2’s Review: ” The Legend of Georgia McBride “

2’s Review: ” The Legend of Georgia McBride “

By Dave Elias

This show is living proof you should never judge a play by its title.  “The Legend of Georgia McBride” is more than I ever expected, a true heart-warming music-filled comedy about finding friends in the unlikeliest of places.

What do Elvis and drag queens have in common?  Besides rhinestones, glitz, and entertainment, they have this fun, fresh, optimistic show which subtly tackles the recent culture-war targeting drag queens and shows audiences that the only thing to fear is fear itself.

Casey is a down on his luck Elvis impersonator in a dive bar, who is trying to provide for his wife who is expecting, but it doesn’t take long for him to realize that modern day audiences aren’t flocking to see the 1950s King of Rock n Roll, but today’s audiences are willing

to flock and see the Queens of Glitz and Gall and this show is proof.

Casey’s luck changes when he meets an aging drag queen Miss Tracy Mills, played to perfection by actor Kraig Swartz.   She arrives in town with her younger counterpart Rexy to save her cousin’s sinking night club.  However, when Rexy is unable to take the stage, Casey is asked to turn in his sequined jumpsuit for a sequins dress and perform in drag, a thought he is first appalled at.  Actor Michael Liebhauser plays the macho Casey who quickly becomes known as dragster Georgia McBride, unbeknownst to his pregnant wife and best friend Jason.

Now the stage is set for chaos and Liebhauser is brilliant at changing between his male and female roles in this show, but he’s not alone.  His friend Jason also plays the part of Rexy, which may be unbeknownst to many audience members as actor Sam Given also does a tremendously great job of playing two hilarious characters with completely different personas and he is completely unrecognizable in drag.

Obviously, it doesn’t take long for Casey’s wife Jo, played charmingly by Actress Caturah Brown, to discover her husband has been making a living lip syncing to music in heels, makeup and skirts and in fact has become a legend in Panama City where the show takes place.

The fact that it takes place in Florida with an average working-class young man like Casey who has no desire or interest to dress in drag is even more ironic.  But Casey does want to be a star even if that means simply dressing in a costume he wasn’t expecting, but still allows

him the chance to create this bigger-than-life character that seems to be everything he thinks he isn’t.   There are a lot of messages in the play if you look for them.

Hopefully audiences are walking away with a better understanding that drag is merely entertainment, make believe, creating a character that can entertain audiences, an entertainment that actors like Milton Berele, Flip Wilson and Robin Williams weren’t afraid to take on so many generations ago.

I believe Georgia McBride is just what we need to remind us that drag is fun, entertaining and full of glitter and not the least bit sexual as some would like us to believe. Playwright Matthew Lopez clearly uses a wink and nod while he masterfully crafted this  laugh a minute comedy.

A play like this however, can only be pulled off by hiring superbly talented actors and this show is packed with them.  They’re undoubtedly quick-change artists unveiling a lot of razzle dazzle while at the same time impersonating some very familiar artists including, Dolly, Cher

and Judy Garland to name a few.

Accolades also go out to costumer designer Joseph Shrope who packs the show with some beautiful outfits and local “Drag Consultant” Alyssa Lemay who is noted in the playbill certainly gives her stamp of approval on this campy masterpiece that personifies drag life.

In all this is a play about finding yourself and proving that where there is drag there is joy so what is not to love.

Do yourself a favor and see it.  I promise it will remind your inner psyche that it’s still okay to laugh and have fun.

Bravo to Florida Repertory Theatre for choosing this show as it runs through November 12th at the Historic Arcade Theater in downtown Fort Myers.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 239-332-4488.


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2’s Review: ” The Legend of Georgia McBride “