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My Trip Down the Pink Carpet – Leslie Jordan – Off Broadway Theater Review

 

CUTE AS A PINK BUTTON

 

Picture – My Trip Down the Pink Carpet – Leslie Jordan – photo by Gustavo MonroyTheater Review

by Josh Mapes 

published May 12, 2010

 

My Trip Down the Pink Carpet

now playing Off Broadway at Midtown Theater  

through July 3 

 

Leslie Jordan stands at 4 feet 11 inches tall, has a face like a leprechaun, and the drawl of Blanche DuBois.   He’s got natural charisma, hard-luck past, and sheer awkwardness.  If only he’d been born a woman, the gay fans surely would have erected him into a full-blown diva by now, ala Judy, Babs, and Liza (or his squeaky voiced Will & Grace costar, Megan Mullally.)

 

Alas, not only is Mr. Jordan stuck playing the queer sidekick like Paul Lynde or Charles Nelson Reilly, but he’s ostracized from a new queer community that was able to blend a little easier into the mainstream than Mr. Jordan.

 

In My Trip Down the Pink Carpet, Mr. Jordan provides anecdotes of onset flirtations with costars like Mark Harmon, his delicate relationship with his Southern father, and how he eased his own homophobia with drugs and alcohol (much like Mr. Lynde.)   The most interesting portion of his story is the rehab section, in which he realizes his biggest fear in life: heterosexual men.  This is one of the only sections where Mr. Jordan isn’t quipping or leaping frivolously, and this juxtaposition makes it all the more poignant.

 

Picture – My Trip Down the Pink Carpet – Leslie Jordan – photo by Gustavo MonroyBut for most of the show, Mr. Jordan relies on his comedic persona. An energetic performer, his sultry swagger and pops of the hip are all that’s needed to make these stories feel alive onstage.  He works up a sweat as he sells it all, but in the age of the memoir, his stories of addiction, homosexuality, and celebrity are expected and feel a little generically stale.  In fact, the funniest line in My Trip Down the Pink Carpet is actually a line from his Will & Grace character Beverly Leslie: “My, My, Karen Walker… I thought I smelled the stench of gin and regret.”

 

Though this line grabs the biggest laugh of the evening, not a whiff of either emanates from Mr. Jordan, who leaps across the stage with the confidence and persona of a true star.  He bathes in the flashing lights of his own “pink carpet,” as he dances to Donna Summer and lets everyone in the room know that he is a southern, short, gay man.  And that’s enough, after hearing about his past, to appreciate where he is, and that he truly is a character.

 

joshmapes @ stageandcinema.com

 

photos by Gustavo Monroy

 

 
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