The Legend of Georgia McBride – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Earning a living by impersonating The King, Elvis Presley, is not the easiest way to pay the bills, but for young show biz performer, Jared Reinfeldt’s Casey, it is all he knows how to do. In the world of entertainment, an actor can transform from one character or persona to another with a change in voice, a wig or a costume. With skill and talent, a complete metamorphosis can occur right before the audience’s eyes. When Casey finds his Elvis days are over, he is overwhelmed with financial issues, from unpaid rent to buying a pepperoni pizza on the installment plan. He has a moment of revelation: he must change: his name, his dress, his attitude and his act.

Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theatre is inviting you to that moment of Casey’s epiphany in Matthew Lopez’s “The Legend of Georgia McBride” stripping down to its bare essentials until Sunday, December 1. In the hands and other body parts by Reinfeldt, we see Casey struggle to support his wife Jo, an understanding and newly pregnant Brittany-Laurelle, with an optimistic outlook and a new wardrobe. With the encouragement and mama mentoring of Miss Tracy Mills, a helpful John Salvatore, Casey finds himself on stage at a bar/club, Panama City Florida’s Cleo Bar, as a drag queen. Cleo’s is run by Eddie, an enterprising Scott Kealey.

Enter Georgia McBride and learn that Elvis has, indeed, left the building. With bows to Bette, Liza, Pink and Lady Gaga, Casey emerges in full feathers and flamboyant fashion. The drag queens strut triumphantly, with the addition of Rexy, an outspoken and sassy Eddie Shields, who doubles as Casey and Jo’s understanding landlord Jason. So what’s the problem with this picture? Casey forgets to tell Jo of his new career choice. Could he be ashamed of his new enterprise?

While Jo is responsible and realistic, Casey is optimistic and full of potential. With the green light from Eddie, and the encouragement and assistance of Miss Tracy, Casey sees the future through his rose colored glasses. Being kind, wise and dependable, Casey discovers that tolerance and diversity and being open to change and opportunity can be life altering. When he lip syncs a host of great songs, he is just hitting his stride. Russell Garrett directs this peek under the wig and inside the dress of a drag queen, with help from Lloyd Hall’s fascinating costumes, Kyle Dixon’s behind and before the stage set design, Doug Macur’s sparkling lighting, Russell Garrett’s perky choreography and Matt Martin’s sultry sound.

For tickets ($42-49.50), call Seven Angels Theatre,1 Plank Road, Hamilton Park, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances areThursday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Extra performances are November 26, Tuesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Anticipate the Christmas season with “ELF: The Musical” December 7-22 when Buddy comes to town. The Edwards Twins Christmas Variety Show will headline December 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. while Rob Bartlett will entertain with his Holiday Comedy Show December 28 at 8 p.m. This is the perfect time to reserve your seats for the Stand Up Count Down New Year’s Eve Comedy Night with Steve Shaffer, Jocelyn Chia and John Iavarone on December 31 at 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

For lessons in makeup, wig styling and drag queen dress, look no further than Casey and Tracy’s dressing room for a behind the curtain peek at a unique area of show business lore.