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Emerson Collins Bio

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Emerson Collins is an actor, producer, director and TV personality/host who starred in four seasons of BRAVO’s hit social series The People’s Couch and appeared as "Steve" in RENT on FOX. 

Emerson has been honored as a member of the OUT 100 and regularly appears on panels, at festivals and as a speaker and moderator for discussions of film and theatre production, pop culture, and queer representation in media and wrote as a contributor for the Dallas Voice. Book Emerson here.


In 2023, Emerson starred in the World Premiere of The Red Suitcase winner of the first Del Shores Foundation Writers Search and appeared in The Rocky Horror Skivvies Show. Emerson was an Executive Producer for Drag Isn't Dangerous, a telethon livestream raising nearly $600,000 for LGBTQ+ organizations. He directed and produced with Blake McIver the 20th Anniversary of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts in Mississippi hosted by Morgan Freeman with Debbie Allen and Christine Baranski featuring Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. He also produced the livestream benefit fundraiser A Sordid Celebration of Lives honoring Leslie Jordan, Olivia Newton-John, Rue McClanahan & more raising $15,000 for 25 non-profit theatres.

In 2022, Emerson produced the first Del Shores Foundation Writers Festival. A weekend event for the winners and finalists of the DSF Writers Search, focused specifically on finding and developing new LGBTQ+ Southern writers.  The festival featured private workshops for the writers, panels open to the public featuring industry professionals from theatre and film and stage readings of all three winning scripts from the Writer Search. For more information, visit the Del Shores Foundation here.

In the summer and fall of 2022, Emerson and Blake McIver took the first national tour of their duo cabaret show, I Dreamed A Dreamgirl, to Dallas, Atlanta, Winston-Salem, Palm Springs and more. 2023 tour dates to be announced.

Emerson assistant directed and reprised his film role in the world premiere stage adaptation of his film A Very Sordid Wedding with Uptown Players in Dallas.

During the pandemic, Emerson produced and starred in two livestream benefit fundraisers raising a combined $100,000 for 25 non-profit theatres.  The first was a reading of Del Shores' Sordid Lives with Leslie Jordan, Beau Bridges, Caroline Rhea, Bonnie Bedelia, Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and many of the original film cast along with appearances by Alec Mapa, Carson Kressley and Olivia Newton-John.  The second was a reunion celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies with the entire film cast, Sissies from the first stage production, producers fromaround the country and performances by Debby Holiday and Tony winner Levi Kreis.

During lockdown, Emerson and Del Shores revived "The Del & Emerson Show" a livestream commentary on the LGBTQ News & Nonsense. It streamed live twice weekly on YouTube HERE and is available as a podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Amazon and more with over 120 episodes. The original version of the show was UBN Radio's number one radio show from 2014-2016.

In 2019, while starring in the world premiere of The $5 Shakespeare Company with the 6th Act Theatre Company, Emerson produced the Los Angeles premiere of Del Shores' newest play This Side Of Crazy, nominated for six 2021 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards including for Emerson as producer for Best Production of a Play - Intimate Theatre anc winner of the Robby Award for Best Production (Comedy) and Ticket Holders LA Best Production of 2020.

Emerson directed Del Shores' one man play, Six Characters In Search Of A Play, as a play with a BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Director.  He also directed it as a film which won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature at Out At The Movies International Film Festival, runner up Best Comedy Audience Award at Out On Film and the Shawn A Moore Prize For Texas Filmmaking from QCinema Fort Worth International LGBT Film Festival, now streaming on BroadwayHD.  He produced "A Star Is Born^3," a theatrical combination of music and moments from all three musical films, conceived and directed by Blake McIver at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Angeles.


Emerson produced and starred in A Very Sordid Wedding, the sequel to Del Shores' cult-classic Sordid Lives through his company Beard Collins Shores Productions.  The film stars Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Caroline Rhea, Dale Dickey, Carole Cook, Tony Award-winner Levi Kreis and has a cameo from Whoopi Goldberg.  It opened number one at the Specialty Box Office and in 60 cities with Emerson appearing in 45 cities for opening night events, PRIDES, charity benefits and film festivals.  The film is distributed by Gravitas Ventures and available widely in all formats and on BroadwayHD, Peacock and Amazon Prime.

Emerson starred in the first regional theatre production of Jonathan Tolins' one-man show Buyer & Cellar with Coyote StageWorks in Palm Springs, CA winning the Desert Theatre League Award for Best Actor in a Comedy.  He returned to the role to close the 95th season of the historic Laguna Beach Playhouse.

Emerson produced and starred in Southern Baptist Sissiesthe entirely crowdfunded film of the play by Del Shores, with Leslie Jordan, Dale Dickey, Bobbie Eakes and Willam Belli.  The film played 28 film festivals, winning 15 awards including 9 Audience Awards and one for Emerson as "Best Actor in a Feature Film" from the Red Dirt International Film Festival.  The film was produced through Emerson's company Beard Collins Shores Productions and played in independent theaters in fifteen cities and is now available on DVD, Amazon and iTunes and streaming on Broadway HD and Amazon Prime.


As an actor, Emerson is also known for his work as “Max” in Del Shores’ Sordid Lives: The Series.  Emerson co-produced the twelve-episode television series for domestic distribution with LOGO and IMG International for distribution and successful syndication in seventeen foreign markets.  He also produced the New York City, Los Angeles and Palm Springs premieres of the series in conjunction with The Trevor Project and Outfest.


His Los Angeles theatre work includes The Altruists and Twelfth Night as a member of The Mechanicals Theatre Group, the world premiere of The Boomerang Effect by Matthew Leavitt at The Odyssey opposite Jonathan Slavin (Better Off Ted) and Dreamgirls with 5 Star Theatricals.

Emerson produced Blues For Willadean, the independent film adaptation of the NAACP award-winning play The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife by Del Shores starring Beth Grant, Dale Dickey and Octavia Spencer.  The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Birmingham SHOUT Film Festival.


Emerson joined Del Shores Productions as Vice-President of Development and began as a producer on the revivals of Sordid Lives and The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife while appearing onstage in Southern Baptist Sissies running in repertory as "A Season of Shores".  At the end of the successful eight-month run, he was instrumental as a producer in launching the national tour of Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies while still performing onstage in Sissies as “Benny” opposite Leslie Jordan, Dale Dickey and Delta Burke.  The tour played to over 15,000 fans in venues packed over the 1,700 mark from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale. 


Additionally, Emerson produced the "Season of Shores Summer Concert Series" featuring a series of successful artists such as Tony winner Levi Kreis and Billboard dance artist Debby Holiday.  Emerson also produced the world premiere production of Del Shores’ most recent play Yellow, selected as "Critic’s Choice" by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and Backstage and winner of the LA Drama Critic’s Circle Award for Best Production.


Emerson directed and produced the DVD live tapings of Del Shores’ one man shows Del Shores: My Sordid Life, Del Shores: Sordid Confessions and Del Shores: Naked. Sordid. Reality.  Emerson also produced and hosted "A Sordid Affair," the national tour variety and comedy show starring Rue McClanahan, Leslie Jordan, Del Shores and Caroline Rhea.


Emerson's award-winning regional theatre work as an actor includes Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for “Dickon” in The Secret Garden, Best Actor in a Play for Southern Baptist Sissies and additional nominations for “Ponyboy” in The Outsiders, “Robbie” in A Man of No Importance and the title roles in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the world premiere musical Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates.  Other regional theatre highlights include Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew with Dallas’ Shakespeare in the Park, An Inspector Calls, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Fiddler on the Roof, The Fantasticks, Cinderella, My Fair Lady, A Chorus Line, Romeo and Juliet and the Off-Broadway Premiere of Tim Rice and Alan Menken’s King David in the role of “Jonathan.” He can also be seen in the film Waterlily Jaguar and the web series Super Love Hero.

Best Production of a Play nominee - LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards - This Side of Crazy
Out At The Movies FF -
Audience Award; Out On Film - Best Comedy Audience Award, QCinema - Shawn A. Moore Prize for Texas Filmmaking - Six Characters In Search of a Play - FilmBroadwayWorld Award - Best Director nominee - Six Characters In Search of a Play - Play
LA Drama Critics Circle Award - Best Production - Yellow

Southern Baptist Sissies - Audience Award from 9 film festivals, Best Drama - Red Dirt International FF, Best Feature - CineRocKom International FF, Best Comedy - Q Cinema Ft. Worth IFF
Blues For Willadean - Audience Award - Birmingham SHOUT

Desert Theatre League Award - Best Actor In A Comedy - Buyer & Cellar
Red Dirt International Film Festival - Best Actor - Southern Baptist Sissies
Dallas/Fort Worth Column Awards - Best Actor - Play - Southern Baptist Sissies
Dallas/Fort Worth Column Awards - Best Supporting Actor - Musical - The Secret Garden
Additional nominations: Joseph...Dreamcoat, An Inspector Calls,
A Grand Night For Singing, A Man of No Importance

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