Leslie Jordan, the diminutive Emmy Award winner, is fond of tall tales. His new Christmas pageant, Deck Them Halls, Y’all, is based on rumors that nightclub owner Jack Ruby killed JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald to “shut him up” about an alleged gay affair.
Jordan says an old-time Dallas stripper once told him, “Jack Ruby was a homosexual. He’d come around with what you gay boys call rough trade (Oswald).”
“She has these theories about everything,” says Jordan, who performs his self-written, one-man holiday show Sunday night at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Jordan plays “three generations of white trash celebrating Christmas.”
The protagonists are not exactly out of Dickens: Memaw, the stripper; Pony, “her transgender lesbian daughter;” and Ronnie Lee Posey, Pony’s 10-year-old son, conceived during a high school rape.
“I play all the characters. There’s a lot of singing. Memaw does a whole strip,” says Jordan, 55, who won a 2006 Emmy for his guest portrayal of Beverley Leslie on Will and Grace. He’s also known for playing Brother Boy in the stage, film and TV versions of Del Shore‘s Sordid Lives.
Sordid Lives costume designer Craig Taggart did the Deck Them Halls costumes. Jordan says Taggart included “an old drag queen’s trick” in designing Memaw’s stripper outfits.
“They take bird seed and put it in the heel of ladies’ hose. You tie it. It lies like a breast in a bra. We got a great big, Cross Your Heart bra,” Jordan says. “I learned it from the old female impersonators I knew.”
Jordan said he also invested $1,500 in recording new music for the show.
“I thought it was a lot of money, but I can just pull that tape out every year and drag out the costumes,” he says. “Maybe, I might do Christmas in July and do [Deck Them Halls] in Provincetown. Who cares, if it’s really a crowd pleaser!”
— STEVE ROTHAUS
Leslie Jordan performs Deck Them Halls, Y’all at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $40 and $50; 954-462-0222 or www.browardcenter.org. Not recommended for children.