“Fake it ‘till you make it” and “Be true to yourself” are the basic themes of The Legend of Georgia McBride, which has been playing a successful (and extended) run at downtown’s Lucille Lortel theater. This weekend, the make-up kits and glittery gowns will be packed away as the MCC Theater company prepares for their next offering, Lost Girls.
Georgia McBride tells an unorthodox tale of Casey (Dave Thomas Brown), an Elvis Presley devotee who spends his time imitating the King at Eddie’s (Wayne Duvall) run down dive bar in Panama City, Florida. The watering hole, called Cleo’s, isn’t attracting any customers, leaving Casey very little take home pay for him and his newly pregnant wife, Jo (Afton Williamson). Enter Tracy Mills (Matt McGrath), a family relative to Eddie who delivers more sass than a Gospelfest in Newark. She is joined by her sidekick, Rexy (Keith Nobbs). After Eddie decides to eighty-six the Elvis bit and spruce up the live entertainment with a Mills hosted drag show, a desperate Casey is left with little alternative but to follow suit…er..um….gown?!?! Instantly, he is transformed into an awkward, but eventually dazzling, Edith Piaf lip-sync princess.
Matthew Lopez’s wispy show, helmed with a light but able hand by Mike Donahue doesn’t break any new ground. Like drag-themed shows that have come before (Kinky Boots, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, Victor/Victoria, and La Cage Aux Folles), it sends the same Oprah-fied message of “living your best life.” Georgia McBride delves a bit deeper, however, and offers a rare glimpse into the lives and struggles of drag artists. The result is the same feel-good, aspiring feeling that its predecessors inhabit–with a little more perception and heart. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s blessed with a cast of Manolo Blahnik quality.
Anita Yavich’s showy costumes and Ben Stanton’s lighting add the perfect contrast to scenic designer Donyale Werle’s appropriately dingy set. Paul McGill’s choreography is the cherry on top of this faaaaaaa-bulous sundae.
The Legend of Georgia McBride runs through this weekend at the Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher St. For tickets and information, visit: http://www.mcctheater.org/