Wesley Woods, Traci Lords Join 'Women Behind Bars' Stage Show

Wesley Woods, Traci Lords Join 'Women Behind Bars' Stage Show

LOS ANGELES — Wesley Woods and Traci Lords have joined the revival of campy prison comedy "Women Behind Bars," set to premiere later this month at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood.

“In the Big House,” reads the promotional tease, “there’s no such thing as a nice girl!”

Woods enthused about his new role. "It’s campy, filthy and raunchy," he told XBIZ. "It fits me so well!"

The play was penned by Tony Award-winner Tom Eyen (“Dreamgirls”) as a spoof of women’s prison exploitation pictures; the revival is directed and co-produced by award-winning director-choreographer Scott Thompson.

It is the debut of Just Pow! Productions, a nascent Equity theatrical entertainment company founded by Thompson and Christopher Graham.

Besides Woods and Lords, the cast includes cult icon Mink Stole and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” breakout Eureka O’Hara as a devious prison matron, a role made famous by legendary drag icon Divine.

“Women Behind Bars” is described by a rep as “a B-movie for the stage.”

“It was originally produced at New York’s Astor Place Theatre, and revived a year later with Divine. A previous Los Angeles production ran for a year at the Roxy in 1983, featuring Lu Leonard and Adrienne Barbeau, Sally Kellerman and Linda Blair,” notes the rep.

The Montalban production will feature “an elaborate two-tiered jailhouse set complete with multimedia video screens and innovative costume designs, making it the most extravagant version in the show’s history.”

Woods was referred to Thompson and Graham when they asked directrix Chi Chi LaRue to recommend a male porn performer with acting chops.

His role has “historically been played by a porn star,” Thompson told XBIZ. “It makes sense, given the character [is nude] in the play. It’s a tour de force for Wesley. He doesn’t just play one character; he plays four.”

Thompson and Graham landed on a revival of “Women Behind Bars” as they were looking to start a new theater company in the city. 

“We figured, what better way to hop into the market than with something that had a built-in demographic? Gay men are going to be into the show. But there’s also the cult aspect [with] people who like John Waters’ films, because we’ve got Mink Stole and Traci Lords. Basically, it just came together out of a desire to create this theater company and to bring something new and fresh and fun to Los Angeles.”

He enthused about working with Lords.

“Traci Lords! After she left the porn industry, after everything went down, she went to New York and became an actress. She studied. She worked hard! She’s not only good — she’s very, very good. I caught some of her latest work and I thought, ‘I have to find a way to get in touch with her!’ She still lives in L.A. and it just came together. Mink was involved, whom she knows from the John Waters [films] and it all came together.”

In addition to the buzzworthy cast, Thompson has lined up a number of special guests to host select performances, including nightlife impresarios the Boulet Brothers and a top star with “a very big gay following,” he teased.

Woods savors the opportunity to stretch his wings.

“I’ve done stand-up comedy but this is my first stage show ever. Being onstage, live, will be a stretch for me,” he told XBIZ. “It’s new. It’ll be a challenge, learning all of my lines and projecting my voice so the back of the audience can hear me. I can’t ask for another take. I’m excitedly nervous! I want to represent the adult industry well and show that some of us are thespians, too.”

The role surfaced at an opportune moment; Woods recently announced his retirement from blue movies.

"I shot my last film at the end of October," he said. "These next few months are going to be really exciting for me. It’s going to be a whole new Wesley and I’m thrilled!”

“Women Behind Bars” opens Friday, January 24. Click here for ticketing and additional details.

For the latest updates, follow Woods on Twitter.


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