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The Legend of Georgia McBride

a Comedy
by Matthew Lopez

COMPANY : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Actor's Express [WEBSITE]
ID# 5050

SHOWING : March 18, 2017 - April 16, 2017



What do you do when your Elvis act gets the axe? With a pregnant wife, an empty bank account and an eviction notice coming his way, Casey has no choice but to trade his jumpsuit for sequins and strut his stuff as the Florida panhandle’s newest drag queen. This music-filled comedy about finding your true voice will leave you laughing and rooting for the underdog.

Casey Nick Arapoglou
Miss Tracy Mills Jeff McKerley
Jo Falashay Pearson
Eddie Al Stilo
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More an Anecdote Than a Legend
by playgoer
Thursday, March 23, 2017
"The Legend of Georgia McBride" tells the story of Casey (Nick Arapoglou), an Elvis impersonator in a failing Florida bar whose owner has decided to turn it into a drag bar. Unwillingly, Casey takes the birth state of his mother (Georgia) and the last name of the first girl he kissed (McBride) to come up with a drag name so that he can continue working. The fun comes from Casey being flung into an unfamiliar world and coming to find his footing as a drag artist. Since he hasn’t told his wife of his change in occupation, there’s a crisis in the making. Once his wife finds out, it’s a long, song-filled dénouement until his wife eventually comes around.

Mr. Arapoglou does a fine job in his role, with director Portia Krieger and choreographer Ricardo Aponte collaborating to make his initial attempts to lip sync an Edith Piaf performance a series of delightful comic moments. Once he gets more confident, the fun subsides a bit. The wigs and Deyah Brenner’s costumes show the same pattern, with some terrific initial looks soon replaced by more formless things that seem designed primarily to be easily slipped into and out of in the numerous costume changes the plot calls for in its montage sequences.

Leslie Taylor’s scenic design provides a small stage surrounded by a few cabaret tables on one half of the playing area and a backstage area of the bar on the other half. When the stage’s curtain is drawn aside, we get to see into the apartment shared by Casey and his wife Jo (Falashay Pearson). There’s also a neat double door stage left that hinges to show first the alley entrance to the bar and then a motel room’s door. One clever touch is the bar shelves around the stage that feature album covers that change when the bar transitions from Elvis to drag.

Joseph P. Monaghan III’s lighting design and Preston Goodson’s sound design do all they need to accompany the "book" scenes, and also the "stage" scenes that feature flashy lip sync routines. Courtney Greever-Fries props likewise fulfill all the needs of the script. The only thing missing is use of the bubble machine that Miss Tracy Mills (Jeff McKerley) orders during the course of the show.

Mr. McKerley inhabits his role completely, wringing every bit of comedy from the role. His initial wig and outfit are very flattering, but his next wig and several of his outfits are pretty much a mess. Costume changes seem to have been programmed in at every possible juncture, even when they don’t further the action in any way.

The supporting performances aren’t as noteworthy as those of Messrs. Arapoglou and McKerley. Al Stilo, as bar owner Eddie, and Ms. Pearson, as Casey’s wife Jo, both give fairly straightforward line readings, although Ms. Pearson gets many of the best laugh-out-loud lines. The final actor, Thandiwe DeShazor, plays both drag diva Rexy and landlord Jason, which I found a bit confusing. These performances are likely to strengthen as the run continues.

"The Legend of Georgia McBride" is one of the "hot" properties these days in regional theatre, and it’s entertaining enough in a predictable sort of way. Jeff McKerley and Nick Arapoglou are well-cast and perform their roles with relish. Portia Krieger has directed a production that is likely to continue the string of hits Actor’s Express has produced this season. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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