Eddie: What’s her (drag queen) name?
Tracy: Oh, shit! How could I forget? Quick baby, where was your mamma born?
Casey: Um…Macon, Georgia.
Tracy: What was the name of the first girl you kissed?
Casey: Angie McBride.
Tracy: Georgia McBride! Her name is Georgia McBride!
Eddie (over the microphone): MISS GEORGIA McBRIDE!How Casey discovered his drag name, The Legend Of Georgia McBride
As a virgin to The Legend of Georgia McBride, I had no idea what to expect from playwright Matthew Lopez’s writing and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s contemporary twist to a show that was only birthed in 2014.
I knew the summary of the show: The protagonist Casey had performed as a Elvis impersonator in a club on Panama Beach, Florida, and when his act wasn’t succeeding, the club owner Eddie had to bring in some reinforcements to make the club thrive. What Eddie didn’t expect is that his cousin Bobby was now a drag queen named Tracy Miller. That is where the fun, joyful, entertaining, and absolutely fabulous journey begins for the audience members.
Casey shares how his drag show experience hasn’t changed his identity or sexuality but reveals his love of performing. He “love[s] the music, the make-believe…Georgia doesn’t bounce the rent check buying pizza. Georgia never lets anyone down. Georgia is wise and kind and dependable. And for a few hours a day [he] get[s] to be her and [he] get[s] to be those things, too. And [he] like[s] how that feels…if Georgia comes from [him], then all those things must be true about [him] too somehow. And maybe…one day [he can] be as good a person as she is!” Beautiful, right?!
Just as Lady Gaga concludes their production: Don’t hide yourself in regret, just love yourself, and you’re set. I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way!
I chose Sunday’s preview, because director Meredith McDonough, stage movement director (choreographer) David Roman, costume designer Patrick Holt, and set designer Collette Pollard held a special post-show discussion where they shared the team’s collaborative process. Director McDonough’s favorite part was when they asked the cast to create their characters: “What is your ‘kind’ of drag? Do you like Donna Summer, Beyonce, or someone else? We know that the character Casey is going to be a country queen, but what kind of country queen?” Drag’s element of surprise became the guiding principle of every component of the design process. The artistic team went on a journey to create a quality, constructed concept in a small amount of time. As an ATC cohort, the best privilege has been the opportunity to meet the fantastic, passionate, and professional artists employed by the Arizona Theatre Company. I was even able to meet the actors who play Jo and Tracy Miller! I am so grateful that this group of artists wanted to share their successful show with the communities of Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona! You’re always welcome, Milwaukee Repertory Theater!
Milwaukee Repertory Theater shares the same philosophy and offers the same theatre opportunities to the communities of Wisconsin, just as Arizona Theatre Company gives the most professional theatrical experiences to Arizona’s public.