The Legend of Georgia McBride
At Ivoryton Playhouse
By: Karen Isaacs - Apr 20, 2023
It was great to see an audience laughing and enjoying themselves at The Legend of Georgia McBride now at Ivoryton Playhouse through Sunday, April 30.
At a time when some state legislatures are banning drag performers and shows, and protesters are outside libraries and other venues, it was reassuring to see a Connecticut audience enjoying a show whose plot revolves around drag performers.
In this comedy with music, Casey is a young Elvis impersonator trying to get started performing at Cleo’s on the Florida panhandle. The problem is that he is not drawing an audience, probably because he isn’t very good. When he gets fired, he is replaced by a drag show led by Miss Tracy Mills, a cousin of Cleo’s owner.
Though he’s supposed to bartend, when the second drag queen, Rexy, passes out drunk, Casey is quickly strong-armed into finishing the show as Edith Piaf.
The thing is that Casey shows some talent; he acted and performed in musicals in high school. Soon, he and Miss Tracy are bringing in the crowds with their performances as Liza, Barbra, and other notable female divas.
But Casey has not told his pregnant wife, Jo. He’s making more money than he ever has, but when Jo finally learns the truth (it is six months later), she is horrified. Not so much at his job but that he had lied to her all those months saying he was only bartending.
This show works when you have a stellar performer as Miss Tracy Mills and a Casey, who can also transform into a successful and confident drag performer.
Ivoryton and director Todd L. Underwood have both.
The standout is Sam Givens, who has appeared at Ivoryton as the Emcee in Cabaret and other shows; he is also a drag performer, Millie Gams. It is worth the price of the tickets just to see him. He is great. He dances up a storm and nails all of Tracy’s dry wit and sarcasm.
Clint Hromsco as Casey is stronger in the drag show scenes than in the opening scenes with Jo. Partly that is because Casey, as a character, is an immature man-child. It is challenging to play that unless you make him goofy. But all the scenes in their apartment seem to slow the action down.
Another standout is Mike Boland as Eddie, the owner of Cleo’s. His transformation from barely shuffling on stage to introduce Casey’s act to all showmanship by the finale is delightful.
Rae Janell brings an adult sensibility to Jo, Casey’s wife. You know it must be love when she doesn’t just walk away from his immaturity.
Timiki Salinas is good as Rexy the performer with both an attitude and a drug/alcohol problem. Salinas is very tall, which with very high heels becomes one of the jokes; he has to bend to get through the door of the dressing room. He is unrecognizable when he plays Jason, Casey’s friend, and landlord.
Martin Scott Marchitto has created the scenic design with Cleo’s stage in the center, Casey and Jo’s apartment on one side, and the backstage dressing room on the other. Angela Carstensen did a great job with the costumes. A big part of the success of the performances are the wigs designed by Elizabeth Saylor.
Playwright Matthew Lopez manages to subtly include themes about finding a passion, accepting others as they are and becoming an adult.
As you are watching this, you may wonder why some politicians seem to be demonizing drag performances; after all, they have been around for centuries.
The Legend of Georgia McBride is great fun; it had me and the audience laughing, particularly when Tracy instructs Casey on what to say when he doesn’t know the words to the song he is lip-syncing.
To get tickets, visit IorytonPlayhouse.org
This content courtesy of Shore Publications and Ziip06.com