Chattanooga Now 'Sordid Lives' brings trash back to Chattanooga Theatre Centre

Chattanooga Now 'Sordid Lives' brings trash back to Chattanooga Theatre Centre

March 3rd, 2016 by Staff Report in Chattanooga Now - Art

Peggy, a Southern grandmother, has died in a scandalous accident at a seedy hotel. At the funeral are, from left, Peggy's sister, Sissy (May Wood), Peggy's daughters LaVonda (Wendy Tippins) and Latrelle (Stefanie Oppenheimer- Foster) and Latrelle's son Ty (Hunter Rodgers).

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives.”

› When: Friday, March 4-Sunday, March 20.

› Where: Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St.

› Admission: $12.50-$25 ($30 opening night).

› Phone: 423-267-8534.

› Website:

› Note: The play contains adult language and situations.

Curtain times and special programming

› Friday, March 4: 8 p.m., with gala opening-night party at 7 p.m.

› Saturday, March 5: 8 p.m.

› Thursday, March 10: 7 p.m., with captioning for hard-of-hearing patrons

› Friday, March 11: 8 p.m., with ghostlight/talkback session following performance

› Saturday, March 12: 8 p.m.

› Sunday, March 13: 2:30 p.m.

› Thursday, March 17: 7 p.m.

› Friday, March 18: 8 p.m., with Girls Night Out events at 7 p.m.

› Saturday, March 19: 8 p.m.

› Sunday, March 20: 2:30 p.m.

"Sordid Lives," a black comedy about white trash, returns to the Chattanooga Theatre Centre this weekend. After a sold-out run in the Circle Theatre in 2004, the play will be presented this time on the MainStage.

This comedy is so fantastical it just could be true, if you know the South the way author Del Shores knows it. The play is set in a small Texas town just after the death of Peggy, a grandmother who, during a tryst in a seedy motel room, trips over her lover G.W.'s wooden legs in the dark and suffers a fatal head wound. The aftermath finds Peggy's family trying to cover up the sordid details of her demise and G.W.'s wife seeking revenge on her cheating husband.

Peggy's daughter, Latrelle Williams (played by Stefanie Oppenheimer-Foster) is a determinedly proper Texan in denial over the fact that her son, Ty, a soap-opera star (played by Hunter Rodgers) might be gay. Her only brother, "Brother Boy" (played by Stacy Helton) has been confined to a mental institution for — among other things — being a dedicated Tammy Wynette-obsessed transvestite. And now the whole town is talking about the bizarre accidental death of her mother during a clandestine meeting with her much younger married neighbor, G.W. Nethercott (played by Jerry Draper). To make matters worse, her sister, LaVonda (played by Wendy Tippens), wants to bury Momma in a mink stole in the middle of summer.

Rounding out the "Sordid" cast are Christi Bar as Bitsy Mae Harling, the guitar-playing, ex-con singer; May Wood as Sissy Hickey, a caretaker who picked the wrong day to quit smoking; Valorie Brown as Noleta Nethercott, the angry, betrayed housewife; Greg Rambin as Wardell Owens, the former gay-bashing, remorseful bartender; Bill Williams as Odell Owens, Wardell's worthless, story-telling brother; Beth McClary as Dr. Eve Bolinger, the oversexed, pill-popping, alcoholic therapist; Lamar Bankston as the Rev. Barnes, a Southern Baptist preacher; and Becki Jordan as the neighbor, Juanita.

In a statement, Shores says he's thrilled that the Chattanooga Theatre Centre is producing "Sordid Lives."

"I love it when real Southerners play my characters because they understand that these people are real people and not cartoons," says the playwright. "The success of 'Sordid Lives' — play, movie and series — never ceases to amaze me. I wrote it about my family, but I now know many fortunately — or unfortunately — share my family members."

George Quick is the show's director, assuming the role after the death of the previous director, Brother Ron Fender, in January. Zach Cavan is stage manager.

Memorial donations requested

During the run of “Sordid Lives,” the Chattanooga Theatre Centre will collect items to donate to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen in memory of Brother Ron Fender, who was directing the production at the time of his death on Jan. 29.

Fender served as an outreach case manager with the Community Kitchen for more than 10 years. Officials with the agency say the greatest need is for underwear for men and women (size large) and white socks (preferably tube socks, as they can fit any size foot).

For more information, call the box office at 423-267-8534.