and Zachary Urban (Cowboy) return as new characters Jason (a young gay activist) and Scott (Michael’s pretty boy-toy) respectively.

And joining our testosterone-and bitchy barb-fueled cast is Adam Jones in his Proud Mary Theatre Company debut as the young Asian nurse Rick. Jones may be the new boy on the block but he earned rave reviews as Romeo in last summer’s Upstate Shakespeare Festival production in Falls Park on the Reedy in Greenville.

This production is dedicated to playwright Mart Crowley, who died on March 7, 2020.