The Legend of Georgia McBride – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

Necessity can also be the father of invention. Just ask Casey who finds himself poised for collasel change. Casey was an Elvis impersonator, barely making a living, struggling to pay the rent and buy groceries. Even an impulsive purchase of a pepperoni pizza could throw his budget into chaos. When his loyal wife Jo announces she is pregnant and the rent check bounced again, it coincides with his boss Eddie informing Casey that Elvis has left the building. In other words, the Florida club Cleo’s is trading in lips and hips for sequins and stilettos and will now be a venue for drag queens.

Ivoryton Playhouse is inviting you to join Clint Hromsco’s versatile Casey when he has an epiphany in Matthew Lopez’s “The Legend of Georgia McBride” until Sunday, April 30. 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 reluctantly takes off his blue suede shoes and quickly becomes overwhelmed with financial issues. Then he has a moment of revelation. He must change: his name, his dress, his attitude and his act.

In the hands and other body parts by Hromsco, we see Casey struggle to support his wife Jo, an understanding Rae Janeil, with an optimistic outlook and a new wardrobe. With the encouragement and mama mentoring of Miss Tracy Mills, a helpful and sensational Sam Given, Casey finds himself on stage as a drag queen. Cleo’s is run by Eddie, an enterprising Mike Boland, who quickly gets into the spirit of the club’s new personality.

Enter Georgia McBride and a legend is built. With bows to Bette, Liza, Pink and Lady Gaga, Casey emerges in full flouncy and flamboyant fashion. The drag queens strut triumphantly, with the addition of Rexy, an outspoken and sassy Timiki Salinas, who doubles as Casey and Jo’s understanding landlord Jason. So what’s the problem with this picture? Casey neglects 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 new 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. Todd L. Underwood directs this peek under the wig and inside the dress of a drag queen, with help from Angela Carstensen’s fascinating costumes, Martin Scott Marchitto’s behind and before the stage set design, and Alan Piotrowicz’s lighting and sound.

For tickets ($55, seniors $50, students $25), call Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 8 p.m.

For lessons in makeup, wig styling and drag queen dress, look no further than Casey, Rexy and Tracy’s dressing room for a behind the curtain peek at a unique area of show business lore where self acceptance reigns supreme and no one sits in judgment.

Comments are closed.